Current Timeline of Google Algorithm Changes

December 15, 2021 | By: LaneTerralever | 3 min read

Looking for the latest on Google's biggest algorithm updates? Read our updated list of changes.

When Google releases an announcement about an algorithm update, digital marketers around the globe take notice and start diving into their SEO strategy.

But, did you know that Google is making algorithm updates every day?

While updates are always happening behind the scenes, the ones that get the most attention are larger core update that impact a wide range of web properties in various industries.

As your marketing team navigates the ever-evolving landscape of SEO and the impact of updates large and small, this timeline is an up-to-date resource of the largest and most significant changes you should be aware of right now.


Today's algorithm volatility is...

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2021 Updates

December 2021 — Product Reviews Update

Google introduced two new best practices for product review content (i.e. content by third-party sites that write reviews about various products and services) to take effect in a future update:

  1. Provide evidence such as visuals, audio, or other links of your own experience with the product, to support your expertise and reinforce the authenticity of your review.
  2. Include links to multiple sellers to give the reader the option to purchase from their merchant of choice.

November 2021 — Broad Core Update

Core updates are “broad” in the sense that they don’t target anything specific. Rather, they’re designed to improve Google’s systems overall.


November 2021 — Spam Update

Google announced on twitter on November 3, 2021 that they released a spam update to their systems. Spam updates target specific content guideline violations, specifically those found within Google's Webmaster Guidelines. Google encouraged anyone observing rankings volatility to "get back to basics" with their core guides.


October 2021 — Unconfirmed Update

SEO experts saw a huge fluctuation in rankings around October 2, 2021 across several tools including MOZ and SEMRush. Google hasn't confirmed this update, and no explanation of the methodology behind the update has been announced.


August 2021 — Page Title Rewrites

In August of 2020, SEOs began to notice a substantial increase in Google rewriting page on Search Engine Results pages. Google later confirmed this change, and, after many complaints about result quality issues, scaled back some of these changes in September.

This update could be considered part of a broader trend of Google taking more control of the Search Engine Result Page.


July 2021 — Spam Links Update

In July, Google confirmed an update designed to crack down on Link Schemes.

In 2021, intentional link schemes are less popular. However, some website managers will fail to qualify backlinks — i.e. ensure that traffic monetization such as affiliate links and sponsored posts that generate backlinks in bulk are not low authority.

Be sure to check out Google's guidelines on how to qualify links to improve your backlinking strategy.


July 2021 — Core Update

Google confirmed the July 2021 Core Update began its rollout on July 1, 2021. Google has been light on specifics around the criteria for this update.


June 2021 — Page Experience Update

As page experience continues to be the focus of SEO trends in 2021, Google officially announced the rollout of the Page Experience Update on June 25, 2021. Originally announced in April, this update focused heavily on both traditional organic listings and Google News results. 


July 2021 — Core Update

Google confirmed the July 2021 Core Update began its rollout on July 1, 2021. Google has been light on specifics around the criteria for this update.


April 2021 — Product Reviews Update

Google announced an English-only update designed to reward in-depth, well-researched review content over "spammy" summary articles that fail to go in-depth about the products and services they are reviewing. Some of their content recommendations included:

  • Express expert knowledge about products where appropriate.
  • Show what the product is like physically, or how it is used, with unique content beyond what’s provided by the manufacturer.
  • Provide quantitative measurements about how a product measures up in various categories of performance.
  • Explain what sets a product apart from its competitors.
  • Cover comparable products to consider, or explain which products might be best for certain uses or circumstances.
  • Discuss the benefits and drawbacks of a particular product, based on research into it.
  • Describe how a product has evolved from previous models or releases to provide improvements, address issues, or otherwise help users in making a purchase decision.
  • Identify key decision-making factors for the product's category and how the product performs in those areas
  • Describe key choices in how a product has been designed and their effect on the users beyond what the manufacturer says.

February 2021 — Passage Indexing Update (English/US)

Google introduced an update that enhacnes the algorithm's ability to understand the relevancy of specific passages within textual content. By understanding, grouping and ranking passages within a page, Google is able to present what it calls "needle-in-a-haystack information" directly on the SERP. This feature will continue to roll out in various regions and languages following the initial US/English release.

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