What Is the Google Algorithm? 

As the new generation uses Google very often, you may wonder what the Google algorithm is and how it works. The Google algorithm, also known as the Google ranking algorithm, provides a series of formulas to determine which web pages are suitable to appear in search results for each query that is typed in a search engine. It includes a system for regaining information from Google’s search index to search among billions of web pages and find the ones that are most useful or relevant to what a user is looking for. Google algorithms find web pages and rank them according to their relevance to users’ intention. Today, Google is by far one of the most significant and influential search engines in the world. 

Google was officially founded in 1998. However, the idea of Google started in 1995 by Larry Page and Sergey Brin. Now, Google is known by many as the best search engine among the top 20 search engines that are used around the globe by billions of users. Accordingly, Google statistics provide us with huge numbers of users as well as daily searches from around the world. 

history of Google algorithms

What Is the History of Google Algorithms?

Google algorithms were first written by Amit Singhal in 2000 and since then, these algorithms have gone through a lot of changes. Google algorithms provide a data collection that helps recover information and hand over the best results that are available for a search. To improve their function, search engines constantly update and change their algorithms according to the new needs of their users. Google, as one of the most influential search engines, makes many changes and updates to its algorithms each year. Google’s algorithm changes and updates have vastly influenced the search engine results and SEO ranking each year. Major historical Google algorithm updates are: 

  • Panda (2011)
  • Venice (2012)
  • Penguin (2012)
  • Pirate (2012)
  • Hummingbird (2013)
  • Pigeon (2013)
  • HTTPS/SSL (2014)
  • Mobilegeddon (2015)
  • RankBrain (2015)
  • Possum (2016)
  • Intrusive Interstitials Update (2017)
  • Medic (2018)
  • BERT (2019)
  • Page Experience Update (2021)
  • (MUM) Multitask United Model (Coming Soon)

Google Algorithm for SEO

Since the genesis of Google in 1998, Google algorithmic updates have hugely influenced SEO. Each update has its own effect on optimizing search results and improving them according to users’ needs. Moreover, in order to better understand SEO, you need to figure out how the algorithms are designed to work, what changes these updates made in the algorithms, and how those changes have influenced SEO. For SEO, you need to know how Google is ranking websites according to their relevance to users’ queries, location, the usability of the pages, and the expertise of the sources that are used by web pages. Knowing these factors will help your website rank higher by the algorithms. You should also know about the algorithms and their updates. Here are some algorithmic updates that have hugely affected SEO.

Google algorithm

Panda Update (2011)

Panda was one of the first Google algorithm updates. The purpose of this update was to help Google reduce content farms and web spam. Content farms are mostly websites with low-quality content but high rank in search engine results. With the Panda update, Google can detect low-quality websites that were mostly web spam and eliminate them from the top search ranking. This update helped Google to focus on websites with content that were created to be ranked as one of the tops in search rankings by reducing the ones that did not include content that was valuable for users.

Venice Update (2012)

For the Venice update, Google added search results that were related to its users’ locations. The company figured that users want their search results to be related to the products that are closer to them. They wanted to find products that are more accessible and easier to buy. Subsequently, the Google Venice update changed the local SEO and search. 

Penguin Update (2012)

Google Penguin update is also known as “web spam algorithm update.” It mainly targeted spam and manipulative links. This change to the Google ranking algorithm had a huge impact on SEO by preventing spam links. The result affected those websites with more relevant and credible content by ranking them higher.

Pirate Update (2012)

The Pirate update eliminates web pages that are accused of piracy according to Google’s DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) system. This update acted as a filter for those sites that infringed the copyright act. 

Hummingbird Update (2013)

Google Hummingbird update was a major change in Google’s search algorithm which enabled conversational search. Conversational search emphasizes the context and natural human language rather than focusing on specific keywords. The Hummingbird update also encourages web developers to apply language as it is used in daily conversations on their web pages. Finally, the Hummingbird update prepared search engines for the upcoming need of searching on mobile devices.

Google algorithm for seo

Pigeon Update (2013)

The Pigeon algorithm update had a huge impact on the local search results and it affected mainly local businesses. Pigeon update increased the ranking of local listings with the preference for local search results. It also affected the search results on Google Maps. 

HTTPS/SSL Update (2014)

The Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) was an update for encryption. This protocol enables an SSL certificate which is needed for HTTPS websites. The SSL certificate, or the TLS certificate, provides security for websites. 

Mobilegeddon Update (2015)

The Mobilegeddon update rendered priority to websites that look better on smartphones. Subsequently, the Mobilegeddon update made many websites more mobile-friendly and easier to use on smartphones while it did not affect search results on desktop computers or laptops. Such changes had a huge effect on SEO. After this update, Google started preventing websites that are not suitable to use on mobile phones from ranking on their SERPs.

RankBrain Update (2015)

With the RankBrain update, Google started using machine-learning intelligence for delivering its search results. Machine-learning intelligence is an artificial intelligence that operates with more accuracy and complexity compared to the human brain. This machine-learning intelligence system enabled Google to understand the meaning behind each search and query and deliver search results accordingly. The appliance of machine learning had a huge effect on SEO by optimizing search results according to their intended meanings. 

Possum Update (2016)

Possum is an update to Google’s local search ranking algorithm. This update changed the local search results and moved it toward preventing spam and diversifying the local results. 

Google search algorithm

Intrusive interstitials Update (2017)

Intrusive interstitials are the materials on the websites that prevent the intended content from appearing on the screen. They are mostly overlays that appear on the page and obstruct the main content of the website. Many of these overlays are intruding ads on websites. You may also know them as pop-up ads which cover the main content of the page or page layouts. This algorithm update targeted such intrusive interstitials. With this update, web pages with such intrusive ads no longer appear in search results.

Medic Update (2018)

The goal of the Medic algorithm update was to enhance the recognition of authority, expertise, and trustworthiness of web pages for the purpose of boosting users’ well-being and satisfaction. 

BERT Update (2019)

Google’s BERT search algorithm update better understands the natural human language that is used in queries. This algorithm update helps Google to better understand the users’ questions and queries to deliver appropriate answers to them. 

Page Experience Update (2021)

This update helped Google to rank web pages according to how users experience them. Many factors determine users’ experience of a web page such as the presence of intrusive ads (like pop-up ads) or being mobile-friendly and so on. The page experience algorithm measures such experiences and rank a website accordingly. Web pages can rank higher as they show better performance.

MUM (Multitask United Model) (Coming Soon)

The MUM update will determine what SEO professionals should expect in the upcoming future. Unlike other algorithm updates focus on a specific task, the MUM update performs multiple tasks at the same time.  

Google updates

What Is Google Search Algorithm?

The Google search algorithm is a complex system that ranks web pages according to their relevance to the search queries. Google search algorithms sort through various web pages to deliver search results that can best answer users’ questions and rank the websites accordingly. Also, Google considers many other factors, other than relevance, in ranking the websites. The freshness of the content, the lack of pop-up ads, the mobile-friendliness, the location, and so on are some of these important factors.

How to Use Google Algorithms for SEO

Now that we know Google is using algorithms and that we got familiar with the algorithms that Google uses to optimize its search results, we need to consider those modeled algorithms while we are creating content. Such consideration is necessary to rank our websites higher in search results. This will hugely affect the trustworthiness and credibility of the information provided by your website and your website will appear in more search results. 


  • What is Google’s algorithm?
  • How often does Google change its algorithm?
  • What are Google algorithm updates?
  • Why do Google algorithm updates matter?
  • What was the latest Google algorithm update?

Contact Us Today!

Call Now