Google Algorithm Updates StatisticsGoogle is rolling out hundreds of search algorithm updates each year.

Most of the time we don’t even feel it.

However, a small proportion of them has a much greater impact.

Some sites are enjoying increased traffic, while others are losing everything.

Naturally, the question arises:

Are there any trends when there’s the highest chance to face the Google search algorithm update?

That’s what this analysis will try to answer.

Summary of Findings

  • To date, there were identified over 130 major Google search algorithm updates that have been either officially reported by Google itself or noticed by the SEO community.
  • Since 2011, Google is rolling out an average of 11 major search algorithm updates per year.
  • The most Google search algorithm updates happen in May, while the least – in March.
  • Most Google search algorithm updates are released on Tuesdays.
  • Least Google search algorithm updates are rolled out in the first quarter of the year, while the second is the most active one.
  • The highest number of Google search algorithm updates were rolled out on the 27th day of the month.
  • The most common day of the year when Google algorithm updates are rolled out is September 27th.

How the Data Has Been Collected

The used data was from Moz and Search Engine Journal Search Algorithm Update History pages.

However, keep in mind that in this analysis there were included only those updates that had a significant impact on Google search rankings (for example, official updates confirmed by Google and unnamed updates causing heavy ranking fluxes).

Events like XML sitemap or canonical tag introduction haven’t been counted.

