10 Google Algorithms You Should Know

Imagine that you’ve got this awesome website and have put in hours crafting killer content, polishing your design, and making sure EVERYTHING looks perfect.

But here’s the kicker: if Google doesn’t give your website a nod of approval, it’ll be like hosting a party and forgetting to send out invites.

Now, you must be thinking, “Why should I care about these Google algorithms and what’s the fuss all about?” Well when someone types a query into that all-powerful search bar, Google’s algorithms get to work, scanning the vast digital landscape to deliver the most relevant and high-quality results.

Now here’s the catch, these algorithms operate on a set of rules and criteria that savvy SEO experts decipher to boost website visibility. The better you understand Google’s algorithms, the more effectively you can tailor your website to meet their standards.

So in this blog get ready to explore the mysteries behind Google’s algorithms and find out why being in their good graces is the golden ticket to boosting your website’s ranking. Get ready to dive into the world of SEO algorithms where understanding the rules means claiming your spot in the spotlight!

What are Google Algorithms?

Google algorithms are sets of complex instructions and rules that determine how the search engine ranks and displays results when you enter a query. 

In simpler terms, they are like a recipe that Google follows to provide you with the most relevant and helpful information in response to your search.

Wondering what must be the role of Google algorithms in SEO?

Well, since SEO is all about optimizing websites to rank higher in Google’s search results, making them more visible to users the Google algorithms analyze various factors on websites to determine their relevance and quality, ultimately influencing their position in search rankings. 

  • An effective SEO involves strategically incorporating keywords into content to signal to Google what the page is about. 
  • Google algorithms in SEO work to ensure that websites offering the most valuable and relevant content are rewarded with higher rankings. 
  • Google’s algorithms have become sophisticated and can identify attempts to game the system, including keyword stuffing and other “black hat” SEO practices.
  • It’s better to align your SEO efforts with Google’s goal of providing users with the best possible search experience by delivering content that genuinely matches their queries.

Now, let’s take a brief look at the evolution of Google’s search algorithms:

  • PageRank (1996):

    Back when Google was just a newbie, it came up with PageRank. Google’s initial algorithm, created by Larry Page and Sergey Brin, evaluated the importance of web pages based on the number and quality of links pointing to them

  • Florida Update (2003):

    This major update aimed to reduce spammy SEO tactics, emphasizing content quality and relevance. It was like the search engine trying to be cool and cracking down on sneaky tricks, rewarding good, honest content.

  • Panda (2011):

    Focused on content quality, Panda penalized low-quality and duplicate content, promoting higher-quality pages in search results.

  • Penguin (2012):

    Targeted webspam, particularly manipulative link-building practices, to ensure that websites earned their rankings through genuine content and links.

  • Hummingbird (2013):

    Introduced the concept of semantic search, understanding the context and intent behind user queries rather than just matching keywords.

  • Mobile-Friendly Update (2015):

    Prioritized mobile-friendly websites in search rankings to accommodate the increasing use of mobile devices.

  • RankBrain (2015):

    A machine learning component that helps Google understand and interpret ambiguous or unique search queries better.

  • Medic Update (2018):

    The Medic Update focused on websites related to health and wellness, emphasizing the importance of Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness (E-A-T) for content in these sectors.

  • BERT (2019):

    BERT stands for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers. This update also helped Google understand search queries from both directions – left to right and right to left. This unique capability helped Google understand the intent of the search and display results accordingly.

  • Page Experience Update (EEAT) (2021):

    This is a separate update focusing on improving the overall user experience by considering factors such as loading performance, interactivity, and visual stability. 

  • Helpful Content Update (HCU) (2022):

    This update emphasizes the importance of content relevance and usefulness. It is not specifically tied to BERT but reflects Google’s ongoing efforts to provide users with high-quality and helpful content in search.

These are just a few key milestones in the evolution of Google’s search algorithms. The overarching goal has always been to enhance the user experience by providing more accurate, relevant, and high-quality search results.

Also Read – 10 Best Blogs You Should Follow To Learn Digital Marketing

Why Understanding Google Algorithms is Crucial for SEO

Imagine you’ve crafted the perfect website, but what if I told you that Google’s algorithms could be the gatekeepers between your site and the masses?

