Timeline of Google’s search engine updates.

February 4, 2016 Posted by fidelityit In Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Google – Google was founded in September 1998. Google put great emphasis on backlinks, while other search engines looked at how many times the keyword appeared on the page. Google currently has over 72% of the search engine market share.

Bing – Microsoft rolled out MSN search in 1998. It had aggregated search results and displayed them. Going through various re-branding phases, Bing was created in 2009. Bing has over 10% of the market share.

Yahoo – Yahoo was founded in 1994 by Stanford University students, Jerry Yang and David Filo. The Yahoo’s database were categorized and sub-categorized. Currently, Yahoo occupies just under 8% of the search engine market share.

Timeline of Google’s Search Engine Updates

Google is the most popular search engine in the world. About three-quarters of the world uses Google as their primary search engine to get their information. Google’s scope enables them to have a great impact on the rest of the search engine market – with many other search engines following their lead. While many people view Google as being extremely secretive, they do have some open book policies in place to let the world know what they are doing – this is known as Google updates.

Google updates are released whenever Google makes a change to their algorithm to improve the quality of search results for their users. Oftentimes, these changes are minor and have minimal impact. However, the major changes usually have considerable consequences on rankings factors. We have assembled some of the biggest updates that Google has released below.

PANDA UPDATE – February 2011
The Panda update was designed to readjust the ranking landscape. The algorithmic update was meant to elevate the status of high-quality websites and downgrade lower-quality ones. This had major consequences as valuable content-producing websites such as social media platforms and news websites were given a major boost in rankings. Panda eventually became an algorithmic framework where several updates were applied to on a regular basis at first, with updates become less frequent later on.

PENGUIN UPDATE – April 2012
Google Penguin was rolled out to penalize websites who were using black-hat tactics to trick Google’s system into giving them positive ranking points – these websites were deliberately trying to deceive search engines by acquiring low-value links from black-hat techniques, such as link networks. The end-goal of Panda was to crackdown on websites who used manipulative practices that prevented users from finding authentic information.

HUMMINGBIRD UPDATE – Sept 2013
The Google Hummingbird update prioritized speed and accuracy. This update was meant to take a more holistic look at the keywords and their context, instead of focusing on just matching the keyword to the search query. In a nutshell, Google Hummingbird focused on the conversation surrounding the keyword and not the actual keyword. This allowed Google to provide more relevant search results.

PIGEON UPDATE – July 2014
The Google Pigeon update was focused on giving preference to local rankings. Google tried to ensure that the location you were searching from was a major ranking factor. By using geo-location, searchers were able to get more relevant and accurate local search results. This ranking shift was also applied to Google Maps, which were now being prominently displayed in search results. If searchers were searching for specific products or services, Google Maps would show the businesses proximity to the user.

MOBILE-FRIENDLY UPDATE – April 2015
Being a mobile-ready website is an important ranking factor in Google’s algorithm. This was made very clear by Google’s Mobile-Friendly update, which was released in response to the shifting behaviour of users. The explosion of smartphones has realigned many industries, including how users search. More than half of today’s Web users use their smartphones to browse the Internet – a mobile friendly website will improve your ranking profile.

RANKBRAIN UPDATE – October 2015
The RankBrain update showcased where Google’s search engine technology trend is headed. The RankBrain is the code name that Google has given to their highly-innovative artificial intelligence (AI) machine that can learn user’s behaviours on the fly and apply this information to rankings. This self-learning system can acquire knowledge on it’s own without human intervention, such as learning to associate different keywords and key phrases with one another. The RankBrain is believed to be a part of the Hummingbird algorithm and helps sort through search engine results pages (SERPs) to provide more accurate and relevant results.