Google Search Algorithm Update History

Update Year Month Day Weekday Exact Date Date
Google Toolbar 2000 Dec 1 Friday 01/12/2000 12/01
1st Documented Update 2002 Sep 1 Sunday 01/09/2002 09/01
Boston 2003 Feb 1 Saturday 01/02/2003 02/01
Cassandra 2003 Apr 1 Tuesday 01/04/2003 04/01
Dominic 2003 May 1 Thursday 01/05/2003 05/01
Esmeralda 2003 Jun 1 Sunday 01/06/2003 06/01
Fritz 2003 Jul 1 Tuesday 01/07/2003 07/01
Supplemental Index 2003 Sep 1 Monday 01/09/2003 09/01
Florida 2003 Nov 1 Saturday 01/11/2003 11/01
Austin 2004 Jan 1 Thursday 01/01/2004 01/01
Brandy 2004 Feb 1 Sunday 01/02/2004 02/01
Allegra 2005 Feb 1 Tuesday 01/02/2005 02/01
Bourbon 2005 May 1 Sunday 01/05/2005 05/01
Personalized Search 2005 Jun 1 Wednesday 01/06/2005 06/01
Gilligan 2005 Sep 1 Thursday 01/09/2005 09/01
Jagger 2005 Oct 1 Saturday 01/10/2005 10/01
Big Daddy 2005 Dec 1 Thursday 01/12/2005 12/01
Supplemental Update 2006 Nov 1 Wednesday 01/11/2006 11/01
False Alarm 2006 Dec 1 Friday 01/12/2006 12/01
Universal Search 2007 May 1 Tuesday 01/05/2007 05/01
Buffy 2007 Jun 1 Friday 01/06/2007 06/01
Dewey 2008 Apr 1 Tuesday 01/04/2008 04/01
Vince 2009 Feb 1 Sunday 01/02/2009 02/01
Caffeine (Preview) 2009 Aug 1 Saturday 01/08/2009 08/01
May Day 2010 May 1 Saturday 01/05/2010 05/01
Caffeine (Rollout) 2010 Jun 1 Tuesday 01/06/2010 06/01
Brand Update 2010 Aug 1 Sunday 01/08/2010 08/01
Negative Reviews 2010 Dec 1 Wednesday 01/12/2010 12/01
Attribution Update 2011 Jan 28 Friday 28/01/2011 01/28
Panda/Farmer 2011 Feb 23 Wednesday 23/02/2011 02/23
Panda 2.0 (#2) 2011 Apr 11 Monday 11/04/2011 04/11
Panda 2.1 (#3) 2011 May 9 Monday 09/05/2011 05/09
Panda 2.2 (#4) 2011 Jun 21 Tuesday 21/06/2011 06/21
Panda 2.3 (#5) 2011 Jul 23 Saturday 23/07/2011 07/23
Panda 2.4 (#6) 2011 Aug 12 Friday 12/08/2011 08/12
Panda 2.5 (#7) 2011 Sep 28 Wednesday 28/09/2011 09/28
Panda "Flux" (#8) 2011 Oct 5 Wednesday 05/10/2011 10/05
Freshness Update 2011 Nov 3 Thursday 03/11/2011 11/03
Panda 3.1 (#9) 2011 Nov 18 Friday 18/11/2011 11/18
January 30-Pack 2012 Jan 5 Thursday 05/01/2012 01/05
Search + Your World 2012 Jan 10 Tuesday 10/01/2012 01/10
Panda 3.2 (#10) 2012 Jan 18 Wednesday 18/01/2012 01/18
Ads Above The Fold 2012 Jan 19 Thursday 19/01/2012 01/19
Venice 2012 Feb 27 Monday 27/02/2012 02/27
Panda 3.3 (#11) 2012 Feb 27 Monday 27/02/2012 02/27
Panda 3.4 (#12) 2012 Mar 23 Friday 23/03/2012 03/23
Panda 3.5 (#13) 2012 Apr 19 Thursday 19/04/2012 04/19
Penguin 2012 Apr 24 Tuesday 24/04/2012 04/24
Panda 3.6 (#14) 2012 Apr 27 Friday 27/04/2012 04/27
Penguin 1.1 (#2) 2012 May 25 Friday 25/05/2012 05/25
Panda 3.7 (#15) 2012 Jun 8 Friday 08/06/2012 06/08
Panda 3.8 (#16) 2012 Jun 25 Monday 25/06/2012 06/25
Panda 3.9 (#17) 2012 Jul 24 Tuesday 24/07/2012 07/24
DMCA Penalty ("Pirate") 2012 Aug 10 Friday 10/08/2012 08/10
Panda 3.9.1 (#18) 2012 Aug 20 Monday 20/08/2012 08/20
Panda 3.9.2 (#19) 2012 Sep 18 Tuesday 18/09/2012 09/18
Panda #20 2012 Sep 27 Thursday 27/09/2012 09/27
Exact-Match Domain (EMD) Update 2012 Sep 27 Thursday 27/09/2012 09/27
Penguin #3 2012 Oct 5 Friday 05/10/2012 10/05
Page Layout #2 2012 Oct 9 Tuesday 09/10/2012 10/09
Panda #21 2012 Nov 5 Monday 05/11/2012 11/05
Panda #22 2012 Nov 21 Wednesday 21/11/2012 11/21
Panda #23 2012 Dec 21 Friday 21/12/2012 12/21
Panda #24 2013 Jan 22 Tuesday 22/01/2013 01/22
Panda #25 2013 Mar 14 Thursday 14/03/2013 03/14
"Phantom" 2013 May 9 Thursday 09/05/2013 05/09
Domain Crowding 2013 May 21 Tuesday 21/05/2013 05/21
Penguin 2.0 (#4) 2013 May 22 Wednesday 22/05/2013 05/22
"Payday Loan" Update 2013 Jun 11 Tuesday 11/06/2013 06/11