Yes, ignoring their updates is like playing hide-and-seek in the dark and your website might end up lost and unseen.

In this section let’s discuss how Google’s algorithms shape how we make our websites stand out. Then, we’ll touch on what goes wrong if we don’t keep up with the changes.

Here are some key ways in which Google algorithms impact SEO strategies:

  • Content Quality and Relevance
  • Mobile-Friendliness
  • Page Loading Speed
  • Backlink Quality
  • User Experience
  • Industry Expertise

If you don’t keep up with Algorithm Changes then get ready to face the consequences –

  • Traffic Loss with Decreased Visibility: Websites that do not align with the latest algorithms may lose visibility in SERPs which ultimately impacts the website ranking and organic website traffic.
  • Penalties and Deindexing: Persistent non-compliance with algorithm guidelines may lead to penalties or even deindexing from search results. This can have severe consequences for a website’s online presence.
  • Competitive Disadvantage: Websites that keep up with the latest SEO algorithms gain a competitive edge. Failure to do so puts a business at a disadvantage compared to competitors who adapt and optimize their online presence accordingly.

But worry not because you can discover the ins and outs of Google algorithms and SEO directly from agency experts with backgrounds from prestigious institutions like IITs and IIMs in just 3 months through the IMS Proschool’s Digital Marketing course that can add so much value to your CV. 

Additionally, you can explore a range of offerings like:

  • Fundamentals of website development
  • Art of ranking on Google
  • Understanding the analysis and creation of shareable content
  • Understand how brands keep an eye on each other.

Sounds exciting right? Check out IMS Proschool’s Digital Marketing course right now!

Top 10 Google Algorithms You Should Know

In this section, we will delve into the top 10 Google algorithms that demand your attention, outlining their primary objectives and highlighting the various advantages they’ve brought to the digital landscape.

  • Google Panda (2011)

Introduced by Google in 2011, the Panda Update is a search algorithm geared towards enhancing search result quality. 

The primary aim of Google Panda included:

    • Quality Content Evaluation: It focused on identifying and penalizing sites with shallow, duplicate, or poorly written content. By doing so, Google sought to ensure that users were presented with more relevant, valuable, and authoritative information when conducting searches.
    • Thin Content Penalties: Websites featuring “thin” content, which lacks substance or depth, were targeted by Panda. Panda aimed to lower the rankings of these low-quality sites, reducing their visibility in search results

Its other objectives include the following:

    • User Experience Enhancement: By prioritizing content relevance and usefulness, Google aimed to align its search results with user expectations, fostering a more satisfying and informative search experience.
    • Algorithmic Learning: It incorporated machine learning techniques to continuously evolve and adapt to new content trends and user behaviors. This allowed Google to refine its ability to differentiate between high and low-quality content.

This algorithmic approach reflected Google’s commitment to delivering search results that aligned with user expectations and encouraged webmasters to focus on creating content of the highest possible quality.

  • Google Penguin (2012)

Google Penguin, launched in 2012, is an algorithm update specifically designed to combat web spam and improve link quality in search results.

The primary aim of Google Penguin included: Webspam and Link Quality

    • It scrutinizes the links pointing to a website to ensure they are legitimate, relevant, and not intended to manipulate search engine rankings.
    • This shift in focus marked a significant step in Google’s ongoing efforts to provide users with reliable and authentic search results.

Its other objectives include the following:

    • Targeted Spammy or Irrelevant Links: It targets spammy or irrelevant links that are often created with the sole purpose of artificially boosting a website’s search rankings. These low-quality links can include link schemes, link farms, and other manipulative tactics that violate Google’s quality guidelines. 
    • Manipulative Link-Building Practices: This includes practices like buying links, participating in link schemes, or using automated tools to generate a large number of low-quality backlinks. Penguin actively works to devalue such links, ensuring a fair and level playing field for all websites.

Also Read – 10 Free & Paid SEO Tools You Should Use To Rank #1 In 2024

  • Google Hummingbird (2013) 

Google Hummingbird wasn’t just an update but an upgrade to how we interact with the search engine. It made Google more human, and more relatable. Conversational searches suddenly made sense, and the results were like having a chat with a super-smart friend who always knows what you need.

