Top 12 Google Algorithm Updates You Need to Know in 2019

Google Algorithm Updates

The world of search marketing is getting competitive day by day. Google, being the #1 search engine in the market comes with frequent Google algorithm updates to offer best-suited results to the search inputs of its users.

These algorithms empower Google to measure the level of the relevancy and quality of the sites to appear in search results.

With the help of its algorithms, Google impedes and penalizes low quality or spammy sites to appear in SERPs. Google updates its algorithms based on the requirement and the need of the current phase.

Now the question arises, what exactly are the Google Algorithms?

Know More About the Algorithms of Google

Algorithms are the set of instruction which is quite common in computer programming.

Google algorithm is also the same thing which is a set of instructions that Google uses for performing a certain task.

Google has many algorithms which are quite complex and serve the purpose of searching for different items. Some of the algorithm applications are the appearance of the keyword, the amount of naturally occurring organic links to pages or the responsive website performance on the mobile site.

Well, that can be variable and are based on various factors too.

With the help of Google algorithms, users looking for an answer to their query get their answers in the search results.

Each day, Google uploads a huge load of information in its database.

Without Google algorithms, it would have been impossible for the searchers to get relevant answers to their questions in an ocean of information. There is not a single but a series of Google algorithms put in place.

The aim of each one of these algorithms is to decipher what the intent of the user is and to furnish the most relevant answer that satisfies the question asked by the user on Google.

How do Google Algorithms Work?

The algorithm reads a web page and matches with pre-defined numeric values.

Then summation of these numeric values occurs whose matching with the end result of algorithm channelizes the working of Google. Based on the desirable traits of the web page, it gets the ranking in the Google search engine. Quick calculations may sometimes end up with fluctuated results too.

The fluctuation occurs due to various changes of the attributes that a web developer performs on the page. The page ranking through an algorithm is also an integral part of SEO. Hence the necessity of the good optimization of the web page is very essential.

SEO helps Google to tell what the page is about and thus helps a lot in the page ranking too. Hence earlier the web pages were incorporating keyword stuffing in their content. But now the time has changed and so has the Google algorithm. Keyword stuffing is no longer the strategy that search engines prefer.

Accordingly, algorithm updates come as per the various needs.

Google does not make frequent changes to the algorithms. Any minor changes may occur internally. But for some of the major changes, the algorithm instructions can be changed too.

So being updated about any change in the Google algorithm is very essential. This can bring in a huge impact on the web pages and the digital business too.

The strength of the Google algorithm is huge and it can bring in a huge change to the web page. Hence if you notice any kind of change in the web traffic or the page ranking, then check out the logic again.

Latest Google Algorithm Updates Which are Affecting the Web Rankings

So here are the latest Google algorithm updates that you should pay heed to in the year 2019. Check them out and get the new way of performing in the digital world:

Top 12 Google Algorithm Updates

1. Google Panda Update

2. The Top Heavy Update of Google

3. Google Penguin Update

4. Google Pirate Update

5. Google’s EMD Update

6. Google Payday Loan Update

7. Google Hummingbird Update

8. Google Pigeon Update

9. Google Mobile-Friendly Update

10. Google RankBrain Update

11. Google Possum Update

12. Google Fred Update


1. Google Panda Update

Panda Google Algorithm Update

This Google algorithm update was first launched on February 24, 2011. This is the Google algorithm which will analyze the quality of the content and evaluate the website. According to this, the pages which are having higher quality content would be given higher page ranking and vice versa. Hence it is a striking feature which determines how much you are good in the on-page optimization.

Check out some of the factors which can affect this algorithm of your website:

  • Too little information or a lot of information both can be harmful to the web page ranking based on this algorithm.
  • Poor format, grammar error, spelling mistakes can make your content of low quality and hence affects this algorithm.
  • The content which contains unreliable information is low-quality content.
  • Any article spinning or copy of the content can make the quality low. Hence better stay with the original version to get good rankings.

If your web pages are having such issues, you should correct it now and get a good ranking immediately.

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2. The Top Heavy Update of Google

Top Heavy Google Algorithm Update

The Top Heavy update was first introduced in January 2012. The top-heavy update of Google addresses the issue of websites being ‘top heavy’ with advertisements as a consequence of their position in the Google search listing. The top-heavy update constantly works.

During the time of this update, websites which are ‘top heavy’ lose their high rankings. Further, the websites that have identified and worked on their issue of being ‘top heavy’ can expect to recover from their low rankings.

Changes made on the top-heavy update are:

  • The page layout algorithm has been updated to prevent sites that have many Ads and are ‘top heavy’.
  • To be safe from the top-heavy update prefer sticking to the same old Ad to Organic ratio.