Panda Dance 2013 Jun 11 Tuesday 11/06/2013 06/11
Panda Recovery 2013 Jul 18 Thursday 18/07/2013 07/18
Unnamed Update 2013 Jul 26 Friday 26/07/2013 07/26
Hummingbird 2013 Aug 20 Tuesday 20/08/2013 08/20
Penguin 2.1 (#5) 2013 Oct 4 Friday 04/10/2013 10/04
Unnamed Update 2013 Nov 14 Thursday 14/11/2013 11/14
Unnamed Update 2013 Dec 17 Tuesday 17/12/2013 12/17
Page Layout #3 2014 Feb 6 Thursday 06/02/2014 02/06
Unnamed Update 2014 Mar 24 Monday 24/03/2014 03/24
Payday Loan 2.0 2014 May 16 Friday 16/05/2014 05/16
Panda 4.0 (#26) 2014 May 19 Monday 19/05/2014 05/19
Payday Loan 3.0 2014 Jun 12 Thursday 12/06/2014 06/12
Pigeon 2014 Jul 24 Thursday 24/07/2014 07/24
Panda 4.1 (#27) 2014 Sep 23 Tuesday 23/09/2014 09/23
"In The News" Box 2014 Oct 1 Wednesday 01/10/2014 10/01
Penguin 3.0 2014 Oct 17 Friday 17/10/2014 10/17
Pirate 2.0 2014 Oct 21 Tuesday 21/10/2014 10/21
Penguin Everflux 2014 Dec 10 Wednesday 10/12/2014 12/10
Unnamed Update 2015 Feb 4 Wednesday 04/02/2015 02/04
Mobile Update AKA "Mobilegeddon" 2015 Apr 22 Wednesday 22/04/2015 04/22
The Quality Update 2015 May 3 Sunday 03/05/2015 05/03
Panda 4.2 (#28) 2015 Jul 17 Friday 17/07/2015 07/17
RankBrain* 2015 Oct 26 Monday 26/10/2015 10/26
Unnamed Update 2016 Jan 8 Friday 08/01/2016 01/08
Unnamed Update 2016 May 10 Tuesday 10/05/2016 05/10
Mobile-friendly 2 2016 May 12 Thursday 12/05/2016 05/12
"Possum" 2016 Sep 1 Thursday 01/09/2016 09/01
Image/Universal Drop 2016 Sep 13 Tuesday 13/09/2016 09/13
Penguin 4.0 Announcement 2016 Sep 23 Friday 23/09/2016 09/23
Penguin 4.0, Phase 1 2016 Sep 27 Tuesday 27/09/2016 09/27
Penguin 4.0, Phase 2 2016 Oct 6 Thursday 06/10/2016 10/06
Unnamed Update 2016 Nov 10 Thursday 10/11/2016 11/10
Unnamed Update 2016 Dec 14 Wednesday 14/12/2016 12/14
Intrusive Interstitial Penalty 2017 Jan 10 Tuesday 10/01/2017 01/10
Unnamed Update 2017 Feb 1 Wednesday 01/02/2017 02/01
Unnamed Update 2017 Feb 6 Monday 06/02/2017 02/06
"Fred" (Unconfirmed) 2017 Mar 8 Wednesday 08/03/2017 03/08
Unnamed Update 2017 May 17 Wednesday 17/05/2017 05/17
Unnamed Update 2017 Sep 27 Wednesday 27/09/2017 09/27
Featured Snippet Drop 2017 Oct 27 Friday 27/10/2017 10/27
Unnamed Update 2017 Nov 14 Tuesday 14/11/2017 11/14
"Maccabees" Update 2017 Dec 14 Thursday 14/12/2017 12/14
Unnamed Update 2018 Feb 20 Tuesday 20/02/2018 02/20
"Brackets" Core Update 2018 Mar 8 Thursday 08/03/2018 03/08
Mobile-First Index Roll-out 2018 Mar 26 Monday 26/03/2018 03/26
Unnamed Core Update 2018 Apr 17 Tuesday 17/04/2018 04/17
Unnamed Update 2018 May 23 Wednesday 23/05/2018 05/23
Mobile Speed Update 2018 Jul 9 Monday 09/07/2018 07/09
Unnamed Update 2018 Jul 21 Saturday 21/07/2018 07/21
"Medic" Core Update 2018 Aug 1 Wednesday 01/08/2018 08/01
Unnamed Update 2018 Sep 10 Monday 10/09/2018 09/10
Unnamed Update 2018 Oct 15 Monday 15/10/2018 10/15
Unnamed Update 2018 Nov 29 Thursday 29/11/2018 11/29
Unnamed Update 2019 Feb 6 Wednesday 06/02/2019 02/06
March 2019 Core Update 2019 Mar 12 Tuesday 12/03/2019 03/12
June 2019 Core Update 2019 Jun 3 Monday 03/06/2019 06/03
Site Diversity Update 2019 Jun 6 Thursday 06/06/2019 06/06
"Maverick" Update 2019 Jul 12 Friday 12/07/2019 07/12
September 2019 Core Update 2019 Sep 24 Tuesday 24/09/2019 09/24
Unnamed Update 2019 Oct 2 Wednesday 02/10/2019 10/02
BERT Update 2019 Oct 22 Tuesday 22/10/2019 10/22
International BERT Roll-out 2019 Dec 9 Monday 09/12/2019 12/09
January 2020 Core Update 2020 Jan 13 Monday 13/01/2020 01/13
May 2020 Core Update 2020 May 4 Monday 04/05/2020 05/04
Unnamed Update 2020 Jun 23 Tuesday 23/06/2020 06/23
Update Year Month Day Weekday Exact Date Date

