Person typing code on computer.

With constantly changing technology, shopping behavior changes, and evolving customer needs, it is no surprise that Google continues to update its search algorithms. Google algorithm updates are vital for marketers and business owners to stay up-to-date and be found online.

With 15+ confirmed algorithm updates in 2022 and 2023 alone, it can be difficult to keep track of all the changes.

Are you curious to know what major updates the most popular search engine has made this year?

Read on to find out the latest Google algorithm updates for 2024 and going back to 2015. We will keep this article updated for each major confirmed Google algorithm update.

Use the links below to jump to different Google algorithm updates by year:

Don’t let your brand’s presence on Google be compromised by unexpected Google algorithm updates. When you partner with the SEO experts at ROI Revolution, you’ll have a team dedicated to helping you adapt to change before it arrives. To explore the difference that comes with having a guide you can trust, book a meeting with our team today.

What Is the Frequency of Google’s Algorithm Updates?

Google is constantly evolving its search ranking algorithms to provide users with the best and most relevant results. According to Danny Sullivan from Google, the search engine makes an average of nine changes per day to their algorithm, the equivalent of over 3,200 changes in a year.

These changes can range from small search query updates to major algorithm shifts, like broad core algorithm updates, which roll out each year.

Google does provide some transparency with its major algorithm updates – there are many changes each month that may go unnoticed unless you see dips or spikes in your traffic.

We refer to these unexplainable traffic fluctuations that many search engine results page (SERP) volatility sensors and SEO experts report as an “unconfirmed update.” In this blog, we’ll only call out the confirmed algorithm changes.

Google runs more than 600,000 experiments each year to test new features and functionality. These range from natural language processing (NLP) search enhancements to Bidirectional Encoder Representations (BERT)’s AI/machine learning developments.

Marketers must stay up to date on these algorithm shifts to ensure their brand’s website is optimized for the latest search engine requirements and remains visible for potential customers. It is certainly helpful to know when there is volatility in search results.

2024 Google Algorithm Updates

Google’s first updates of 2024 are huge! After promising SEOs that big changes were coming to the algorithm during the first few months of the year, Google released the March 2024 Core Algorithm Update and the March 2024 Spam Update on March 5th.

Post-March 2024 Core Algorithm Update News 

The March 2024 Core Algorithm Update took 45 days to complete – much longer than Google’s announcement predicted. Multiple systems were updated, and Google incorporated the Helpful Content System into the core algorithm, eliminating the need to run separate updates for it. As each part of the core algorithm was updated, the other parts needed to learn from it. This complicated process seemed to be the reason for the extended time to completion. 

In the past, Google said that if a website was hit by a core algorithm update or a helpful content update, the site owners should make the necessary changes to see rankings improve with future updates, but in the case of the March 2024 update, many site owners complained their improvements seemed to go unnoticed. Others complained that websites like Reddit and Quora were ranking higher than websites with established E-E-A-T.  

In early May, Google’s John Mueller said on X that recoveries for websites that took a hit from last fall’s Helpful Content Update may take longer to recover because it could take Google longer to reassess them.  

After the core update finished, Google released a revised form for anyone who wanted to give feedback on the changes they noticed in the search engine results pages. In mid-May, Google Search Liaison Danny Sullivan told X users that Google read the feedback and is considering future search quality updates based on it. 

While it wasn’t a core update, we should also mention that after a year of testing the Search Generative Experience (SGE) in Google Labs, Google widely released AI Overviews – a pared-down version of the SGE – in mid-May. While the AI-written answers may not show for all queries, the new feature seemed to trigger higher volatility in the rankings through the end of the month. They also triggered anger in users, leading to Google scaling back how often the answers are shown and thanking everyone for their feedback. 

The ROI Revolution SEO team is happy to say that our clients fared well through the early 2024 updates. Our goals are to set our clients up for success in Google Search and to help them stay ahead of Google’s changes. Keep up with the latest core algorithm updates here and watch the ROI Revolution blog for monthly SEO news recaps. 

March 2024 Core Algorithm Update

The March 2024 core update involves changes to multiple core systems, according to Google’s announcement.

Its goal is to improve the quality of search results by incorporating a variety of signals and approaches to identify helpful content and reduce the amount of search-engine-first content shown in the SERPs.

Because many core systems are involved in this update, Google expects it to take about a month to completely roll out. Websites may experience more ranking volatility than usual as those systems become “fully updated and reinforce each other.”

