Google’s Major Search Algorithm Updates List: 2021 Updated


We all are aware of how important is it to rank our websites on the top positions while performing its SEO. The search engine crawlers consider thousands of web pages available over the internet and index them in its SERP (Search Engine Result Page) according to the relevancy, quality of the content, user intent, authority of websites, etc. In such a competitive space, it becomes imperative for SEO Companies to have a clear idea of the factors that play a significant role in ranking your website in the top positions.

This ranking system comes under the entire set of Google Algorithm that depicts a clear picture of the factors it considers for indexing and ranking any website. These are certain thumb rules and key points Google considers while analyzing the visitor’s search query. This includes the meaning of query, page relevancy, quality of content, the context of web pages, and settings.

Moreover, this algorithm never remains static and keeps changing over time. Google keeps updating it frequently and sets several parameters to enable a website with good visibility. Being updated to these algorithms is extremely crucial for any Digital Marketing agency while performing their SEO Services.

We have compiled a list of important Google Algorithm Update names that most SEO Companies consider while performing their services.

1. Passage Ranking Update (February 2021)

Passage ranking or Passage indexing is the latest Google Algorithm released that can index and rank individual passages with a specific page on its SERP (Search Engine Result Page) depending upon the visitor search query. It is an automated feature that can reflect certain portions within a web page in the search engine result page, even if the page topic remains slightly different from the main one. 

The ultimate reason why Google came with such an update is that it wants to enhance its website visitors’ User-Experience.

Don’t know about passage ranking? here’s video for you, must watch!

3. BERT Google Algorithm Update(October 2019)

This is one of those Google Algorithm Change that can potentially impact 10% of all queries. It involves a language processing technology termed Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers (abbreviated as BERT). With this update’s help, Google’s objective remains to improve its understanding of the natural language that user search queries comprise in the search bar. SEO Companies all over have already understood its capability to affect long-tail keyword searches. It will not replace RankBrain or other Google Page Experience tools Update 2021 but used in conjunction with those. 

4. Broad Core Algorithm Update (Sept 24, 2019)

When released back in September 2019, this update majorly affected the rankings of many SEO Companies. Google announced that they release such updates several times per year. A lower ranking does not necessarily mean that there is some issue with your site. These algorithms ensure to revamp the entire system and actually rewarding the pages that went ignored earlier. It is not a block hurdle stumble in the SEO Services, but an encouragement to them. 



Enhancing any company’s brand outreach stands on the three pillars, namely expertise, authority, and trustworthiness (an abbreviation of EAT). Similarly, YMYL stands for Your Money, Your Life. This concept revolves around the fact that Google as a search engine not only relies on delivering the most relevant information but also the correct one. These algorithms have been updated twice so far in the year 2018 and 2019. Now, most SEO Companies have taken this algorithm seriously and taken every measure to include them as part of their SEO strategy. 

The concept of EAT revolves around the authority of the author who curates and publishes the content, and YMYL is all about presenting your content in a manner that impacts the reader’s happiness, health, safety, or financial stabilityThey both are concurrent as Google ranks the content only when the author holds some authority in the above domains.


6. Fred

Released in 2017, Google Fred is an algorithm update that seeks to target hazardous SEO services linked to aggressive monetization. It includes Ad overloading, minor user benefits, and degrading quality content. For instance, a website that primarily runs intending to create ad revenue through humongous volumes of AdWords displayed on their website. Schwartz noticed that this update by Google led to a drop of 50 to 90% in the website traffic. The biggest fix to counter this is to enhance the quality of your content and scaling down your ads. Any SEO Company’s prime objective should not be to earn ad revenue through monetization but to strive for escalating organic traffic through good SEO services.



7. Hummingbird

Google Hummingbird was officially announced in 2016 and apparently affected 90% of all the searches. Technically speaking, Hummingbird is a minor update of the Google Algorithm and an entirely revamped version of the search algorithm. Basically, Hummingbird Update is all about the semantics or the meaning ascribed to it.

Semantic search is all about improving the search results as per the search queries of website visitors in a wider sense (i.e., contextually related content).

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8. Mobilegeddon

As the name suggests, Mobilegeddon is the Google algorithm that focuses on making major changes to mobile search rankings. This algorithm also served as a reminder to all SEO Companies to make the websites mobile-friendly. The website visitors have optimum user-experience across all devices. This algorithm released its latest update in 2015 and has been holding the same importance ever since. This update also led to earning several monikers like mobilepocalyse, mopocalypse, etc. The good news is that more and more people also realize the importance of having their website mobile-friendly.

9. RankBrain

Rankbrain is the machine learning language used by Google to help deliver the most relevant search results resonating with users’ search queries. In other words, Rankbrain is a major part of Google’s search algorithm that sorts millions of pages available over the internet and locates the ones that are most relevant, matching with users’ search queries. It can also be considered as a part of Google’s Hummingbird Search Algorithm. This is because RankBrain doesn’t handle all searches, unlike the overall algorithm. Similarly, these algorithms also function upon the signals it receives from the user intent or search query. 

Google confirmed its existence on October 26, 2015.


10. Medic Update

Google rolled out the Medic update in late 2015. This update impacted several industries, but the majorly affected were Your Money, Your Life (YMYL) Pages. These pages are the ones that can potentially impact the future happiness, wealth, and happiness of web users. The majority of those includes Shopping/ Financial Transaction Pages, Medical, News Articles, Financial Information, etc.

SEO Influencer Barry Schwartz assigned this title to the update since most of the websites affected were those of medical, fitness, health, etc.

11. Exact Match Domain

The EMD Update is a filter launched by Google in September 2012 to prevent the poor quality website from ranking in the top positions, merely because of the keywords embedded that match their domain name. Every time EMD Updates take place, the chances of ranking websites with high-quality content automatically increases. The updates like these have played a pivotal role in countering aggressive and hazardous SEO services among SEO Companies. 

Google algorithm has become more stringent and complex over the years, thus hardly leaving any loopholes.

12. Penguin

Also known as web-spam algorithm update, Penguin was launched for the first time in 2012. The main purpose behind this was to target link spam and manipulative link-building practices specifically. The panda name came into existence because of one of the key engineers involved in the project. Before Penguin, the volumes of links played a pivotal role in determining a webpage score when getting crawled, indexed, and analyzed by Google. Penguin aims to backfire low-quality content appearing on the search engine results.

13. Panda

Released in February 2011, this Google Update ensures to prevent websites with poor quality content from appearing in the Search Engine Result Page’s top positions. Panda is updated frequently from time to time. There have been 28 data updates to Panda from 2011 to 2015. However, this update also led to an increase in the influence of content farms. 


We hope that you have found the above list meaningful and relevant. You can mention any additional updates if you feel we have missed something.


We are an SEO Company by the name of ACECLiQ that delivers you On-Page and Off-Page SEO services. Our prime objective remains to keep ourselves updated with the above algorithms, which change dynamically over time so that we shed off all the obsolete SEO services that are no longer worthwhile. Please feel free to share your feedback and your opinion on the above blog in the comments section. We would love to hear from you 🙂