The Number of Google Search Algorithm Updates by Year

Interesting fact:

Since 2011, Google has rolled out an average of 11 algorithm updates per year. That’s almost one update every month.

As you can see from the chart above, in 2012 Google released a staggering amount of algorithm updates (24 to be exact), which is almost twice as many as any other year.

2012 could undoubtedly be called the year of the Panda algorithm since even 15 of those algorithm updates were dedicated to combat low-quality content and to reward unique, compelling content (which was exactly why the Panda algorithm was developed).

It was also the year when another update of the Google algorithm called Penguin was born, which was created to fight against unnatural links and their schemes (also known as webspam).

In subsequent years, the number of algorithm updates decreased significantly and generally ranged between 5 and 13 updates per year.

The Number of Google Search Algorithm Updates by Month

Looking at the number of Google algorithm updates by month, there is no such a clear winner as there was when looking at statistics by year.

However, as you can see from the chart above, most Google search algorithm updates are launched in May.

The most interesting fact is that since 2011, only in 2019 there has been no major update in May. However, we didn’t have to wait long for that as the “core” algorithm update was launched on the 3rd of June of the same year.

Also, apart from May, February, September, and October are other months when there is also a fairly high chance that a new algorithm update will be rolled out.

Meanwhile, the lowest probability is in March, April, and August.

It’s also quite interesting to see how this data varies on a quarterly basis.

The Number of Google Search Algorithm Updates by Quarter

Again, there’s no clear winner.

However, we can clearly see that the first quarter is the least active in terms of the number of updates, and the second quarter is way more active.

The Number of Google Search Algorithm Updates by Weekdays

As the data collected shows, most updates to the Google search algorithm were released on Tuesdays.

Surprised?

Probably not at all.

Since it’s a fairly common practice to launch larger updates earlier in the week, in case there will be a need for the human resources to fix something that doesn’t work well.

However, as you can see you can’t also feel completely safe even during the weekend because a small batch of updates has been launched on weekends as well.

Google Search Algorithm Updates by Days of the Month

As can be seen from the graph, most updates were launched on the very first day of the month.

However, it is also important to note that until 2011, these updates were always either launched or officially announced on the first day of the month.

That was Google’s policy at the time.

But things changed dramatically in 2011 when Google stopped following this policy and algorithm updates were started to be released on any random day.

So, if we filtered out the data up to 2011, then the chart would look completely different and this day would become completely unexceptional.

And here we can see a little different data.

It turns out that most of the Google algorithm updates were rolled out on the 27th day of the month.

More interestingly, after this day till the month, such updates were extremely rare (or not made at all).

What Are the Most Common Days of the Year When Google Search Algorithm Updates Were Rolled out?

It was also very interesting to see if there are any recurring dates when Google Algorithm updates happen.

However, as can be seen from the graph, the dates are quite widely distributed and it certainly could not be said that any day of the year stands out more.

The only date that stands out more is September 27th.

So far, there have been 4 updates to Google’s algorithm on September 27th:

  • 2017: Unnamed Update
  • 2016: Penguin 4.0, Phase 1
  • 2012: Exact-Match Domain (EMD) Update together with the Panda #20

Sadly, there’s too little data yet, but it definitely means something since this day is just before the 4th quarter of the year (which as we know is the most profitable quarter for the Alphabet company).

When Will the Next Google Search Algorithm Update Happen?

That’s it for this time.

As can be seen from the data above, the next Google algorithm update can happen on virtually any random day.

However, we can see a small trend that Google algorithm update is much more likely to happen somewhere on a Tuesday in May or September.

What’s your opinion about this data?

When do you think the next Google Algorithm update should happen?

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Kedar Joshi
2 months ago

Hey – This is one of the best articles I have read on statistics of Google algorithm updates. You have covered the updates in great detail and have analysed previous major updates wonderfully. However, from your study, can you provide a few forward looking statements such as what Google is more likely to do over the next couple of years looking the trends since 2011 and extrapolating it till 2022-23? That shall be really helpful. Thank you so much for sharing this post. Loved reading it.

noor
1 month ago

Hi, One on the best article I have come across so far! Very well researched.

Really helped me understand about Google algorithm’s history and when to expect an update From this data you can clearly see a pattern.

I knew how Googles felt about low-quality content and rewards unique, compelling content, now i know when these were rolled out.

Keep writting awesome content!

Sunny Bundel
1 month ago

Hey, I found the article impressive. So much search on Google algorithm updates.

You covered all the Google updates details. Keep on updating it.

Great Post 😀