Google Updates from the Last Decade and How we Combatted their Effect ?

8 min read
Google algorithm updates

Sarkar SEO has been in the game since 2009, there have been mild to harsh google update hits but we have maintained a rock-solid brand authority and exponential growth rate throughout these years. Google never fails to surprise us with new updates year after year and the whole sole goal of these algorithmic updates is to make search better and easy for users. 

We understand google updates hence we always try to serve better to our customers and users looking out for relevant information.


There’s a reason Google is the world’s most popular search engine. And the reason for this is that it is continuously striving to improve itself. It accomplishes this, as should be evident by now, by introducing thousands of algorithmic changes. Google does this to better understand user intent, to understand human language and variations when entering a search query, to actively work towards providing better specific local and personalized search results, to judge the quality, authenticity, and authoritativeness of the cited content, and, finally, to provide similar search suggestions to its users.


When we first started, it was a rocky path but now we know how to fight back and survive these attacks from google and still be on top. We have followed the same protocols and practices for our clients, whenever there was a hurdle we were ready with a winning strategy and implementation to thrive and shine through the algorithmic update.


Since we started 12 years back, there have been many significant and small impact updates, let’s go through the journey once again and see how we successfully survived and won these google updates.

  1. January 18, 2009 – Vince Update

The Vince update was a quick, noticeable change in broad-level, competitive keyword terms to favor first-page rankings for big brand domains vs. previously ranking sites.


Our strategy 

Vince forced us to go beyond the website we were trying to shape into a ranking machine, and into “all things web,” where we built online experiences through social media, news, and resourceful content that consumers value.


  1. May Day Update – April 28, 2010

The May Day update improved the quality of search results for long-tail keywords, penalizing pages with duplicate or poor content. It changed how it ranked pages for these long-tail keywords, favoring original and valuable content rather than your business’s size.


Our Strategy 

  • We positioned long-tail keywords strategically and organically
  • More relevant content, less keyword stuffing 
  • We published more quality and search-focused content.


  1. Caffeine Update – June 8, 2010

The Caffeine update was all about providing the most up-to-date information by changing how Google found and stored data from websites. Google needed a new process of getting new content on their SERP to accommodate the rising internet usage.


Our strategy 

  • High speed, easy navigation & better user experience.
  • Blog often and consistently
  • Get involved in social media
  • Expand your brand to multiple platforms
  • Focus on linking-building strategies that will bring even more traffic to your site faster. Pair this with Caffeine’s fast indexing and your site will surely build authority.


  1. Panda Update – February 23, 2011

The Panda update aimed to improve search results by penalizing sites that had repetitive content and poor user metrics.

According to Moz.com, Panda has been changed 28 times since its launch in 2011. It is now embedded directly into Google’s Algorithm and most likely runs on machine learning data.


Our Strategy 

  • Get rid of duplicate or poor-quality content.

If you’ve got duplicate content on multiple pages on your site, either get rid of that content or rework it. That way, users still get the information they need without you having to delete an entire page on your site.

  • Create user-generated content

One huge problem for site owners vulnerable to Panda is to make sure your site content is not a copy from elsewhere online.

  • Ensure relevance & authority

Your pages should be a relevant match to a user’s query. Structure your data so that site visitors get what they’re looking for.


  1. Freshness Update – November 3, 2011

The Google Freshness algorithm update was a significant ranking change with numerous consequences for search engine success.

For specific search queries, Google’s Freshness Algorithm chooses to display to users the most recently updated and relevant content.


Older, out-of-date, high-ranking pages fall lower in SERPs to make room for pages with fewer views but more recent content.


Our Strategy 

Luckily, optimizing your site and content for Google Freshness is pretty simple. 

You can do the following: 

  • Update the time stamp on existing content. 
  • Publish new content on your site.

We advise that if you change the publication date of any piece of content, you always include some fresh stuff.


  1. Page Layout Update – January 19, 2012

The page layout algorithm updates specific websites that have an excessive number of static advertisements above the fold. Users would be forced to scroll down the page to see the content.


These changes only impacted people who had an abundance of ads to the point where user experience was poor, and it may benefit their site to reconsider their web design.


Our Strategy 

To ensure the audience is really into your content and does not get hampered or disturbed by your Ads placement, do a screen resolution test as the placement is different for mobile and screen users.


If your webpage is overloaded with above-the-fold ads, remove some, tweak some and let the magic happen. 


  1. Penguin Update – April 24, 2012

This was Google’s new effort to reward high-quality websites and diminish the search engine results page (SERP) presence of websites that engaged in manipulative link schemes and keyword stuffing.


Our Strategy 

  • The removal of any unnatural links over which you have control, including links you created or caused to be put on third-party websites.
  • The rejection of spammy links over which you have no influence.
  • The reworking of your website’s content to correct over-optimization, ensuring that keywords are used naturally rather than robotically, consistently, or meaninglessly on sites where there is no relationship between the topic and the keywords featured.


