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Timeline of Google Search

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| 2007 || June || Search algorithm update || The ''Buffy'' update happens. It is not considered a deliberate update, but rather an accumulation of many smaller changes.<ref name=moz/><ref>{{cite web|url=|last = Cutts|first = Matt|title = SMX Seattle wrap-up|authorlink = Matt Cutts|date = June 17, 2007|accessdate = February 2, 2014}}</ref><ref>{{cite web|url=|title = Google "Buffy" Update - June Update|date = June 18, 2007|accessdate = February 2, 2014|last = Schwartz|first = Barry|authorlink = Barry Schwartz (technologist)|publisher = [[wikipedia:Search Engine Roundtable|Search Engine Roundtable]]}}</ref>
| 2008 || March 14 || Transparency (quality raters guidelines) || For the first time on record, Google's quality raters guidelines are leaked.<ref>{{cite web|url =|title = The Google Quality Raters Handbook|date = March 14, 2008|accessdate = January 20, 2019|last = Schwartz|first = Barry}}</ref> Updated versions of the guidelines would continue to be leaked for several years until Google finally decides to make the guidelines publicly available in November 2015.<ref name=qrg-release/>
| 2008 || March/April || Search algorithm update || The ''Dewey'' update seems to lead to a large-scale shuffling of results. Some observers believe that Google is pushing its own properties, such as [[wikipedia:Google Books|Google Books]], but evidence of this is limited.<ref name=moz/><ref>{{cite web|url=|title = Google's Cutts Asking for Feedback on March/April '08 Update (The "Dewey" Update)|last = Schwartz|first = Barry|authorlink = Barry Schwartz (technologist)|date = April 2, 2008|accessdate = February 2, 2014|publisher = [[wikipedia:Search Engine Roundtable|Search Engine Roundtable]]}}</ref>
| 2013 || May 22 || Search algorithm update || Google rolls out a new version of [[wikipedia:Google Penguin|Google Penguin]] that it calls Penguin 2.0, which SEO commentators call Penguin #4.<ref>{{cite web|url=|title = Penguin 4, With Penguin 2.0 Generation Spam-Fighting, Is Now Live|last = Schwartz|first = Barry|authorlink = Barry Schwartz (technologist)|date = May 22, 2013|accessdate = February 2, 2014|publisher = [[wikipedia:Search Engine Land|Search Engine Land]]}}</ref><ref>{{cite web|url=|title = Penguin 2.0/4 - Were You Jarred and/or Jolted?|date = May 24, 2013|accessdate = February 2, 2014|last = Meyers|first = Peter|publisher = [[wikipedia:Moz (marketing company)|Moz]]}}</ref>
| 2013 || July (or earlier) || Search algorithm update || "Answer boxes" (an early name for featured snippets) are spotted and discussed by SEO experts. These build upon Google's knowledge graph capabilities, to show a box containing the key "answer" to the search query, usually right above the search results. These are distinct from the knowledge graph cards (also known as knowledge cards or knowledge panels) that appear on the right.<ref>{{cite web|url =|title = 101 Google Answer Boxes: A Journey into the Knowledge Graph|last = Meyers|first = Peter J.|publisher = SEOMoz|date = August 8, 2013|accessdate = January 20, 2019}}</ref>
| 2013 || August 6 || User experience || Google adds a new feature called "in-depth articles" in its search results to feature long-form content of long-lasting value.<ref name=moz/><ref>{{cite web|url=|title = In-depth articles in search results|publisher = Google Webmaster Central Blog|date = August 6, 2013|accessdate = February 2, 2014|last = Nayak|first = Pandu}}</ref><ref>{{cite web|url=|title = Inside In-depth Articles: Dissecting Google's Latest Feature|last = Meyers|first = Peter|date = August 13, 2013|accessdate = February 2, 2014|publisher = [[wikipedia:Moz (marketing company)|Moz]]}}</ref>
| 2014 || December 22 || Search algorithm update || [[wikipedia:Google Pigeon|Google Pigeon]], the local search algorithm update, is rolled out to the [[wikipedia:United Kingdom|United Kingdom]], [[wikipedia:Canada|Canada]], and [[wikipedia:Australia|Australia]].<ref name=moz/><ref>{{cite web|url=|title = Google Pigeon Update Rolls Out To UK, Canada & Australia. Google's new local ranking algorithm that launched in the US earlier this year has rolled out to the UK, Canada and Australia.|last = Schwartz|first = Barry|date = December 22, 2014|accessdate = April 12, 2015}}</ref>