The primary aim of Google Hummingbird was: Search Intent and Conversational Search

    • Hummingbird was engineered to better understand the nuances of human language.
    • This shift was crucial for handling complex search queries and delivering results that matched the user’s actual intent.
    • This meant handling long-tail queries, phrasing variations, and colloquial language more effectively, allowing users to engage with the search engine more conversationally.

Its other objectives include the following:

    • Better Handling of Long-Tail Queries: Long-tail queries, which consist of more specific and detailed search phrases, became more accurately interpreted by Hummingbird. 
    • Enhanced User Experience: Users could now input queries more naturally, and the search engine’s ability to understand the user’s intent meant that results were more likely to align with what the user was seeking.

It represented a fundamental shift by placing a strong emphasis on natural language processing and conversational search.

  • Google Pigeon (2014)

Pigeon wasn’t just any update; it was all about the local scene. Google wanted to give you the best darn local results when you searched for something nearby, be it the coolest coffee shop or the handiest hardware store. 

The primary aim of Google Pigeon was: Local Search Results Enhancement

    • It improved the precision of location-based queries, ensuring that users received results that were more geographically relevant to their search queries.
    • It placed a higher emphasis on distance and location parameters, enabling users to find businesses and services that were near their physical location. 

Its other objectives include the following:

    • Greater Visibility for Local Businesses: The update allowed businesses with strong local SEO practices to appear prominently in searches related to their products or services.
    • Citations and Local SEO Signals: Google Pigeon took into account local SEO signals such as citations (mentions of a business’s name, address, and phone number on other websites) as indicators of a business’s credibility and relevance. 
    • Consistent and accurate citations became crucial for local businesses looking to improve their search visibility.

Businesses that adapted to these changes and invested in local SEO practices saw enhanced visibility in local search results, contributing to a better overall search experience for users.

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  • Google Mobilegeddon (2015)

This update marked a significant shift in Google’s approach to mobile search, reflecting the growing importance of mobile devices in online searches.

The primary aim of Google Pigeon was: the mobile-friendliness of websites

This meant that websites that provided a better mobile user experience were more likely to rank higher in searches conducted on mobile devices.

Its other objectives include the following:

    • Responsive Design Importance: The update emphasized the importance of responsive web design, encouraging website owners to create sites that adapt seamlessly to various screen sizes and resolutions. 
    • Mobile Usability as a Ranking Factor: Google’s algorithm started evaluating the mobile usability of websites, taking into account factors such as font size, tap targets, and overall mobile-friendly design. 

This move was driven by the increasing prevalence of mobile device usage and aimed at providing users with a better experience when accessing information on the go. 

  • Google RankBrain (2015)

Have you ever wondered how Google seems to magically understand your search queries even when you throw in some head-scratchers? That’s why Google RankBrain came into the picture!

The primary aim of  Google RankBrain was: Machine Learning and Query Understanding

    • This update brought machine learning to Google search and utilizes artificial intelligence to better understand the intent and context behind search queries.
    • RankBrain is designed to interpret and understand the meaning behind complex and ambiguous search queries. 
    • Instead of relying solely on keyword matching, it considers the user’s intent and attempts to provide results that align with the user’s actual search goals.

Its other objectives include the following:

    • Dynamic Ranking Adjustment: This contributes to the dynamic adjustment of search rankings. It allows Google to adapt its ranking criteria based on the evolving patterns of user behavior and the changing nature of online content.
    • Adaptation to Natural Language: It helps Google understand conversational queries, voice searches, and other forms of user input that may not follow traditional keyword-based patterns.

As a component of Google’s core algorithm, RankBrain continuously evolves to better meet the ever-changing needs and expectations of users in the online search landscape.

  • Google Possum (2016)

This update brought about several changes in the way Google ranked and displayed local businesses, ultimately improving the user experience for individuals seeking local services and products.

