Google Update Tracker

Google algorithms are constantly changing.

Some changes can have a significant impact on your website's ranking and visibility—especially if you're cutting corners. It's important to not look for loopholes in the ranking algorithms.

Even if you're not cutting corners, your SEO strategy should always be informed by your target audience.

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Google Ranking & Quality Updates

+ What to look for, how to respond on your website, and helpful resources to improve your website's SEO and UX.

UPDATE COMPLETE
UPDATE IN PROGRESS
Search ranking algorithm update

October 2022 Spam Update

Started
Oct 19, 2022
Completed
Oct 21, 2022
Announced
Oct 19, 2022
Google has made a noteworthy improvement to their automated systems that detect search spam.

This helps constantly-running spam-prevention systems such as SpamBrain better at identifying spam.

Types of websites affected

Sites that violate Google’s spam policies may drop in rankings or not rank at all.

What to look for

Significant ranking and visibility changes on Google Search

What to address

UPDATE COMPLETE
UPDATE IN PROGRESS
Search ranking algorithm update

September 2022 Product Reviews Update (#5)

Started
Sep 20, 2022
Completed
Sep 26, 2022
Announced
Sep 20, 2022
Google is cracking down on product reviews that aren't authentic or don't help users.

This is the fifth in a series of product review updates which started in April 2021. This is another refinement to the Google system that ranks product reviews, intended to make it easier for search engine users to find the most useful, high-quality, and original product reviews.

Types of websites affected

All English-language websites with any type of product review content, including customer reviews, ranked lists and product comparisons.

What to look for

Changes in rankings for pages that include product review content.

What to address

UPDATE COMPLETE
UPDATE IN PROGRESS
Broad core update

September 2022 Core Update

Started
Sep 12, 2022
Completed
Sep 26, 2022
Announced
Sep 12, 2022
Google makes core updates several times a year to increase the relevancy and usefulness of search results, and smaller core updates are not announced. Core updates are made to keep pace with the evolving web and include broad changes and refinements to Google’s algorithm and systems.

Types of websites affected

All websites could potentially experience notable effects, but no specific type of site is targeted.

What to look for

  • Gains or drops in rankings on Google Search
  • Danny Sullivan tweeted that core updates could potentially make last month’s Helpful Content Update more noticeable

What to address

UPDATE COMPLETE
UPDATE IN PROGRESS
Sitewide signal

Helpful Content Update

Started
Aug 25, 2022
Completed
Sep 9, 2022
Announced
Aug 18, 2022
This update includes a new, weighted, sitewide signal meant to reward content that’s useful to searchers and downgrade content that is unoriginal, unsatisfying, unhelpful, and written to rank well on search engines rather than help or inform people. Pages with “people-first content” could still rank well even if a website has been deemed unhelpful.

Types of websites affected

English-language websites with unhelpful content. The more unhelpful content a website has, the more likely you’ll notice an effect.

What to look for

Significant ranking and visibility changes on Google Search

What to address

UPDATE COMPLETE
UPDATE IN PROGRESS
Search ranking algorithm update

July 2022 Product Reviews Update (#4)

Started
Jul 27, 2022
Completed
Aug 2, 2022
Announced
Jul 27, 2022
Google really wants us to provide authentic and helpful product reviews

This is the fourth in a series of product review updates which started in April 2021. This specific product review update aims to promote and reward high-quality product review content that is more insightful than thin, templated, or unoriginal review content.

Types of websites affected

All English-language websites with any type of product review content, including customer reviews, ranked lists and product comparisons.

What to look for

  • Changes in rankings for pages that include product review content.

What to address

UPDATE COMPLETE
UPDATE IN PROGRESS
Broad core update

May 2022 Core Update

Started
May 25, 2022
Completed
Jun 9, 2022
Announced
May 25, 2022
Google makes core updates several times a year to increase the relevancy and usefulness of search results, and smaller core updates are not announced. Core updates are made to keep pace with the evolving web and include broad changes and refinements to Google’s algorithm and systems.

Types of websites affected

All websites could potentially experience notable effects, but no specific type of site is targeted.

What to look for

Gains or drops in rankings on Google Search

What to address

UPDATE COMPLETE
UPDATE IN PROGRESS
Search ranking algorithm update

March 2022 Product Reviews Update (#3)

Started
Mar 23, 2022
Completed
Announced
Apr 8, 2021
Improvements to Google's ability to identify high-quality reviews.

This is the third in a series of product review updates that began in April 2021: during the year prior to this update, Google updated how product reviews were ranked, prioritizing in-depth, unique and authentic content. This update builds on that work by improving Google’s ability to identify high-quality product reviews.

Types of websites affected

Ecommerce, affiliates, consumer reports, publishers, aggregators

What to look for

  • Changes in rankings, impressions, and traffic of pages that include product review content.

What to address

UPDATE COMPLETE
UPDATE IN PROGRESS
Desktop ranking update

Page Experience Update

Started
Feb 22, 2022
Completed
Announced
Nov 4, 2021
Commonly referred to as Core Web Vitals, the Page Experience update is now being released on desktop.