March 2024 Spam Update

In the same announcement, Google also released new spam policies and announced the March 2024 Spam Update.

The three new policies are in response to recent complaints that Google’s SERPs were surfacing more spammy results than they had in years.

There are three types of spam they aim to control:

  1. Expired domain abuse: People buy expired domains for websites that had good reputations and then build low-quality websites using the same URL. Their hope is to rank well based on the old site’s reputation. These sites are solely made for the purpose of ranking well in Google results.
  2. Scaled content abuse: Some website owners generate a large number of pages for the purpose of manipulating search rankings, not helping users. While this often includes AI-generated content, Google says human-generated content will also be targeted. Content created solely for the manipulation of search results will always be considered spam.
  3. Site reputation abuse: People add new low-quality third-party pages to websites with good reputations with the goal of ranking well on Google. To avoid violating this policy, sites should block that content from Google Search. Google is giving website owners time to prepare for this by providing a deadline of May 5, 2024.

As always, the ROI Revolution SEO team is staying up to speed on the latest Google algorithm updates so you don’t have to. To explore how your business could benefit from our expertise by partnering with our team, send us a message today.

2023 Google Algorithm Updates

List of Google algorithm updates that have occurred so far in 2023.
List of Google algorithm updates that have occurred so far in 2023.

2023 is shaping up to be a tumultuous year for Google algorithm updates as the search engine continues to roll out multiple changes that affect sites that are unprepared to weather the storm.

This can be monitored using MozCast, a temperature-based measurement that reflects day-to-day changes in search rankings. On an uneventful day, the average temperature is 70°F. One example of algorithm-based search fluctuation in 2023 is that on March 15th, Google acknowledged a Core Update that spanned across 13 days. During this period, MozCast temperatures reached a peak of 108.7°F, with six days recording a temperature above 100°F.

November 2023 Review Update

The November 2023 Review Update started rolling out on November 8, 2023 and was completed on December 7, 2023. From now on, the reviews system will be updated on an ongoing basis.

This algorithm update is designed to reward high-quality reviews with insightful analysis and original research, authored by experts or enthusiasts.

It evaluates content on a page-level basis, focusing on articles, blog posts, or similar standalone content providing recommendations, opinions, or analysis.

Site owners are encouraged to refer to the Google help page to create high-quality reviews.

Your content’s objective should be to:

  • Showcase expertise
  • Present evidence
  • Thoroughly explore the advantages and disadvantages of the subject matter

The aim is to empower users by offering comprehensive information that aids them in making well-informed decisions based on a thorough understanding of the topic.

Improvements to content can lead to recovery over time, although it’s just one of many factors influencing content ranking.

November 2023 Broad Core Update

On November 2, 2023, Google released yet another core update.

This significant core algorithm change seeks to improve providing valuable and dependable search results for users. This could potentially affect your site’s overall traffic. It’s always recommended to wait until the update is complete before assessing any impacts.

Historically, these types of updates complete their full rollout over the span of two weeks. You can find some additional guidance from Google here to help assess the impact of these types of core updates.

October 2023 Broad Core update

The October 2023 Core Update was released on October 5, 2023. This broad core update rollout completed on October 19, 2023.

As with other core algorithm updates, they are designed to improve the systems that assess content overall.

October 2023 Spam Update

On October 4, 2023, Google released its October 2023 spam update that is targeted to improve its spam detection system and improve its coverage in many languages including Turkish, Vietnamese, Indonesian, Hindi, Chinese, and others.

The rollout of this spam algorithm update is expected to take approximately 2-3 weeks to complete.

September 2023 Helpful Content Update

On September 14, 2023, Google released the September helpful content update. This algorithm update focused on improving their classifier to identify helpful content. The last helpful content update was in December of 2022.

The rollout of this helpful content update completed on September 28, 2023.

Google has provided some questions that you can use to self-assess your site if it was impacted by this algorithm update. You can find this information here.

August 2023 Broad Core Update

On August 22, 2023, Google released a broad core update. The changes are about improving how Google assesses content overall. The changes may cause some pages that were previously under-rewarded to do better in search results, or it could have the opposite effect.

The August Broad Core update rollout completed on September 7, 2023. Google does provide some general guidance if your site was impacted from a core update that you can find here.

Looking for even more guidance to ensure your brand navigates the constantly shifting SEO landscape without any lapses in success? The SEO experts at ROI Revolution work alongside large brands every day to ensure their organic search presence is top tier. To explore the untapped opportunities your brand can achieve when you partner with us on SEO, send a message to our team today.

