A Complete Step-by-Step Guide to Google Algorithm Updates

A Complete Step-by-Step Guide to Google Algorithm Updates

Google algorithm updates are a regular occurrence. Google makes around 800 changes to its search algorithm each year. These changes are designed to improve the quality, relevance, and overall user experience of Google search results.

While most of these changes are minor and go unnoticed, major algorithm updates can cause significant changes in search results and your website’s ranking on SERPs. 

Google typically does not acknowledge major algorithm updates until the SEO community begins to report on their impact. When Google does release information about an update, it is often very limited.

This is because Google wants to protect its competitive advantage.

If Google were to release more information about its algorithm updates, it would allow competitors to game the system and improve their rankings.

As a result, SEOs and website owners often have to rely on anecdotal evidence and speculation to understand the impact of Google’s algorithm updates. This can make it difficult to know:

  • Whether or not your website is hit by a Google update.
  • What to do when your website is hit by a Google update?
  • What is the best way to optimize your website so it remains unharmed?

Today, we’ll look at practical ways to deal with a Google algorithm update, but before that, we have to understand all the updates.

Major Google Algorithm Updates

Here’s a list of major Google algorithm updates since 2011

  1. Panda (2011): This update was designed to target low-quality content.
  2. Venice (2012): It targeted low-quality local search results.
  3. Penguin (2012): This update was designed to target websites that engage in manipulative SEO practices.
  4. Pirate (2012): It penalized websites for copyright infringement.
  5. Hummingbird (2013): This update was designed to better understand the meaning of search queries.
  6. Pigeon (2014): It improved local search results by taking into account location signals.
  7. HTTPS/SSL (2014): Trusted websites with HTTPS certificates were given a ranking boost.
  8. RankBrain (2015): This update uses machine learning to improve the accuracy of search results.
  9. Possum (2016): Localized search results were improved by taking into account the user’s location and search history.
  10. Medic (2018): Targeted websites that were providing low-quality or inaccurate medical information.
  11. BERT (2019): This update uses natural language processing to improve the understanding of search queries.
  12. Core Updates (2020): A series of updates that improved the ranking of websites with high-quality content.
  13. Product Reviews Update (2021): Improved the ranking of product review websites.
  14. Broad Core Update (2021): A major update that impacted a wide range of websites.
  15. Page Experience Update (2021): This update was designed to reward websites that offer a good user experience.
  16. Core Update (2021): A follow-up to the Broad Core Update that further improved the ranking of high-quality websites.
  17. Spam Update (2021): Targeted websites that were engaging in spammy or manipulative SEO practices.
  18. Core Web Vitals (2022): Focused on the loading, interactivity, and visual stability of web pages.
  19. Core Update (2022): This update made broad changes to how Google ranks websites, affecting all content types and languages.
  20. Product Reviews Update (2023): This update targeted English-language product reviews, rewarding those that are comprehensive, informative, and unbiased.

As we mentioned above, Google makes thousands of changes to its algorithm each year, but only a small number of these changes are significant enough to be called “updates.”  All the above-mentioned updates are major and have a huge impact.

Now, these updates are documented properly on the web because it has been quite some time since they were first introduced. However, to be prepared for any upcoming update you need to keep an eye on early signs.

Early Signs Of A Google Algorithm Update

A Complete Step-by-Step Guide to Google Algorithm Updates

Changes in search traffic

If you notice a sudden and unexplained change in your website’s search traffic, it could be a sign that Google has updated its algorithm. For example, you may see a sudden increase or decrease in traffic, or you may see your website ranking for different keywords than it was before.

Changes in SERPs

If you notice that the ranking of certain websites in the search results has changed, it could be a sign that Google has updated its algorithm. For example, you may see that a new website has appeared at the top of the results for a particular keyword, or you may see that a website that was previously ranking well has fallen in the rankings.