  1. Exact Match Domain Update – September 27, 2012

The Exact Match Domain update ends the free ride that EMDs had been enjoying. When Google ranks websites on their SERPs, they now consider more than just the domain name. Google’s crawlers now assess a site’s quality against their Quality Guidelines regardless of its domain name or whether it matches query keywords entered by Google’s users.


Our Strategy 

  • Optimize Your Content

Creating a site with poor content is one of the most infamous mistakes of previous EMDs. Builders were told that they didn’t need to put much effort into content creation because the site would rank well regardless of the domain name.


  • Quality link building

Building both internal and external links is an extremely effective technique to demonstrate your site’s authority. However, these connections must be relevant, and if external, they must come from reputable and trustworthy websites.


  1. Hummingbird Update – August 20, 2013

Hummingbird highlighted Google’s commitment to a more comprehensive understanding of searchers’ queries to match them to more relevant results. One of Hummingbird’s main purposes was to translate semantic search from a concept to reality — and one that would ultimately become the search standard. 


Our strategy 

  • Make use of keyword research tools.

It can be difficult to determine which keywords to add to your website. Using a keyword research tool will help you determine which phrases and keywords will bring your site the traffic you want: traffic that sells.


  • Prepare for voice search

With increasing, consumers using AI voice search systems such as Alexa, Siri, and Google Home, you must consider how to adjust your keywords to these technologies.


  • Optimize anchor text 

Optimize anchor text  Integrate keywords into your anchor text.


  1. Pigeon Update – July 24, 2014

This Google search algorithm update aimed to improve local search results by rewarding local companies with a strong organic presence with improved visibility in traditional search, similar to the prominence a business may have had before in Google Maps.


Our strategy 

  • Traditional SEO should be prioritized.

Do traditional SEO’s old-fashioned hard labor. Create links, produce content that goes above and beyond to provide your users with the greatest information possible, and employ keywords that your target audience is looking for.


  • Concentrate on the city or region-specific data.

Create photographs, videos, or textual content that connects you to a certain location, such as a city, state, or region. This increases your authority in local searches.


  1. Mobilegeddon Update – April 22, 2015

1) The update affects only mobile search results. This is a mobile-first update that will only affect mobile query results.


2) The change affects all languages. This is a worldwide rollout. 


3) The upgrade affects specific pages rather than entire websites. This may not be obvious at first, but it makes sense in the long run. Google indexes sites and searches based on intent, which stems from the page’s relevance.


Our strategy 

  • The importance of short, interesting headlines with clearly legible language cannot be overstated. Also, make sure the links are spaced far enough apart so that fingers don’t accidentally bump into the wrong one.
  • Make certain that the structure and presentation of your content do not force visitors to scroll down, down, down to get the majority of your content. Put your most important stuff at the top.
  • Include a call to action in your content. Mobile readers should not be required to thumb to the bottom of the page.


  1. RankBrain Update – October 26, 2015

The third most essential signal contributing to the search query is RankBrain update. An update that provides the best possible matched result based on the searcher’s intent. It is, without a doubt, a machine-learning artificial intelligence system that assists Google in understanding the meaning of inquiries. Google’s third most important ranking component is the RankBrain update.


Our strategy 

  • Comprehensive competitor research is essential before uploading relevant content that is understandable to viewers of all ages and demographics.


  • The RankBrain update ties the original and long query to the shorter one. As a result, allowing Google to deliver a common answer to all types of searches.


  1. Medic Update – August 1, 2018

It is one of the major core algorithm upgrades published by Google in 2018. The latest update, like all other Google incremental updates, has improved the search experience for users. According to an SEO expert, the Google Medic update impacted health-related websites the most.


Our strategy 

  • Display your website’s EAT: You must inform Google that your website contains high-quality and trustworthy content.


  • Improve your website’s and your authors’ reputations: Obtaining favorable media attention is one of the best strategies to promote a website and your authors’ reputation.


  • A thorough examination of the products you’re selling and their EAT: None of this will help you if the products you sell on your website are questionable, spammy, or dangerous.


  1. BERT Update – October 22, 2019


Google’s Hummingbird algorithm underwent the most recent significant modification in October 2019. The BERT Update improved Google’s natural language processing technology to better grasp search intent, after the Hummingbird and RankBrain upgrades.


Our strategies 

  • Continue to do what you do best: provide high-quality, relevant information.


  • Investigate the target keywords and include similar long-tail keywords.


  • Plan, strategize, and craft your content to suit the expectations of the reader.


  • Create highly targeted information on a given topic.


With these modest changes, you will be able to field conversational questions, which will serve as a stepping stone for Google BERT.


One of the most significant benefits of Google BERT is that it will drive relevant traffic to your website.


So here we are planning to strategize and optimize new strategies for different businesses to make the most out of these updates.



We are known in the industry because of the results we bring to the table. No matter the constantly changing algorithm, we have always kept our customers their customers above all of it and have generated sustainable results in whatever niche we work with.


These results can be yours, contact us for SEO guidance and support.