April 2023 Review Update

The April 2023 Review Update was launched on April 12, 2023 and is a significant algorithmic update regarding reviews about products, services, destinations, games, movies, and other similar topics.

This update is not only important for SEO professionals but also businesses that rely heavily on customer reviews. During its rollout, SEMRush Sensor detected high volatility on April 20th, 23rd, and 25th.

The update was designed to improve user experience and search rankings by allowing users to easily find relevant information from product and service reviews.

As part of this algorithm change, Google points to its guidance on how to create high-quality reviews.

The goal of your content should be to demonstrate expertise, provide evidence, and discuss the benefits and drawbacks of the subject. It should help users make informed decisions.

Follow best practices such as evaluating from a user’s perspective, comparing similar options, and linking to useful resources for a comprehensive and helpful review.

March 2023 Broad Core Update

The March 2023 Broad Core Update was released on March 15, 2023 and is an essential algorithm update that affects all content types within all regions and languages. According to Google, the changes are intended to improve how their systems assess content overall.

This means that pages that were previously under-rewarded may now receive better rankings in search results. The update does not target any specific pages or sites.

Site owners should focus on creating high-quality and high-value webpages with helpful content, good user experiences, and strong E-E-A-T signals (experience, expertise, authority, and trustworthiness).

Tweet from Google Search Console announcing a March 2023 algorithm update.
Tweet from Google Search Central (3/15/2023)

February 2023 Product Reviews Update

The Google Product Reviews Update launched on February 21, 2023 and concluded on March 18, 2023.

This update applies to these global languages:

  • English
  • Spanish
  • German
  • French
  • Italian
  • Vietnamese
  • Indonesian
  • Russian
  • Dutch
  • Portuguese
  • Polish

The update affected product reviews and encouraged businesses to create high-quality content with helpful information for users.

Ecommerce websites should be optimized with proper product structured data and schema markup.

Person with hand on laptop with screen coming out of it that has charts and graphs.

2022 Google Algorithm Updates

2022 was extremely volatile, with frequent Google algorithm updates. The most significant were the Helpful Content Update in August 2022 as well as broad core algorithm updates in May and September.

These updates serve to improve user experience when searching online and ensure that only quality content is rewarded with higher rankings in Google search.

December 2022 Link Spam Update

The December 2022 Link Spam Update was designed to address the issue of link spam and its effect on search results. This update leveraged the power of SpamBrain to neutralize unnatural links that were gaining credit in search results.

The update took close to a month to complete. It began on December 14, 2022, and was officially announced by Google on January 12, 2023.

The Link Spam Update is just one of many algorithmic updates released by Google in 2022. This update serves as an important reminder for all website owners that creating helpful content and building relationships opposed to unnatural link profiles should be the top priority.

December 2022 Helpful Content Update

The December 2022 Helpful Content Update was released by Google on December 5, 2022, and rolled out over the course of two weeks. This update was designed to reward helpful content in search results and penalize websites with low-quality or spammy content.

The update works across all languages, making it an international effort to improve the user experience in SERPs.

It is important to keep up with Google’s algorithm updates and ensure that any content your business creates is both helpful and relevant to the topic at hand.

October 2022 Spam Update

On October 19, 2022, Google rolled out a major spam update that was designed to reduce the presence of spam in SERPs. This spam algorithm update targeted all languages and had a global reach.

While the exact focus of the update was unknown, it was believed to be aimed at reducing link and content spam as well as other forms of malicious activity. Sites with questionable backlinks may have been affected.

The October 2022 Spam Update took under 48 hours to fully roll out across all languages, making it one of the fastest updates Google has ever implemented.

September 2022 Product Review Algorithm Update

The September 2022 Product Review Algorithm Update was designed to improve the accuracy and relevance of product reviews in SERPs. It was rolled out on September 20, 2022.

It worked by evaluating the trustworthiness of product reviews, using a combination of factors such as user ratings, review content, and expert opinions.

The Product Review update affects only English-language searches currently, but plans are underway to expand it to other languages soon.

September 2022 Core Update

On September 12, 2022, Google rolled out a significant Broad Core Algorithm Update. This update was the second core update of the year and impacted all languages globally. It had a smaller overall impact than the May 2022 Core Update, but its effects were still felt by many site owners.

As part of this update, Google focused on improving user experiences and emphasized helpful content as a ranking signal.