| 2015 || February 4 || Search algorithm update || Many Direct action links and expanded text in answer boxes are spotted for searches for content beyond Google's own documentation (in November 2014, these had been spotted but only for Google's own documentation).<ref>{{cite web|url =|title = Google Answers Now Showing Blue Icons Linking To Publisher Sites Or More Google Answers. Google Answers now shows action links directing to publishers sites. This was done previous for easter eggs and Google's own content but now it works for third-party publishers.|date = February 4, 2015|accessdate = January 20, 2019|publisher = Search Engine Land}}</ref> This leads to further discussion around optimizing for one's content to show up in the answer box.<ref>{{cite web|url =|title = Optimizing For The Google Quick Answers Box. Columnist Jim Yu of BrightEdge and Kirill Kronrod of Adobe share tips for getting your content featured in Google's Quick Answer box.|last = Yu|first = Jim|date = February 24, 2015|accessdate = January 20, 2019}}</ref> Possibly related: many independent sources report significant fluctuations in Google Search results, but Google does not officially confirm any changes.<ref name=moz/><ref>{{cite web|url=|title = Significant Google Search Algorithm Update Yesterday|last = Schwartz|first= Barry|publisher = Search Engine Roundtable|date = February 5, 2015|accessdate = April 12, 2015}}</ref>
| 2015 || April 21 (pre-announced February 26) || User experience, search algorithm update (mobile usability) || On January 19, 2015, Google sends emails to webmasters about mobile usability issues on the websites, leading people to speculate that a major mobile usability update for search rankings is underway.<ref>{{cite web|url=|title = Google Sending Mobile Usability Warnings To Huge Number Of Webmasters. Google sending notifications to webmasters with sites that are not mobile friendly. Is this a sign of a new mobile algorithm coming soon?|last = Schwartz|first = Barry|date = January 19, 2015|accessdate = April 12, 2015|publisher = [[wikipedia:Search Engine Land|Search Engine Land]]}}</ref> On February 26, 2015, Google announces that demotion of mobile-unfriendly sites for searches on mobile devices will commence on April 21, 2015.<ref>{{cite web|url=|title = Finding more mobile-friendly search results|date = February 26, 2015|accessdate = April 12, 2015|publisher = Google Webmaster Central|last = Makino|first = Takaki|last2 = Jung| first2 = Chaesang | last3 = Phan | first3 = Doantam}}</ref><ref>{{cite web|url=|title = New Google "Mobile Friendly" Algorithm To Reward Sites Beginning April 21. Google's mobile ranking algorithm will officially include mobile-friendly usability factors and app indexing. Making sure your site is mobile-friendly is now more important than ever.|last = Schwartz|first = Barry|date = February 26, 2015|accessdate = April 12, 2015|publisher = [[wikipedia:Search Engine Land|Search Engine Land]]}}</ref><ref>{{cite web|url=|title = Google’s Mobile Algorithm Update is Coming April 21. Are you Prepared?|last = O'Donnell|first = Jody|last2 = Scott|first2 = Laura|date = April 10, 2015|accessdate = April 12, 2015|publisher = RKGBlog}}</ref><ref>{{cite web|url=|title = Gearing up for Google’s Mobile SEO Update on the 21st April 2015|last = Llewellyn|first = Gavin|date = April 9, 2015|accessdate = April 12, 2015|publisher = Smart Insights}}</ref>
| 2015 || October 26 || Search algorithm update (announcement/confirmation) || Google announces that [[wikipedia:RankBrain|RankBrain]], a [[wikipedia:machine learning|machine learning]]-based engine (using [[wikipedia:neural network|neural network]]s), has been the third most influential factor in its search rankings for the last few months. The actual rollout date is not confirmed, but commentators pin the launch time to Spring 2015. It is most useful for new search queries, that account for about 15% of search queries.<ref name=moz/><ref>{{cite web|url =|title = Google Turning Its Lucrative Web Search Over to AI Machines|publisher = ''[[wikipedia:Bloomberg News|Bloomberg News]]''|date = October 26, 2015|accessdate = September 12, 2016|last = Clark|first = Jack}}</ref><ref>{{cite web|url =|title = Artificial intelligence is changing SEO faster than you think|last = Rampton|first = John|date = June 4, 2016|accessdate = September 12, 2016}}</ref>
