Current Timeline of Google Algorithm Changes

February 14, 2024 | By: LaneTerralever | 6 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 volatile 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...


2023 Updates

November 8, 2023 — Reviews Update

Dates: November 8, 2023 ~ December 7, 2023

  • This is the final standalone Reviews system update, as announcements will no longer be made and updates will occur continuously and on an ongoing rate. This update began just 6 days after the November Core Update started rolling out.
  • The Reviews System is a group of algorithms that produce search results with the purpose of ranking people-first content.

November 2, 2023 — Core Update

Dates: November 2, 2023 ~ November 28, 2023

  • The November Core update is the fourth Core Update of 2023 and is designed to improve the relevance and quality of search results. This update comes only one month after the last Core Update in October.
  • This update started off quickly and created heavy volatility in the SERPs, moreso than previous updates.

October 5, 2023 — Core Update

Dates: October 5, 2023 ~ October 20, 2023

  • The October Core update was the third Core Update of 2023 and sites across all industries saw large ranges of volatility.
  • This update also came just one day after the Spam Update began rolling out, which may have attributed changes seen during this time.

October 4, 2023 — Spam Update

Dates: October 5, 2023 ~ October 20, 2023

  • The October Spam update was aimed at improving Google's "coverage in many language and spam types."
  • It occured about a year after the last Spam Update in October 2022, and mainly affected sites primarly in Turkish, Vietnamese, Indonesian, Hindi, and Chinese languages, amoung others.

September 14, 2023 — Helpful Content Update

Dates: Sept. 14, 2023 ~ Sept. 28, 2023

  • This Helpful Content update was one of the more significant updates we've seen recently. Many sites within the SEO niche and designed to rank well in search engines saw a negative impact, while content created with "people-first" in mind saw less of a drop.
  • Google published some guidelines for what to do if your site was negatively impacted.

August 22, 2023 — Core Update

Dates: August 22, 2023 ~ September 7, 2023

  • This was the second Core Update of 2023, and saw a higher volatility rating than more recent updates, reaching a 9.3 on Semrush's volatility scale whereas the April Core update only reached 8.
  • Google updated their Search Central documentation to note that it now indexes CSV files.

April 12, 2023 — Reviews Update

Dates: April 12, 2023 ~ April 25, 2023

  • 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.
  • Include links to multiple sellers to give the reader the option to purchase from their merchant of choice.

March 15, 2023 — Core Update

Dates: March 15, 2023 ~ March 28, 2023

  • This update was quite impactful compared to previous core updates - Semrush reported 8 in terms of data volatility, compared to Sept. 2022 which only reached 5, however it matched the intensity of Sept. 2022's core update.
  • Include links to multiple sellers to give the reader the option to purchase from their merchant of choice.

February 21, 2023 — Product Reviews Update

Dates: February 21, 2023 ~ March 7, 2023

  • similar to past product reviews update in Sept. 2022 but more widespread and impacting multiple languages (Spanish, German, French, Italian, Vietnamese, Indonesian, Russian, Dutch, Portuguese, Polish). Seems to focus heavily on intent and evaluating the product from a user's perspective, offering more valuable information than something you'd find on a user's manual.
  • Include links to multiple sellers to give the reader the option to purchase from their merchant of choice.

2022 Updates

December 14, 2022 — Link Spam Update

Dates: December 14, 2022 ~ January 12, 2023

  • This update targeted spammy links and neutralized any unnatural links that might have been passed. However, the difference between this link spam update is that it used SpamBrain AI to detect sites buying links and ones used for the purpose of passing outgoing links.
  • This is an ongoing trend from Googles updates to target spammy links because they mentioned in their Spam Trends that auto-generated and screped content "are often deceptive and offer no real value to people.

December 5, 2022 — Helpful Content Update

Dates: December 5, 2022 ~ January 12, 2023

  • The August 2022-Helpful Content Update continuation to now improve globally to all languages and added new signals to its classifier. This can now help Google find more forms of low-quality content created twoards search engines.
  • Include links to multiple sellers to give the reader the option to purchase from their merchant of choice.