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3. Google Penguin Update

Penguin Google Algorithm Update

It was one of another very important Google algorithm updates, It was first launched on April 24, 2012. It evaluates the website on varied factors. They can affect the site’s ranking based on the backlinks of the site. Contextual page linking, content based on the linked page, links from trustworthy sources and from different domains can adversely affect the page ranking.

Here are some triggering factors of the Google Penguin Update –

  • Buying links is a violation of Google’s rules and regulation.
  • Anchor text diversity lacking can be another great factor to affect Google penguin.
  • The links which are of low quality will put the penguin off and will not work properly on the web page.
  • Keyword stuffing is another method which can adversely affect the algorithms and bring a negative impact on the web page.

If backlinking is causing all these issues with your website or web pages, then it must be corrected immediately. Don’t wait for another second and dig out the damaged part out of the basket. Manual correction can play a key role if possible. Otherwise, opt for the tools which will find out the location of the issues with the links in the website.

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4. Google Pirate Update

Google Pirate Update

This update was first introduced in August 2012. Google Pirate update ensures that sites that have received several reports on copyright infringement are blocked or adversely affected. These reports are usually documented in the DMCA system of Google.

This updates to the pirate algorithms comes in play at regular intervals. The sites that have addressed their issue of copyright infringement will safeguard themselves from the penalty if they have corrected this issue before the pirate update comes in play.

However, if the sites have just recently committed the mistake or recently the copyright issue occurred, then they will face the penalty. In certain cases, it is also possible to have ‘false positives’ in the number of caught websites.

The latest changes made on Google’s Pirate SEO are:

  • You need to provide a valid documental proof for taking out a page from the index.
  • Websites that have a high number of reports on copyright violations will face the penalty.
  • It is a win for both the media and the original artist community.

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5. Google’s EMD Update

Google's EMD Update

Matt Cutts announced this Google algorithm update on September 28, 2012. EMD stands for Exact Match Domain Update. This update acts as a filter on Google search engine for websites and prevents websites of low quality to secure good rankings.

These sites that are usually of low quality manage to rank higher on search result pages only on the basis of the matching of search keywords and the words in their domain. When EMD updates come in play, websites with poor content that were earlier not facing any issue will be facing the penalty.

Again if the websites that had poor content before but have been revamped now and contains good content will receive admirable rankings. This update also releases ‘False positives’.

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6. Google Payday Loan Update

Google Payday Loan Algorithm Update

Google Payday loan update first occurred on June 11, 2013. This algorithm combines the panda and the penguin concept and works a little bit on both. But it also has separate usefulness which deals with the pornographic sites, casino sites, and the high-interest loan sites.

For the ranking of such sites, this algorithm comes in play. It makes use of the keywords that searchers commonly use. These sites need to go through optimization too and should not have any spam technique in it.

Some of the Google Payday updates:

  • Google Payday Loan 1.0
  • Google Payday Loan 2.0
  • Google Payday Loan 3.0

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7. Google Hummingbird Update

Google Hummingbird Update

Google launched its Hummingbird update on August 22, 2013. It works on itself and develops the search result. Thus the hummingbird algorithm does not affect the website or the web page directly. It makes use of the user’s intent and then interprets it.

Algorithm uses same intent to give the end result. As per the query and intention, search result occurs. Thus it deals with the semantic data search results.

Unlike the panda and penguin updates of Google, the hummingbird update didn’t have that much of a drastic effect on the website rankings.

It was a step forward on behalf of Google to have a more sophisticated form of search results that were really close to the intent of the user query.

How to Trigger the Search Result?

Now, what do you need to do to meet the level of the search query?

So the web owner needs to focus on the target audience or the market. He should try to sketch out what the users exactly want. The users will not adjust as per your service; you need to adjust as per the audience’s needs and desires.

Most importantly your content should be explaining the query directly without creating any confusion. Any confusion created can make your website rank lower than the competitor companies in the same locality.

Take the help of various tools which are available to find out the best ways for semantic searches.

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8. Google Pigeon Update

Google Pigeon Update

Google Pigeon update was one of the major Google algorithm updates that affected local search results. It was first launched on July 24, 2014. The two different algorithms manage traditional web search and local search. Google pigeon finds your location and puts you on a higher ranking based on the search result. Thus, closer to the searcher, higher in the rank you are.

Now some other factors also affect the ranking positions. These would make you rank higher compared to your competitive company in the same location.

  • The content should be of high quality with no copying or grammar error or spelling mistakes. Even the content should be entirely based on the niche of your business or service.
  • Use keywords in the proper way and avoid stuffing them in the content. Also, make the keyword used in such a way that it includes the location of your service.
  • Making the website responsive will also bring a higher rank for your website.
  • Reputable resources are advisable for link building for avoiding link issues.
  • Make use of the location-based text, images or videos which will be easier to find you at the same location.
  • Don’t forget to include the name, address, and phone numbers which are very essential information about any company or services.
  • Try to gain positive reviews and higher ratings too.

