The Evolution of SEO: Timeline

📗SEO Resource
Last updated
Jan 20, 2023 6:13 AM


  • 2022: Ongoing rapid growth of artificial intelligence (AI), especially AI content generation, is having a significant and unpredictable impact on the field of SEO. Arguments for quality over quantity are becoming even stronger with search engines prioritizing high-quality backlinks and long-form content to benefit search interests of people.
  • 2022: Google introduces Helpful Content Update, the main purpose of which is to make content more helpful and reward good-quallity, original content while reducing unhelpful content at the same time.
  • 2021: Google releases Link Spam update and Spam update, which made its algorithms more powerful at identifying and neutralizing spammmy links.
  • 2021: Google rolls out the "Page Experience" update, which incorporates the Core Web Vitals metrics into the ranking algorithm and adds new signals to measure the user experience on websites.
  • 2020: Google rolls out the "Core Web Vitals" update, which focuses on improving the user experience by measuring the speed, security, and reliability of websites.
Source: web.dev


  • 2019: Google introduces the "BERT" (Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers) algorithm update, which is designed to better understand the context and meaning of words in a search query. This update has a significant impact on the way that search results are ranked, as it allows Google to more accurately understand the intent behind a search query.
  • 2018: The "Medic" update is released, which targets websites with low-quality or thin content, especially in the health and wellness industry. This update is designed to ensure that high-quality, informative websites are ranked more highly in search results. The main purpose was to enhance and improve the Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness (E-A-T) that is a part of Google’s Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines.
  • 2015: Google releases the “RankBrain” update, which helped Google to better understand the search intent of users, considering language and personal search history. Being a machine-learning system, RankBrain is extension of the Hummingbird algorithm. 🧠
  • 2015: Google introduces the "Mobilegeddon" algorithm update, which gives a boost to websites that are mobile-friendly. This update reflects the growing importance of mobile devices in the online world, as more and more people use their phones and tablets to access the internet.
  • 2014: Google released the “Pigeon” algorithm, which is aimed to increase the ranking of local listing in a search. It helps local and core search algorithms work together and provides the results based on the user location and the listing available in the local directory. 🕊️
  • 2013: Google introduces the "Hummingbird" algorithm, which is designed to better understand the meaning and context of search queries. This algorithm uses natural language processing (NLP) and allows Google to more accurately match search queries with relevant websites, even when the search terms are complex or use long-tail phrases.
  • 2012: Google rolls out the "Penguin" algorithm, which targets websites that use spammy or manipulative link-building tactics. This update helps to improve the quality of search results by penalizing websites that engage in unethical SEO practices. 🐧
  • 2011: The first version of Google's Panda” algorithm is released, which is designed to penalize low-quality or spammy websites. 🐼 This update has a significant impact on the way that search results are ranked, as it helps to ensure that high-quality websites are more visible in search results. Latest Panda update - July 2015.


  • 2010: Google releases the Caffeine update, which improved the way Google indexed and crawled websites allowing search engines to discover fresh content in a matter of seconds.
  • 2009: Google introduces the “Vince” algorithm update. This update gives advantage to brand websites in terms of search results. It is also called “Brand update” because it significantly boosted domain rankings of established brands, providing results in their favor even without best SEO practices.
  • 2006: Google approved and rolled out the “Big Daddy” update, which represented basically an upgrade of the previous Jagger algorithm. It was aimed to address the spam links issue even more and to penalize low-quality incoming and outbound links.
  • 2005: Google introduces the "nofollow" attribute, which allows webmasters to signal to search engines that certain links should not be followed or taken into account for ranking purposes. This helps to combat spam and manipulation in search results.
  • 2005: Google rolled out its next major algorithm, the “Jagger” update. In addition to verifying link quality against paid backlinks and unnatural link building, this update also extended the search options to new documents and file types.
  • 2003: Google releases the very first algorithm update, the “Florida” update. It changed the way Google assessed the value of backlinks, mostly affecting retail sites, which were taking advantage of spammy SEO tactics.
  • Early 2000s: Black hat SEO techniques, such as keyword stuffing and link farming, become widespread as webmasters try to game the system and improve their search rankings.


  • Late 1990s: Google is founded and quickly becomes the dominant search engine. The company's algorithm, PageRank, becomes the standard for ranking websites.
  • 1990s: The first search engines are developed, and webmasters begin to optimize their websites for better visibility in search results.