This update brings page experience ranking to desktop, building on the mobile page experience update which rolled out June-August 2021, and using the same signals (except mobile friendliness will not be a ranking factor for desktop). Page experience signals are used along with hundreds of others to determine ranking, and pages with the best content will continue to be prioritized.

Types of websites affected

All websites with URLs that desktop users see.

What to look for

What to address

UPDATE COMPLETE
UPDATE IN PROGRESS
Product Reviews

December 2021 Product Reviews Update (#2)

Started
Dec 1, 2021
Completed
Announced
Dec 1, 2022
Improvements to Google's ability to identify high-quality reviews.

This is the second in a series of product review updates that began in April 2021: during the year prior to this update, Google updated how product reviews were ranked, prioritizing in-depth, unique and authentic content. This update builds on that work by improving Google’s ability to identify high-quality product reviews.

Types of websites affected

All English-language websites with any type of product review content, including customer reviews, ranked lists and product comparisons.

What to look for

  • Changes in rankings for pages that include product review content.

What to address

UPDATE COMPLETE
UPDATE IN PROGRESS
Mobile ranking update

Page Experience Update

Started
Jun 15, 2021
Completed
Aug 31, 2021
Announced
May 28, 2020
Core Web Vitals metrics in mobile search results.

Types of websites affected

All websites with pages accessed by mobile users.

What to look for

What to address

UPDATE COMPLETE
UPDATE IN PROGRESS
Search ranking algorithm update

April 2021 Product Reviews Update (#1)

Started
Apr 8, 2021
Completed
Apr 2, 2021
Announced
Apr 8, 2021
Identify and surface high-quality reviews.

Types of websites affected

All English-language websites with any type of product review content, including customer reviews, ranked lists and product comparisons.

What to look for

  • Changes in rankings for pages that include product review content.

What to address

UPDATE COMPLETE
UPDATE IN PROGRESS
Algorithm update

BERT Update

Started
Oct 24, 2019
Completed
Announced
Oct 25, 2019
Improved understanding of user search queries using a deep learning algorithm: Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers.

Types of websites affected

All English-language websites.

What to look for

Changes in rankings, organic search traffic, and featured snippets (globally in all languages for featured snippets).

What to address

UPDATE COMPLETE
UPDATE IN PROGRESS
Algorithm update

Medic Update

Started
Aug 1, 2018
Completed
Announced
Aug 1, 2018
Increased importance of expertise, authority, and trust (E-A-T) for YMYL (Your Money Your Life) content: sensitive topics that could potentially have a large impact on users’ finances, health and well-being.

Types of websites affected

This update disproportionately affects websites in the health, fitness, lifestyle and medical verticals, as well as websites focused on financial services, technology, and legal matters.

What to look for

Changes in rankings and organic search traffic on pages with YMYL content.

What to address

UPDATE COMPLETE
UPDATE IN PROGRESS
Broad core update.

Mobile Update

Started
Apr 21, 2015
Completed
Announced
Feb 26, 2015
More weight is placed on a mobile user’s experience of the website. This update applies to all search results in all languages, globally, and applies to individual pages, not sitewide.

Types of websites affected

All websites with pages accessible to mobile users.

What to look for

Changes in mobile rankings and organic search traffic from mobile users.

What to address

UPDATE COMPLETE
UPDATE IN PROGRESS
Algorithm update

RankBrain Update

Started
Mar 20, 2015
Completed
Announced
Oct 26, 2015
Rollout of machine learning to better understand search queries, searcher intent and entities.

Types of websites affected

All websites.

What to look for

  • Changes in rankings and organic search traffic.

What to address

UPDATE COMPLETE
UPDATE IN PROGRESS
Algorithm update

Hummingbird Update

Started
Aug 26, 2013
Completed
Announced
Sep 26, 2013
Improved search results for long-tail keywords and enabled conversational search. Humming bird also improved the appearance of search results on mobile devices.

Types of websites affected

All websites.

What to look for

Changes in rankings and organic search traffic.

What to address

UPDATE COMPLETE
UPDATE IN PROGRESS
Algorithm Update

Penguin Update

Started
Aug 26, 2012
Completed
Announced
Apr 24, 2012
Improved understanding of link quality to downgrade spam and optimize search results for users. Google also rolled out a series of Penguin updates through September 2016.

Types of websites affected

Websites that buy backlinks, otherwise manipulate links, or fail to follow Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.

What to look for

  • Changes in rankings and organic search traffic on pages that receive low-quality backlinks.

What to address

UPDATE COMPLETE
UPDATE IN PROGRESS
Algorithm update

Panda Update

Started
Feb 23, 2011
Completed
Apr 11, 2011
Announced
Feb 24, 2011
Lowered the ranking of sites with thin, low-quality content to help searchers find more high-quality results.

Types of websites affected

Websites with minimal, unoriginal, or otherwise low-quality content.

What to look for

Lower rankings and organic search traffic on pages with thin, low-quality content.

What to address

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