Table of Contents


Google Algorithms

Google’s algorithms are complex computer programs that retrieve data from its search index and deliver it to users within Google Search results. Google uses algorithms and ranking factors to provide users with the most accurate and relevant search results.


Google Panda

The Panda update was released in 2011 to reduce the volume of low-quality, thin content on websites. It used machine learning to identify pages with poor content quality, duplicate content, or content stuffed with keywords.

Panda also targeted websites with too many ads, pop-ups, or affiliate links. Around 12% of all search queries were affected, and many websites were penalized or removed entirely from search results.


Google Penguin

Released in 2012, the Penguin update penalized websites that used manipulative link-building practices. Specifically, it targeted websites that used link schemes to artificially inflate their rankings, such as buying links or using link networks.

Penguin also penalized websites with too many low-quality links or links with irrelevant anchor text. The update impacted around 3% of all search queries, and many websites lost significant traffic.


Google Hummingbird

Hummingbird was a significant improvement to Google’s algorithms. Released in 2013, the name mimics the speed and accuracy of the hummingbird, which is how the algorithm responds to search queries.

Hummingbird was not a penalty-based algorithm, but it looked at how Google evaluates context and query intent. The update focused on understanding the intent behind a user’s query rather than just matching keywords.

Hummingbird introduced the concept of semantic search, providing users with more relevant results by understanding the meaning of their query. It also gave more weight to factors like user experience, social signals, and brand authority.


Google Pigeon

Google released the Pigeon algorithm update in 2014. Its goal was to give users more accurate local search results. The update integrated local search signals more closely with Google’s core algorithm, which led to more relevant results for local queries.

Pigeon also gave more prominence to local directory sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor, as well as location-specific keywords like “near me” or “in [city name].” It impacted around 4% of all search queries and significantly impacted local businesses.



Google released Mobilegeddon in April 2015 to improve the mobile search experience. The update penalized websites that were not mobile-friendly, meaning they were difficult to use or navigate on a mobile device.

Mobilegeddon significantly impacted website owners as mobile traffic increased. Traffic to non-mobile-friendly websites decreased significantly, while traffic to mobile-friendly sites increased.


Rank Brain

Google RankBrain is an artificial intelligence system that helps determine the ranking of search results in Google. It uses machine learning to interpret and understand queries, and then uses that understanding to decide the results that are most relevant to the search query.

RankBrain also looks at how users interact with the search results and uses that data to inform rankings. It was released in October 2015.


Google Medic

The Medic update was released in 2018 and aimed to improve the quality of search results for queries related to health and wellness. The update targeted websites that provided inaccurate or misleading information, as well as those that lacked expertise, authority, and trustworthiness.

The Medic update impacted many websites, including health and wellness, news, and eCommerce sites selling health-related products. The update also increased visibility to authoritative sources, such as government websites and academic institutions.