August 2022 Helpful Content System Update

On August 25, 2022, Google released a helpful content system update, which aimed to improve the quality and relevance of helpful content in search results. This update was rolled out globally and aimed to improve user experiences by emphasizing helpful content as a ranking signal.

To achieve this goal, Google used new sitewide signals to measure if content is helpful. If a site has low-quality content, it can affect the rest of the site’s rankings.

This move is part of Google’s ongoing effort to provide the best possible search results for their users and encourages webmasters to create high-quality content that provides value to visitors.

With this update, businesses can maximize organic traffic while providing customers with relevant and useful information.

July 2022 Product Reviews Update

On July 27, 2022, Google announced the release of its July 2022 Product Reviews Update, which was completed on August 2. This was the fourth Google Product Reviews Update version to help improve the overall user experience by emphasizing helpful content as a ranking signal.

This update only took six days to complete. This is much faster than most updates, which historically span 14-21 days.

May 2022 Core Update

On May 25, 2022, Google released the May 2022 Core Update, which was completed on June 9. This update is part of an ongoing effort by Google to improve the overall user experience and provide more relevant search results.

Most core updates focus on a wide range of ranking signals and typically occur a few times each year.

March 2022 Product Reviews Update

On March 23, 2022, Google made an update to their product algorithm that was designed to provide users with better and more relevant search results when searching for products. The update completed its rollout on April 11, 2022.

This algorithmic update is part of Google’s ongoing effort to improve user experience and aims to reward high-level product review content above thinner product review content.

The update includes various improvements based on user feedback on how people prefer detailed reviews with products actually being tested.

February 2022 Google Page Experience (Desktop)

On February 22, 2022, Google rolled out the page experience ranking update to desktop. This is built on top of the mobile experience update that was between June and August of 2021.

This update focuses on using page experience as part of its desktop ranking systems, meaning that the Core Web Vital metrics are central to help determine overall page experience.

Are You Keeping Up With Google Algorithm Updates?

Google algorithm updates aren’t always predictable, but you can always expect that they will happen. With so many changes happening all the time, many marketers struggle to maintain their SEO presence while juggling all of the other responsibilities that come with today’s ever-evolving landscape.

The SEO experts at ROI Revolution can take your stress away by staying on top of the frequent changes that alter how your brand shows up in search results. To explore how we can help your brand discover untapped opportunities to grow profitably through organic search (without increasing your ad spend), send a message to our team today.

SEO news recap - Magnifying glass sitting on top of computer keyboard.

Earlier Google Algorithm Updates

Google is constantly updating its search algorithm to improve the user experience and provide better search results. Here is a brief timeline of some of the significant Google algorithm updates that were released from 2015-2021.

2021 Google Algorithm Updates

  • December 2021 Product Review Update: This update rolled out on December 1, 2021 and completed on December 21, 2021. Much like the April 2021 update, this update focused on rewarding high-quality product reviews.
  • November 2021 Local Search Update: This local search update was released on November 30, 2021, and completed on December 8, 2021. The focus was on adjusting different factors that affect local search rankings.
  • November 2021 Broad Core Update: This update started on November 17, 2021 and completed on November 30, 2021. Site owners can find more on previous core update guidance here.
  • November 2021 Google Spam Update: A spam update aimed at improving overall search results, this started on November 30, 2021, and finished on November 11, 2021.
  • July 2021 Google Link Spam Update: This spam update began rolling out on July 26, 2021 and completed on August 24, 2021.
  • July 2021 Broad Core Update: This core update started on July 1, 2021 and completed on July 12, 2021.
  • June 2021 Spam Update Part 1 & 2: This spam update rolled out in two parts that were both completed on the same day. The first part started and ended on June 23, 2021. The second one started and ended on June 28, 2021.
  • June 2021 Page Experience Update: This long-awaited update began rolling out on June 15, 2021 and completed on September 2, 2021.
  • June 2021 Google Predator Algorithm Update: This update was targeted at improving search to better protect people from harassment. Google announced this update on June 10, 2021. You can read more about it here.
  • June 2021 Broad Core Update: This broad core update rolled out on June 2, 2021 and completed on June 12, 2021.
  • May 2021 MUM (Multitask Unified Model) Update: This update was previewed at the Google I/O in May 2021. This is similar to BERT but focuses on handling multiple tasks simultaneously. This AI technology is a step in the right direction to improve the search experience.
  • April 2021 Product Reviews Update: This update started on April 8, 2021 and ended on April 22, 2021. You can find more information about this update here.
  • February 2021 Passage Indexing Update: Google released this update on February 11, 2021 to improve rankings for certain relevant content passages from a web page.

