Announcing: The Complete Google Algo History

Posted by Dr. Pete

Okay, deep breath. I AM SUPER EXCITED… Sorry, let’s try again *breathes into bag*. I am very excited to announce SEOmoz’s first “living document”, a complete history of named Google algorithm changes, from “Boston” in 2003 to Panda 2.3 (or whatever the kids are calling it these days). Why don’t you check out this sneak peek while I try to calm down…

Screenshot of algo history page

This started as a simple blog post, trying to pull together the complete list of named updates, but we soon realized the value of keeping a history of Google updates as a long-term archive. While Google makes hundreds of changes every year, Panda has proven once again that the major updates do matter to businesses, and it’s useful to know when the rules changes on a large scale.

Within each year, you’ll see a breakdown like this, complete with description and links:

Sample algo history listing

For 2003-2010, updates are listed by month only. For 2011 changes (and going forward), we’ve provided exact dates, when possible. Some of these are estimates, but we want to try to isolate changes as precisely as we can, so that you can map them against their SEO impact on your own sites.

If you can’t wait, here’s the permanent link to the Google Algorithm Change History page.

What’s A Living Document?

The algorithm is constantly changing, so we designed this document to change with it. I was adding updates to the list (Google+ and Panda 2.3) as recently as last week. In addition, we recognize that the timeline isn’t exact. We rely a lot on the archival knowledge of the SEO community, and Google doesn’t publish official lists of updates, even the big ones. So, we welcome your feedback, both corrections and additions. Although this was a team effort, a lot of the initial research was mine, and, as they say, the buck stops here. If you see something you think is wrong, let me know – comment, DM, Tweet, email me, whatever you like. We’ve also included a dedicated update email on the main document.

Google Algo Change History

I’d Like to Thank…

This wouldn’t have been possible without a lot of help, both internally and from the industry as a whole. First off, I’d like to thank Cyrus, Casey and Matt for moral support and heroically turning my barely comprehensible Google doc into a thing of beauty.

Special thanks go to SEOmoz member Barry Smith, who answered a public Q&A question about the Google algo history with an incredible off-the-top-of-his-head response. We had been pondering this for a bit, and the amazing public response to his answer demonstrated just how much people wanted to see this data all in one place.

Finally, I’d like to thank all of the industry people who chimed in on dates and details on Twitter, including heavy hitters like Bill Slawski, Brett Tabke, and Ted Ulle. You’ll notice that the vast majority of links on the document are to sites other than SEOmoz – our goal is to build the best reference we can.

Want to Read More?

When I was doing my initial pass, trying to build a skeleton of named updates and rough dates (which got researched update-by-update later), I came across the following useful resources that you might also be interested in:

I hope you find the resource useful, and please feel free to contact us with any corrections or additions. Once again, here’s the link to the permanent Google Algorithm Change History page.

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August 9, 2011  Tags: , , , ,   Posted in: SEO / Traffic / Marketing

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