Google changes the search algorithm at least 500 times every year. This is besides the major algorithm changes rolled out occasionally in its Panda and Penguin categories affecting how search results are displayed in very many significant ways.

For that simple reason, it is prudent that search marketers know all dates when Google makes its updates because knowing helps them explain the changes in ranking and organic traffic feeds, ultimately improving search optimization in the engines. In the list below, we explain how changes from 2017 and early 2018 had the biggest impacts on search results beginning on 10th January 2017

Updates in 2018

In 2018, the first update set in on 20th February. Though unconfirmed, its effects were felt when raking gushed volatility across a number of tools. The update quickly settled in signaling update on targeted algorithm. Google did not confirm the update.

As early as on 4th March ranking volatility started to take root with another spike seen on 8th of the month continuing two weeks later. Google confirmed the update by the 7th day of the month. This may have been a single update (prolonged) or they were multiple. Google did not give further details about this update. Glenn Gabe called it the Bracket update.

It is believed that this test was run to set pace for a later, better, update. During this period, Google included calculators, unit conversion and time and date queries on a small set of knowledge cards. The search engine hid the zero and show all results tabs until a week later when the test stopped.

After months of testing, google finally announced that they were rolling out the mobile first index and suggested to migrate sites gradually. As hard as it is to tell the impact intensity of this roll out, we should soon find out when webmaster begins to see notifications on google console.

Updates in 2017

Backing the August 2016 warning announcement, a penalty update was rolled and later acknowledged by Google’s Gary Illyes and John Muller on January 10. This update was aimed at penalizing intrusive interstitial and pop-ups that disrupted user experience on mobile interphase.

Google was determined to roll out this penalty because it would punish cranny pop-ups that were deemed to damage its mobile use experience. Thumbs up to her, a waning was even released 5 months in advance.

Refer to these sources citing about Google warnings : –

During this period a new algorithm increased chatter within the SEO industry. This elevated fluctuations in Google rankings. However, Google did mention anything about this minor day long update.

On this update phase, though unacknowledged, there was an indication that after 1st February, a new algorithm update was unleashed to target spammy practices. This is if we follow some significantly high ranking fluctuations seen afterwards. In months that followed, Search Engine Optimizers grumbled with reason on if the shift was caused by a normal unacknowledged update or if Google Penguin detected, discounted or if it just tweaked to spammy links.

See how Unacknowledged Google algorithm update can discount links and spam (SEL)

These changes began on 1st February following through for an entire week. Its highs were however seen on 6th of February of 2017 with some search marketers even reporting overlaps on 7th of the month. Industry case studies and Webmaster say these were different events as seen in this report shared on February 7, 2017 detailing the Google Algorithm Update. The report shows findings and analysis from a significant source GSQi. You can find more resource about that update on this link Google Algorithm Update Was Big (SER)

With reports across the SEO community, “Fred” seemed to be yet another major unexpected update by Google. “Fred” however not the real update name, was a joking referral of the by Gary Illyes and boom, the name stuck. Later Illyes confirmed that this was a major update. In short analysis, the update seemed to target low-value content websites with more emphasis on link quality aspects.

As of mid-April 2017 half of page 1 of Google organic results were secure HPPT’s. That’s according to MozCast 10K tracking set. Explore the link to get more info

There is an undisputed belief that a large Google algorithm update was rolled during this period ending on May 18th and massively changing rankings positions. However, not too many people in webmaster and SEO complained about these changes. This made the changed ranking fluctuations rather difficult to comprehend. It remained vague whether the occurrence was a major algorithm update or if it was just a drop of Featured Snippets. Find more info about this update on these links

This update kicked in when Google officially introduced their job portal which based on a standalone 3-pack listing in the search results. This update drew data from major job listing sites such as LinkedIn, Glassdoor, Monster and CareerBuilder.

Around this date, algorithm trackers and webmaster chatter recorded an influx which spiked by the 27th September. On recess, google did not come out to confirm the release.

This was not an algorithm update but it was an important step to push HTTPs. Do you know what that means? It means that the launch of Chrome 62 may have had material impact on site traffics. Because afterwards, google warned visitors of sites which bore unsecured forms.

There was a significant drop in featured snippets over a period not longer than 3 days beginning on 27th of April 2017. This happened when google seemed to be adding panels of broad terms and objectives such as “Toilet”, “travel”, “web design” etc. It was public knowledge that some of these panels disappeared at around the 15th of Dec. This update was unconfirmed.

A drift was detected by algorithm tracker and webmaster chatter on around the 15th of November.

Over this period, Google increased longer search snippets after a two yearlong testing period. This update led to an increase of Meta description limit of up to 300 characters of the previous 155. Updates on how snippets are handled were confirmed but no further details were provided.

Although several unconfirmed updates were suspected during this period, google did not own to scheduling any. However, chatter and several other tools showed ranking instability. Barry Schwartz named it the “Maccabees” update