The chatter in the SEO community and on Social media

If you see that SEOs are talking about a possible Google algorithm update, it’s a good sign that one may be happening. SEOs often share information about algorithm updates on forums, blogs, and social media. Also, go through

It’s important to note that not all changes in search traffic or SERPs are caused by Google algorithm updates. Other factors can affect search results, such as changes in user behaviour, the quality of your website’s content, and the competition for your keywords. 

However, if you notice any of the signs listed above, it’s worth keeping an eye on your website’s performance to see if the changes are permanent.

What Should I Do After a Google Algorithm Update or Google Organic Traffic Drop?

Here are some tips for dealing with a Google search ranking algorithm update:

Don’t panic

It’s important to remember that Google makes changes to its ranking algorithm all the time. This is part of their ongoing effort to improve the quality of search results. If you notice a sudden drop in your organic search traffic, don’t panic. The update is likely affecting other websites as well.

If you have implanted authentic SEO practices, you should not be concerned about Google’s efforts to improve contextual rankings. However, if your website has low-quality backlinks or has not been updated to a mobile-first index template, you may see your organic rankings decline.

Wait before react

In 2020, Google rolled out a core update in January, but it was pulled back after three days because it caused rank fluctuations that resulted in spam sites ranking higher than high-quality sites.

Google users, SEO experts, and business owners complained about the poor search experience. Google quickly realized that the algorithm needed further work. It is advisable to wait a few days to see how an algorithm plays out before making any major changes to your site, as Google is constantly making adjustments.

Analyze your website

Once you’ve calmed down, it’s time to analyze your website to see if any areas could be improved. This could include things like your content, your website’s structure, or your backlinks.

Make necessary arrangements

While Google does not disclose the specifics of its algorithm updates, they do explain its goals. For instance, the goal of the July 2021 spam update was to improve the quality of search results by eliminating sites that the algorithm deems to be spammy.

By paying attention to what Google is looking for and what they are not saying, you can avoid costly mistakes. You do not have to deal with updates blindly, thankfully.

SEO experts keep an eye on algorithm changes to see how they might affect their websites. To stay up-to-date on the latest information, follow these industry experts: developers.google.com, SEMrush, Moz, Search Engine Roundtable, searchengineland.com, etc.

Be patient

It can take some time for your website to recover from a Google search ranking algorithm update. Don’t expect to see results overnight. Just keep working on improving your website, and eventually, you’ll start to see your traffic improve.

Bad SEO practices: Avoid at any cost

Before knowing the best SEO practices here are a few things you should not do to keep your website safe from Google updates and penalties:

Do not engage in black-hat SEO practices

Black hat SEO practices are any techniques that are designed to manipulate Google’s search algorithm to improve your website’s ranking. These practices are against Google’s guidelines and can result in your website being penalized.

Avoid Duplicate content

Avoid publishing duplicate content on your website. Duplicate content is any content that appears on more than one website. Google views duplicate content as spam and will penalize websites that contain it.

Avoid buying or selling backlinks

Backlinks are links from other websites to your website. Buying or selling backlinks is considered to be a form of black hat SEO and can result in your website being penalized. So, Do not buy or sell backlinks. 

Do not spam users

Spamming users is any activity that is designed to send unsolicited messages to users. Google views spamming as a form of spam and will penalize websites that engage in it.

Avoid Doorway Pages

Do not create doorway pages. Doorway pages are pages that are created with the sole purpose of ranking well for a specific keyword. Google views doorway pages as spam and will penalize websites that create them.

Don’t use hidden and thin content

Do not use hidden text or links. Hidden text and links are text or links that are not visible to users. Google views hidden text and links as spam and will penalize websites that use them. Thin content is content that is low-quality or low-value. Google views thin content as spam and will penalize websites that create it.

Do not use cloaking

Cloaking is a technique that is used to show different content to users and search engines. Google views cloaking as spam and will penalize websites that use it.

By avoiding these practices, you can help keep your website safe from Google updates and penalties.

Ways to Protect Your Websites from Google Algorithm Updates

Protect Your Websites from Google Algorithm Updates

To make your site resistant to Google penalties and algorithm updates, you need to provide value to searchers. This means creating high-quality content that is informative, helpful, and relevant to your target audience.