The primary aim of Google Possum was to create more impact on local search results diversification

    • Before Possum, businesses located just outside the physical city limits often faced challenges in appearing prominently in local search results.
    • The algorithm update addressed this issue by considering a broader geographic area, ensuring that businesses located close to the searcher’s location would also be included in the results.

Its other objectives include the following:

    • Allowed businesses on the outskirts of a city or town to gain more visibility, reaching potential customers who might have otherwise overlooked them in previous search algorithms.
    • By factoring in the searcher’s location, the algorithm was able to provide more tailored results based on proximity, which is crucial for local businesses.

This update was a positive step forward in enhancing the accuracy and relevance of local search results, benefiting both users and businesses seeking to connect with their local audience.

Also Read – 12 Different Types Of SEO – Know What Your Brand Needs In 2024

  • Google Medic Update (2018)

This update primarily focuses on websites related to health and wellness. Google aimed to ensure that users searching for medical, financial, or other critical advice receive information from trustworthy and authoritative sources. It emphasizes the importance of Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness (E-A-T) for content in these sectors.

The primary aim of  Google Medic Update was: EAT – Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness

    • Google aimed to elevate trustworthy sources, improving the quality of health-related content in search results.by prioritizing reliable information available on the web.
    • Similar to other updates, it integrated machine learning to adapt to evolving content trends, making it crucial for websites to consistently demonstrate high E-A-T.

Its other objectives include the following:

    • Establish your expertise by showcasing qualifications, certifications, and author credentials. Demonstrating authority by citing reputable sources helps Google identify and rank your website in the list of authoritative content.
    • Be transparent about who is providing the content. Clearly attribute authors and ensure the site’s overall transparency in terms of purpose and information.
    • Focus on delivering accurate, comprehensive, and user-friendly content. By prioritising depth and relevance in your health-related information makes it high quality content.
  • Google Bert (2019)

Google BERT, which stands for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers, was a major algorithm update in Google’s ability to understand the nuances and context of search queries.

The primary aim of  Google Bert was: Natural language processing

    • Unlike previous algorithms that processed words in sequential order, BERT aimed to comprehend the full context of a word by considering the words that came before and after it. 
    • This bidirectional approach allowed the algorithm to grasp the intricacies of language, especially in terms of how words relate to each other within a sentence.

Its other objectives include the following:

    • This update was particularly beneficial for searches that involved ambiguous terms or phrases with multiple meanings.
    •  It marked a fundamental shift towards a more sophisticated and nuanced approach to language processing, allowing Google to better serve users with more contextually relevant search results. 
  • Google Page Experience Update (2021)

The Google Page Experience Update rolled out in 2021, marked a significant shift in how Google evaluates and ranks web pages. This update, including EEAT (Experience-Enriched Algorithms for Templates), emphasizes user-centric factors to enhance the overall user experience in search results.

The primary aim of Google Page Experience Update: User experience on websites

    • Google recognizes that a positive user experience is critical for keeping users engaged and satisfied when navigating the web. 
    • To reflect this focus, the update introduced a set of metrics known as Core Web Vitals, which includes loading performance, interactivity, and visual stability, providing a comprehensive assessment of a page’s user experience.

Its other objectives include the following:

    • With the increasing use of mobile devices for internet browsing, Google has put a strong emphasis on ensuring that websites are optimized for mobile platforms. 
    • Security is a paramount concern for users, and the Page Experience Update takes this into account by considering whether a website is safe to browse.
    • The update incentivizes the adoption of HTTPS which encrypts the data transmitted between the user’s browser and the website. Secure connections are crucial for protecting user privacy and data integrity.
    • To improve the accessibility and readability of content, the update discourages the use of intrusive interstitials like pop-ups or overlays that may disrupt the user experience. Pages with intrusive interstitials may be ranked lower in search results.
  • Google Helpful Content Update (HCU) (2022):

Introduced by Google, the HCU in 2022 emphasizes the importance of providing users with valuable and relevant content. The update aims to improve the overall search experience by prioritizing content that genuinely addresses user queries and needs.

The primary aim of HCU was: Content Relevance

    • Google assesses content for its relevance to user queries, rewarding websites that offer information directly aligned with what users are searching for.
    • The update places a significant emphasis on understanding and meeting user intent, ensuring that search results are not just based on keywords but on fulfilling the informational needs of users.