| 2015 || November 19 || Transparency (quality raters guidelines) || Google releases the full versions of its search quality raters guidelines (QRG), a 160-page-long handbook that it previously only gave human evaluators to rate websites. The guidelines help websites understand what qualities Google Search would like to see in websites, although ratings made by raters based on these guidelines do not directly change search engine rankings. The release follows a leak in October 2015 of the same guidelines<ref name=qrg-release>{{cite web|url =|title = Google Releases The Full Version Of Their Search Quality Rating Guidelines. For the first time, Google has released the full version of its Search Quality Raters guidelines and handbook. It is 160 pages of wonderful SEO knowledge.|date = November 19, 2015|accessdate = January 20, 2019|publisher = Search Engine Land}}</ref> Two important pieces of jargon that gain currency in the SEO world due to these guidelines are: YMYL (your money or your life), a term for websites that offer information or allow people to take actions that have the potential to negatively impact the end user's health and wealth (examples include sites related to e-commerce, financial advice, medical advice, and legal advice), and E-A-T (expertise, authoritativeness, and trust), factors that are important to Google Search for ranking sites, and even more important for YMYL sites.<ref>{{cite web|url =|title = 30+ Important Takeaways from Google's Search Quality Rater's Guidelines|last = Slegg|first = Jennifer|date = November 25, 2015|accessdate = January 20, 2019|publisher = SEOMoz}}</ref>
| 2016 || February 3 || Team || [[wikipedia:Amit Singhal|Amit Singhal]] steps down from his position as Vice President of Search at Google after 15 years in that role. He is replaced by John Giannandrea who works in artificial intelligence at Alphabet, Google's parent company.<ref>{{cite web|url =|title = Amit Singhal, an Influential Engineer at Google, Will Retire|last = Hardy|first = Quentin|date = February 3, 2016|accessdate = September 12, 2016}}</ref><ref>{{cite web|url =|title = Amit Singhal, The Head Of Google Search, To Leave The Company For Philanthropic Purposes. After 15 years, Google's head of search, Amit Singhal, is leaving the company.|last = Schwartz|first = Barry|publisher = [[wikipedia:Search Engine Land|Search Engine Land]]|date = February 3, 2016|accessdate = September 12, 2016}}</ref>
| 2016 || September 1 || Search algorithm update || SEO commentators note massive changes to the algorithm for local searches, the biggest since Pigeon. The update is labeled ''Possum'', indicating that some business listings have been filtered rather than actually disappearing. This is attributed to an updated, smarter deduplication algorithm, finer geolocation-awareness, and more decoupling of algorithms used for local search results from the main search results.<ref name=moz/><ref>{{cite web|url =|title = Everything you need to know about Google’s ‘Possum’ algorithm update. Wondering what's up with local search rankings lately? Columnist Joy Hawkins has the scoop on a recent local algorithm update that local SEO experts are calling 'Possum.'|last = Hawkins|first = Joy|date = September 21, 2016|accessdate = May 1, 2017|publisher = Search Engine Land}}</ref> The implications of Possum on local SEO would be discussed for months to come.<ref name=possum-nov-update>{{cite web|url =|title = Study shows Google’s Possum update changed 64% of local SERPs. How significantly did the Possum update impact local search results in Google? Columnist Joy Hawkins shares data and insights from a study she did with BrightLocal, which compared local results before and after the update.|last = Hawkins|first = Joy|publisher = Search Engine Land|date = November 3, 2016|accessdate = May 1, 2017}}</ref><ref name=possum-inc>{{cite web|url =|title = Google's Possum Update, How It Rocked Local SEO Rankings. The is one of the biggest Google updates to rock the local SEO rankings in a long time. What you need to know.|last = Lincoln|first = John|date = October 26, 2016|publisher = ''[[wikipedia:Inc. (magazine)|Inc.]]''}}</ref><ref>{{cite web|url =|title = How SEO Has Changed with the Possum Update|last = Patel|first = Neil|date = January 25, 2017|accessdate = May 1, 2017|publisher = Quick Sprout}}</ref>
