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The Most Famous Algorithm: Google’s Updates Throughout Its History

by Tug Agency | 28.11.2011
After the latest algorithm update was announced at the beginning of the month I decided to do a recap of the most important search updates throughout Google’s history.

Few imagined when Google launched its search engine back in 2000 that was it was going to be such a massive success! Eleven years later, the whole SEO world trembles every time they announce another change to its algorithm.

Google changes its algorithm very frequently (more than once a day, according to statistics), but usually, these are small changes and minor improvements that hardly affect the results. The ones that really matter are the changes that come with a “name”.

The first major change to its algorithm in September 2002 didn’t achieve the results they expected. It is not very clear what Google was trying to do, but for a couple weeks Google’s search results were full of errors and many users were being served 404 error pages results for very competitive keywords. Since then, all changes have been towards real improvement.


One of the key updates to its algorithm was called “Cassandra” back in 2003, which was the one that brought the golden rules of ranking in Google: the importance of linking to other pages and other pages linking to yours, META information and the importance of the navigation structure.  Later that same year “Florida” became the first blow for blackhat SEOs, punishing all the blackhat techniques that were used back then to achieve top results (saturation of meta tags, invisible text, etc).

Jagger and Caffeine

The next big algorithm change was in 2005 (Jagger), in order to penalize poor quality links. From then to 2010 Google have introduced more updates that have changed the search results page completely: the introduction and integration of pictures, videos and news to its results, Caffeine to give you the “fresher” content and real-time search.

Nevertheless, although these changes also affected SEO techniques, which needed to be updated, the last big change did not arrive until early 2011.


Panda introduced a change that affects 12% of the results and penalises poor quality content, dropping sites with lots of publicity and rewarding news sites and social networks. It received many critics because in some cases it ranked content aggregators over the pages with original content.

The changes at the beginning of November, aim to improve the freshness and relevance of the results, Which will affect 35% of the results.