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9. Google Mobile-Friendly Update

Google Mobile-Friendly Update

Google launched its mobile-friendly update on April 21, 2015. It is a new algorithm when it comes to mobile search ranking factors. It determines the quality of the website when viewed on a smaller screen.

This algorithm is being brought due to the fact that most of the searches are mobile based. Most of the users are using this device as the there only way to deal with various searches.

After its successful launch, it constantly updates itself for the best results.

How to Develop the Ranking?

Follow the below mentioned mobile-friendly updates to get a higher ranking on the mobile search results:

  • The website should be a responsive one which supports the mobile screen and automatically adjusts the mobile screen for a better view.
  • Larger fonts on the mobile will help users to save time and catch better attention of the users.
  • Avoid using any non-playable content on the website. Make use of the common formats which will help run every videos or content on all the mobiles that the users may be using.
  • Intrusive elements like the pop-ups covering the screen or any unwanted ads can make the site rank lower. So avoid using such items on the website and make it more attractive when viewed on mobile.
  • Having a different and separate website for the PC and the mobile will literally take up your time and effort. So to save them both, it is very important to make one single website. This is also a very efficient way to gain the attention of the users.
  • Loading speed should be checked and that should be fast.
  • Mobile searches need instant loading and users desire this as well. Loading speed is also one of the ranking factors and hence it should be taken care of. This should be considered for the image optimization too and there should be no excessive codes as well.

[Back to the Updates List ↑]

10. Google RankBrain Update

Google introduced RankBrain on October 26, 2015. It is actually a machine learning AI (Artificial Intelligence) technique that Google uses for delivering its search results.

It is actually the significant part of the overall algorithm of Google that enables it to go through billions of the pages and find the one that best fits with the search query. After the content and links, RankBrain is the third most powerful factors that decide the ranking in search results.

Google RankBrain Algorithm Update

As per a Bloomberg article of October 26, 2015 RankBrain process through Artificial Intelligence that enable it to incorporate vast amount of language database into mathematical forms that are ‘Vectors’.

Computers understand those vectors. Then when RankBrain sees a search phrase it is not aware of, it does the guessing to find out the phrase that may have a similar meaning. Accordingly, it filters the result. This way, it manages all the queries known or unknown.

Use of machine learning differentiates RankBrain Google algorithm from all the other algorithm updates.

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11. Google Possum Update

Google Possum Algorithm Update
Image Source: ColorWhistle

Google Possum update was first introduced on September 1, 2016. It monitors and manages the competition that exists in target locations.

The Possum update had been launched with the aim of furnishing those websites or businesses in the top position of the search result that is the nearest to the location of the searcher.

To implement and take advantage of this update, the SEO professionals need to take of care of two things while optimizing their websites. First, they should increase the list of the keywords that they intend to use on the website pages. Second, they should perform location-based tracking of ranks.

[Back to the Updates List ↑]

12. Google Fred Update

Google Fred Algorithm Update

Launched in March 2017, the Fred update of Google targets all the sites that have Ad-centered content or are affiliate heavy.

This is one of the latest SEO updates of Google. It specifically targets the websites that contain low-quality content and have uploaded content only with the single intent of generating Ad revenue. These websites violate the webmaster guidelines of Google.

To work in the lines of this update the SEO professional must see that their content is not of low quality.

If the display of Ad is prime objective then it will bid well for the websites that have some high-quality content that is relevant as well as informational to the users.

[Back to the Updates List ↑]


The mathematics of the optimization tells that the search engine optimization is directly proportional to Google’s algorithm. Hence latest Google algorithm updates are very essential which can literally enhance or boost the optimization of the website.

The web developer and the admin need to keep a track of such updates and need to add or edit the attributes of the website accordingly. Google is doing the updates and enhancing the entire process of optimization in a great way. This is great news for online users as well.

Always be on the lookout for Google’s algorithm updates as these can translate into the increase or decrease of web traffic for your website.

There are many sources which can help you find the latest Google algorithm updates. Among them, the most popular one is the MOZ where you can get all the latest updates of the Google algorithm. It is one of the primary ones to administer the SEO business.

Besides that, the search engine journal, webmaster world, search engine watch are other great places to find such updates. Thus all this has been changing the entire digital marketing scenario and bringing in new lights and scopes.

The changes are helping in getting better and desirable results which are beneficial for the digital business.

Which Google algorithm updates do you consider most important? Did we miss any important update?

Send us your views through comments.


About the author

Abuzar Khan

Abuzar Khan is a web developer, SEO expert and the blog editor at SEO Basics, overseeing all blog content and social media. He has over 8 years of web development and SEO experience, working across various businesses. When not working, you can find him enjoying with his family members and friends.

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