2020 Google Algorithm Updates

  • December 2020 Broad Core Update: This core update rolled out on December 3, 2020 and completed on December 16, 2020.
  • May 2020 Broad Core Update: This update began rolling out on May 4, 2020 and completed on May 18, 2020.
  • January 2020 Featured Snippet Update: This update focused on webpages with a featured snippet position. The update will no longer repeat the webpage in Page 1 organic listings if in this position. This update rolled out on June 22, 2020.
  • January 2020 Broad Core Update: This core update began on January 13, 2020 and completed January 16, 2020.
Tweet from Google Search Liaison about releasing a broad core algorithm update in May 2020.
Tweet from Google Search Liaison (5/4/2020)

2019 Google Algorithm Updates

  • December 2019 BERT Natural Language Processing (NLP) Update: This worldwide update covers over 70 different languages globally. This international update launched on December 9, 2019.
  • October 2019 BERT Update: This update was the biggest change to Google’s search systems since RankBrain was introduced five years ago. This natural language processing is designed to help computers understand speech and is an important piece of the puzzle for Google’s AI models.
  • September 2019 Broad Core Update: This broad core update rolled out on September 24, 2019.
  • August 2019 Featured Snippets Update: This update was announced on August 1, 2019, and revamped what types of queries require fresh content. It focused on any information that is regularly updated or changes with passing time, and current events. The goal is to ensure that fresh content is delivered and the snippets are not out of date.
  • June 2019 Core Update: This core update began rolling out on June 3, 2019.
  • March 2019 Core Update: This core update started rolling out on March 12, 2019. Google didn’t originally name this update, but later released the name to help avoid confusion.

2018 Google Algorithm Updates

  • September 2018 “Smaller” Update: This update was confirmed by Danny Sullivan from the Google Search Liaison team. It rolled out on September 27, 2018.
  • August 2018 Broad Core Update (Medic Update): This update aimed to improve the overall quality of search results. It rolled out on April 20, 2018. Google implemented significant updates to their algorithm that resulted in increased visibility for web pages that were previously overlooked.
  • April 2018 Broad Core Update: This core update was released on April 20, 2018, and was not originally announced by Google until there was much speculation about a core update.
  • March 2018 Broad Core Update: This broad core update rolled out on March 12, 2018.
  • January 2018 Core Update: This core update began rolling out on January 18, 2018.

2017 Google Algorithm Updates

  • December 2017 Updates: There were several minor updates that began rolling out sometime between December 14-19, 2017, as part of Google’s efforts to improve relevancy in search.
  • August 2017 Local Update: This update aimed to make some corrections due to the Possum update. This rolled out on August 22, 2017.
  • March 2017 Fred Update: This update began rolling out on March 7, 2017. Gary Illyes jokingly referred to this update as “Fred” and the name stuck.
  • January 2017 Intrusive Interstitials Update: Google rolled out this update on January 10, 2017. This update aimed to target intrusive interstitials and pop-ups that can make it difficult for the mobile user experience.

2016 Google Algorithm Updates

  • September 2016 Penguin Update 4.0: Google implemented an update to its Penguin algorithm, which is now integrated into the core search algorithm. As a result, data is now refreshed in real-time.
  • September 2016 Possum Update: This update began on September 1, 2016, and affected local SERP listings and how Google’s filters work.
  • April 2016 Mobile-Friendly Update 2: This update was the second part of a previous update that impacted mobile search. It began rolling out on April 21, 2016.
  • January 2016 Broad Core Updates: There were two Core updates that occurred on January 10, 2016, and January 17, 2016, that focus on overall core ranking algorithm updates.

2015 Google Algorithm Updates

  • October 2015 RankBrain: Google’s RankBrain algorithm is run by a machine learning system that helps to rank webpages that it believes to be the best based on a number of ranking factors. This AI system rolled out around October 25, 2015.
  • July 2015 Panda Update 4.2: This update was released on July 18, 2015 and was aimed at updating the Panda algorithm.
  • May 2015 Quality Update: This update rolled out sometime in May 2015 but was not announced by Google. Search Engine Land later confirmed there was an update that occurred around this time when they questioned Google.
  • April 2015 Mobile-Friendly Update Part 1: This mobile update rolled out on April 21, 2015, as part of improving the ranking of mobile-friendly pages in the mobile version of search results.

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