You should also focus on building backlinks from other high-quality websites. Backlinks are essentially “votes” from other websites that tell Google that your site is credible and trustworthy.

Here are some tips for creating a site that is resistant to Google penalties:

Start with Content

Content is important because it keeps visitors on your website longer, improves the user experience, and can lead to more sales. When content is fresh, informative, and relevant, visitors are more likely to spend time on your website and explore different pages. This can lead to increased conversions and web traffic.

Here are some of the benefits of good content:

  • Provides value to readers: Content can educate and inform readers about your company, products, and services. It can also build trust and credibility with potential customers.
  • Generates more sales: When people trust you, they are more likely to buy from you. Content can help you build trust by providing valuable information and demonstrating your expertise.

Improves SEO value: High-quality content can help your website rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs). This can lead to increased traffic and more opportunities to convert visitors into customers.

Update your old content

Updating old content is a great way to improve the quality of information on your site and attract more visitors. Here are a few tips for updating old content:

  • Add new information: If there has been any new research or developments in the field that your content covers, be sure to add this information to your post.
  • Correct any errors: If you notice any errors in your content, be sure to correct them.
  • Update the formatting: If your content is outdated, consider updating the formatting to make it more visually appealing and easier to read.
  • Add new images and videos: Images and videos can help to break up your text and make your content more engaging.
  • Promote your updated content: Once you have updated your content, be sure to promote it on social media and other channels to let your audience know about the changes.

You can update your old content and improve the quality of information on your site. This can help you to attract more visitors and improve your website’s ranking in search engines.

Additionally, you can outsource SEO Services from an SEO company and they will do it for you.

Perform a Site Audit

It is important to regularly check your website for any issues that may be affecting its performance. This includes load times, indexing, and site navigation. Here are some tips for checking your website:

  • Check load times: Use a tool like Google PageSpeed Insights to check the load times of your website. If your load times are slow, there are a few things you can do to improve them, such as minifying your CSS and JavaScript files, optimizing your images, and using a content delivery network (CDN).
  • Check indexing: Use Google Search Console to check if your website is indexed in Google. If your website is not indexed, there are a few things you can do to fix this, such as submitting your sitemap to Google and making sure your pages are crawlable.
  • Check site navigation: Make sure your website’s navigation is easy to use and that visitors can easily find the information they are looking for. You can test your site navigation by using a heatmap tool to see how visitors are interacting with your website.
  • Optimize for mobile: It is also important to make sure your website is optimized for mobile search.

Improve Site Navigation

Google wants to make it easy for people to find the information they are looking for. This is why Google rewards websites that are easy to use and navigate. If you want your website to rank well in Google search results, you need to make sure that it is easy for people to find the information they are looking for.

Here are a few tips for making your website easy to navigate:

  • Use clear and concise navigation labels. The labels on your navigation should be clear and concise so that people can easily understand what they lead to.
  • Use a consistent navigation structure. The navigation on your website should be consistent throughout so that people can easily find their way around.
  • Use a search bar. A search bar is a great way for people to find specific information on your website.
  • Use breadcrumbs. Breadcrumbs are a great way for people to see where they are on your website and how they can get back to the homepage.
  • Test your navigation. Once you have implemented your navigation, you need to test it to make sure that it is easy to use. You can do this by asking people to use your website and see how they find the information they are looking for.

By following these tips, you can make your website easy to navigate and improve your website’s ranking in Google search results.


That’s it for today, from introduction to definition to does and don’t we covered every bit and piece of Google Algorithm Updates. 

Remember, Google’s goal is to help users find the information they’re looking for. By following the right SEO practices you can make your content relevant and valuable, you ensure that the traffic coming to your website is looking for the service you provide, and the accuracy of information will ensure that your site ranks well in search.

Just make sure to keep your website and published content on it authentic and there is no need to worry about any upcoming Google Algorithm Updates.