Its other objectives include the following:

    • Follow User-Centric Approach by tailoring your content to address the specific needs and questions of your target audience.
    • Provide comprehensive and detailed information on topics, demonstrating expertise and a commitment to delivering valuable content.
    • Aim for higher user engagement by creating content that encourages longer dwell times, low bounce rates, and meaningful interactions.

These updates are part of an ongoing effort to adapt to changes in user behavior, technology, and the online landscape, with the overarching goal of providing users with the best possible search experience by delivering trustworthy and pertinent content.

Also Read – Top 15 SEO Skills That Can Make You a Search Engine Wizard

How to Stay Updated with Google Algorithm Changes

Keeping up with the ever-changing world of SEO is like riding a fast-paced rollercoaster, thrilling but challenging. To navigate this digital landscape successfully, arming yourself with the right tools and resources is key.

 Here’s a brief rundown of some go-to sources 

  •  Google Search Central Blogs: Think of Google Search Central Blogs formerly Webmaster as your direct hotline to SEO insights straight from the horse’s mouth or, in this case, the search engine giant itself. 

Google regularly shares updates, tips, and clarifications, providing invaluable information to keep your website in sync with the latest algorithms and best practices. 

Now, let’s talk about why following Google’s Webmaster Guidelines is not just a suggestion but a crucial strategy and why deviating from these guidelines can result in penalties, pushing your site down the search results ladder.

However, there’s no need to fret because these guidelines provide a wealth of valuable information!

    1. Visibility Boost
    2. User Experience Emphasis
    3. Future-Proofing Your Strategy
  • SEO News Sites: You can explore dedicated SEO news sites like Search Engine Land, Moz, and Search Engine Journal. These platforms are like marketplaces for SEO news, trends, and expert opinions. Stay tuned to these sites to catch wind of algorithm changes, industry trends, and actionable tips from seasoned SEO professionals.

Another effective method to stay abreast of Google Algorithm Changes involves engaging with industry experts and enrolling in digital marketing courses. 

Speaking of which, you can enroll in the Digital Marketing course provided by IMS Proschool and?

    • Gain insights into the evolving trends of Google algorithms directly from experts in a face-to-face setting, as this course is available in 10+ cities across India. 
    • More than 7 hours of faculty-led training every week.
    • New batches commence every 30 days, 

All this will ensure that you stay in sync with the latest developments. Moreover, the course is designed to make you job-ready upon completion.

Proschool’s Digital Marketing course alumni are making waves in the professional landscape, currently employed in leading companies such as EY, TCS, Tech Mahindra, and many more.


In conclusion, grasping the intricacies of Google algorithms is the cornerstone of SEO success. 

These algorithms shape the online landscape, influencing how websites are ranked and discovered. To stay ahead in the ever-evolving digital realm, continuous education is key. As algorithms change, marketers must adapt, ensuring their strategies align with the latest standards.

In fact for those eager to deepen their understanding and stay at the forefront of SEO practices, consider enrolling in the digital marketing course at IMS Proschool. At IMS Proschool the experts provide comprehensive insights into Google algorithms, empowering you to navigate the dynamic world of SEO with confidence. 

So keep learning, stay informed, and propel your SEO success by mastering the intricacies of search engine algorithms!


  1. What are Google Core Updates?

Google Core Updates are periodic, broad updates to the search engine’s algorithms, and they play a crucial role in shaping the way search results are ranked and displayed. 

  1. How do I optimize Google SEO?

To optimize your Google SEO:

  • Identify and incorporate relevant keywords.
  • Create high-quality, engaging content.
  • Optimize website speed and ensure mobile-friendliness.

A comprehensive strategy, blending keyword optimization, content quality, and technical aspects, enhances visibility in Google search results.

  1. What is the best algorithm for SEO?

For effective SEO:

  • Prioritize BERT (2019) for natural language understanding.
  • Focus on user-centric factors with the Page Experience Update.
  • Align content with user intent, following the Helpful Content Update.

Understanding and adapting to these algorithms ensures a well-rounded approach to improve search rankings on Google.