November 11, 2022 — Help Documentation Update

Google added a new "note" to their documentations stating that links that are visible generated by JavaScript can be crawled by Google.

  • They explained, "Note that links are also crawlable when you use JavaScript to insert them into a page dynamically as long as it uses the markup."
  • This make its quicker and easier to help documentation with links produced through JavaScript.

October 19, 2022 — Spam Update

Dates: October 19, 2022 ~ October 21, 2022

  • Google updated its systems to detect search spam and this update affected all languages, globally. It took under 48 hours to fully roll out and it was not specified if the update was primarly focused on links, content, or other forms.
  • For information on what Google identifies as spam, it can be located in the new Google Search Essentials.

September 20, 2022 — Product Reviews Update

Dates: September 20, 2022 ~ September 26, 2022

  • The fifth Product Reviews Update completely rolled out over the course of september and concluded Sept. 26. There was very little informaiton on what this update had changed, but the most notable impact was English-Language Google reviews that were positive and favorited products had an increase in ranking.

September 12, 2022 — Core Update

Dates: September 12, 2022 ~ September 26, 2022

  • The second core update of 2022 launched only a few days after the content update finished rolling out. It was not as impactful as the first core update this year. During and after these core updates andn launches, its important to start digging into your analytics to see if there has been lost visibility or ranks to improve for the future updates..
  • Include links to multiple sellers to give the reader the option to purchase from their merchant of choice.

August 25, 2022 — Helpful Content Update

Dates: August 25, 2022 ~ September 9, 2022

  • This helpful content update was made to reward content that is created to inform and help people rather than content created that is purely written for search engines and for SEO purposes. The impact was relatively small but it helped to ensure people are building human-first content.
  • This update is a sitewide signal - meaning that it targets websites with a decently high amount of unsatisfying or unhelpful content, where it's written for search engines first rather than for users.

July 27, 2022 — Product Reviews Update

Dates: July 27, 2022 ~ August 2, 2022

  • This Product Reviews Update rolled out just a few short weeks after the May PRU. However, this update was minor and the impacts were less than what was seen during the previous updates. Google estimated 2-3 weeks for this update to completely roll out, but it clearly only took 6 days.

May 25, 2022 — Core Update

Dates: May 25, 2022 ~ June 9, 2022

  • The most impacted industries from Semrush's Rank Volatility Change Comparison were: real estate, pets and animals, travel, and health. However, there is no real indication that this broad update targeted specific industries or if these industries were impacted more heavily due to types of content within that vertical.
  • Additionally, many AI content generator sites were impacted by this update with large drops in traffic. As a reminder, Google confirms that AI-generated content is only against its guidelines when it's used with the intention of manipulating the SERPs.

March 23, 2022 — Product Reviews Update

Dates: March 23, 2022 ~ April 11, 2022

  • Following December 2022's PRU, this month they've updated the product reviews and enhanced the ability to find high quality reviews to recommend products or services to users. This will make it easier for users purchasing advice and reward creators who have highly likeable products or services.
  • The reviews should contain: pros and cons, how products compare to earlier versions, real people reviewing the product, comparison to other products, or unique information on what makes it different.

February 22, 2022 — Page Experience Update

Dates: February 22, 2022 ~ March 3, 2022

  • Since Google updated their page experience for mobile in June 2021, this month's biggest change was applying those same standards to desktop sites. The page experience for desktop sites focused on Core Web Vitals for the sites loading, interactivity, and visual stability.

January 31, 2022 — Google Search Console URL Inspection API

Google launched a brand new Google Search Counsole URL Inspection API to complement the existing Search Console API. It will allow SEOs to access URL data for domains that are being managed in Search Console, such as index status, AMP, rich results, and mobile usability.

  • This new API will help debug apps and enhance pages for better crawling and indexation.

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