| 2016 || September 23 || Search algorithm update || Google announces a Penguin update, and says that Penguin is now part of Google's core ranking algorithm. Commentators dub this Penguin 4.0.<ref name=moz/><ref>{{cite web|url =|title = Penguin is now part of our core algorithm|publisher = Google Webmaster Central Blog|date = September 23, 2016|accessdate = May 1, 2017}}</ref><ref>{{cite web|url =|title = Google updates Penguin, says it now runs in real time within the core search algorithm. The latest announced release, Penguin 4.0, will also be the last, given its new real-time nature.|publisher = Search Engine Land|last = Schwartz|first = Barry|date = September 23, 2016|accessdate = May 1, 2017}}</ref> SEOMOz identifies likely dates for phase 1 and phase 2 rollouts as September 27 and October 6.<ref name=moz/>|-| 2017 || January 10 || Search algorithm update || Google announces that it will crack down on intrusive interstitials on mobile web pages, such as popups that cover the main content, standalone interstitials that the user has to dismiss, and above-the-fold content that looks like an interstitial.<ref name=moz/><ref>{{cite web|url =|title = Official: Google Intrusive Interstitials Mobile Penalty Now Rolling Out|date = January 11, 2017|accessdate = January 20, 2019|publisher = Search Engine Roundtable}}</ref> The plan to introduce this penalty was announced in August 2016.<ref name=searchengineland-interstitial>{{cite web|url =|title = Google warns it will crack down on “intrusive interstitials” in January. Google will reinforce its emphasis on the mobile search experience with a new penalty affecting "intrusive interstitials" on mobile web pages.|last = Schwartz|first = Barry|date = August 23, 2016|publisher = Search Engine Land|accessdate = January 20, 2019}}</ref>|-| 2017 || April 25 || Search algorithm update || Google announces quality improvements to search and more direct feedback options for users for search results and Featured Snippets (the new, official name for what the SEO community had previously called "answer boxes").<ref>{{cite web|url =|title = Our latest quality improvements for Search|date = April 25, 2017|last = Gomes|first = Ben}}</ref>|-| 2017 || late October and November || Search algorithm update || Search engine trackers notice a decrease in the percentage of search queries showing featured snippets from ~16% to ~14%, after a mostly steady increase for two years. This is also accompanied by an increase in the percentage of knowledge panels, mostly for the same queries.<ref name=moz/><ref>{{cite web|url =|title = Knowledge Graph Eats Featured Snippets, Jumps +30%|last = Meyers|first = Peter J.|date = November 27, 2017|accessdate = January 20, 2019}}</ref><ref>{{cite web|url =|title = Is the featured snippet bubble bursting? What's going on with featured snippets? Columnists Brian Patterson and Chris Long share data which suggests that Google may be testing a reduction in SERP answer boxes.|last = Patterson|first = Brian|date = November 20, 2017|accessdate = January 20, 2019}}</ref>|-| 2017 || December 1 || Search algorithm update || Google increases the length of the snippets it includes for each search result.<ref name=moz/><ref>{{cite web|url =|title = Google officially increases length of snippets in search results. Company says change is meant to provide more descriptive snippets.|date = December 1, 2017|accessdate = January 20, 2019|publisher = Search Engine Land|last = Schwartz|first = Barry}}</ref>
==See also==
* [[wikipedia:Timeline of web search engines|Timeline of web search engines]]
{{Google Inc.}}
[[wikipedia:Category:Google Search|Category:Google Search]]
[[wikipedia:Category:Computing timelines|Google Search]]
[[wikipedia:Category:History of the Internet|Google Search]]

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