• Organic Search
    Navigating to the top of the Rankings

    The field of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is concerned with maximising the visibility and profitability of a website / online offering by making its listings appear more frequently and more prominently in the natural (left hand side) search results.

    Digital State (DS) has helped its clients to achieve top search rankings in hugely competitive fields and has developed a strong reputation for delivering results in the hardest of areas and this reputation is built on an adherence to the essential principle of search marketing – establishing relevant domain authority – and an experienced understanding of how to achieve that development in the eyes of search engines.

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As the single most important search engine in the World, it is understandable that we are mildly obsessed with Google – it defines the market place for millions of online businesses and when those definitions change, the businesses that pay most attention are in a position to react quickest.

Google adapts the algorithm by which it calculates search rankings well over 500 times each year – some of those changes makes no discernible difference to rankings but others – the major updates – can have a significant impact.

Our methodology is strongly linked to Google’s best practice and, as such, is aligned to these updates. Below is an abridged timeline of the iterations that the algorithm has been through since Google arrived on the scene – for more detailed analysis, please visit our resource section – these maintain an overview which allows us to reflect on the ongoing development of Google’s search philosophy, along with allowing you to incorporate those into analysis for future strategy.

If you think you’ve been affected by an algorithmic update but don’t know what to do or if you have any other queries that you’d like to talk through, please get in contact today for a no-obligation conversation with our experienced staff.

DATE ALGORITHM UPDATE NOTES
Oct-16 Penguin 4.0 Reversal of all previous penguin penalties.
Sept-16 Penguin 4.0 Bad links are devalued rather than penalized.
May-16 Mobile Friendly 2 Ranking signal boost to benefit mobile friendly sites.
Feb-16 AdWords Update Right column ads removed and top blocks added on commercial searches.
Oct-15 Rank-Brain Google announced machine learning a part of the algorithm.
July-15 Panda 4.2 Panda data refresh.
May-15 Quality Update Algorithm update impacting quality signals.
April-15 Mobile Update Mobile rankings would differ for mobile friendly sites.
Dec-14 Pigeon Expands Pigeon expanded to UK, Canada and Australia.
Dec-14 Penguin update Penguin shifted to continuous updates.
Oct-14 Pirate 2.0 Update to combat software and digital media piracy.
Oct-14 Penguin 3.0 Penguin refresh affecting less that 1% of English queries.
Oct-14 In the News box Display change to News-box results
Sept-14 Panda 4.1 Significant Panda update, 3-5% of queries affected.
August-14 Authorship Removed Google announced they would completely remove authorship markup.
August-14 HTTPS/SSL Update Google announced they would give preference to secure sites.
July-14 Pigeon Pigeon created closer ties between local algorithm and core algorithm, causing dramatic alterations to local search results.
June-28 Authorship Photo Drop Google dropped all authorship photos from SERPS.
June-14 Payday Loan 3.0 Official Statements suggested that 2.0 targeted specific sites while 3.0 targeted spammy queries.
may-14 Panda 4.0 Officially 7.5% of English-Language queries affected.
May-14 Payday Loan 2.0 Targets especially spammy queries.
Feb-14 Page Layout #3 Targeted sites with too many ads above the fold
Dec-13 Authorship Shake-up Sought to improve search quality by reducing authorship mark-ups in SERPs
Aug-13 Hummingbird An update to core algorithms and semantic search
Aug-13 In-depth Articles A new type of news result dedicated to fresher and more detailed content
Jun-13 “Payday Loan” Targeted spam results in SERPs
May-13 Domain Crowding Tackled domain crowding and promoted greater diversity of results in SERPs
Aug-12 DMCA Penalty Penalised repeat copyright infringements
May-12 Knowledge Graph A move towards semantic search
Apr-12 Penguin Targeted “webspam” techniques such as keyword stuffing
Feb-12 Venice Localised organic results integrated more tightly into SERPs
Jan-12 Page Layout #1 Devalued sites with too much ad-space
Jan-12 Search+ Your World Shift towards more personalisation of search
Nov-11 Panda 3 Continued to crack down on websites with poor quality content
Nov-11 SERP Freshness Promotes up-to-date results
Oct-11 Query Encryption Greater privacy when searching
Aug-11 Expanded Sidelinks 12-pack SERPs introduced
Jun-11 Google+ launch Promoted content sharing and integrated Gmail
Jun-11 Schema.org/Rich Snippet Sought to provide richer search results
Apr-11 Panda 2 Targeted thin content, content farms and ad-heavy pages
Mar-11 +1 Button Allowing users to influence search results
Feb-11 Panda/Farmer Sought to cracked down on poor content in a series of incremental updates
Jan-11 Attribution Helped stop spam and manage content attribution
Dec-10 Negative Reviews Targeted sites that receive negative reviews
Nov-10 Instant Previews Allowing users to preview pages from SERPs
Sep-10 Google Instant Displayed search result suggestions during query
Jun-10 Caffeine Rollout Infrastructural update boosting efficiency and indexing
May-10 May Day Targeted sites with poor content
Apr-10 Google Places Integrated more local results
Dec-09 Real-time Search Integrating a real-time feed into SERPs using newly indexed content
Feb-09 Vince Seemed to favour big brands in SERPs
Aug-08 Google Suggest Introduced search suggestions (precursor to Google Instant)
Apr-08 Dewey Shuffled listing criteria
Jun-07 Buffy Google simply refers to it as an accumulation of smaller changes
May-07 Universal Search Integrated traditional results with News, Images, Videos etc.
Nov-06 Supplemental SERP An indexing modification
Dec-05 Big Daddy Infrastructural update resolving technical issues
Oct-05 Jagger Targeted low-quality links, link farming etc.
Sep-05 Gilligan Indexing changes
Jun-05 Personalised Search Tapped into users search history
May-05 Bourbon Targeted duplicate content and low quality reciprocal links
Feb-05 Allegra Supposedly penalised suspicious links
Jan-05 Nofollow Targeted spam and helped control outbound link quality
Feb-04 Brandy Expanded the index and improved keyword analysis
Jan-04 Austin Targeted hidden text and meta-tag stuffing
Nov-03 Florida Emphasised content quality and penalised keyword stuffing
Sep-03 Supplemental Index Attempt to index more documents without losing performance
Jul-03 Fritz Known, collectively, as “Google Dance” – a series of monthly updates, most  of which sought to refresh the search index
Jun-03 Esmerelda
May-03 Dominic
Apr-03 Cassandra
Feb-03 Boston
Sep-02 First Documented Update A forerunner to Google Dance
Dec-00 Toolbar and Toolbar PageRank Enabling browsers to use Google from any page on the web