2016 has been quiet a year for algorithm updates. Google has a history of making changes to its search algorithm around 500 to 600 times a year. Technically majority of these changes are minor, and occasionally a full fledged major algorithm such as Google: Penguin, Panda, Humming Bird, etc are rolled out.
Let’s get a quick recap on what transpired in the year 2016 in terms of Google’s algorithm updates.
#1: November 10, 2016 - Anonymous Major Update
Many webmasters noticed a spike on November 10th and 18th. The industry informally spoke a lot during both these periods, with suggestions about the second spike being a reversal of the first one. These events were not confirmed by Google. But many reported unfavorable dates in SERPS during this period. Reason behind the spike (casual or a coincidence) is still ambiguous.
#2: October 6, 2016 - Penguin 4.0, Phase 2
Reversal of all the former Penguin penalties is Phase 2 of Penguin 4.0. This came across as an after effect of the new code rolled out, which must have taken approximately two weeks. Post-Penguin activity experienced one final spike of 116 degrees on October 6, we are still skeptical if it was a Penguin or altogether a new update. Post October 6th algorithm temperatures experienced a downfall.
#3: September 27, 2016 - Penguin 4.0, Phase 1
Penguin 4.0 phase 1 was a gentler version rollout of the Penguin update, launched around 22 – 23 of September, 2016. This update basically devalues bad links in place of penalizing sites, which is quiet a relief. We are not exactly aware about the timeline, but this rollout is believed to have taken a few days to fully update. There are also chances that this might have agreed to an algorithm temperature increase of 113 degrees on September 27.
#4: September 13, 2016 - Image/Universal Drop
Image/ Universal drop left effects like spikes and drop in SERP’s, with image results (Universal/vertical).This Universal result shake up had the power to open up organic position on page number 1, affecting considerable shifts in ranking. Probably there are chances that this shift could combine well with a much larger update.
#5: September 1, 2016 - Possum
This update recorded recoveries as well as drops in terms of local pack prevalence. A major shakeup was experienced by the local SEO community in pack results. Statistics state that organic results were also heavily impacted due to this update.
#6: May 12, 2016 - Mobile-friendly 2
Google webmaster Trends Analyst John Mueller announced roll out of version II of the “mobile friendly” update. This update by Google is technically designed to boost the effect of Mobile friendly ranking. Since majority of sites tracked by Google are mobile friendly, this particular update did not impact a lot.
# 7: May 10, 2016 - Unnamed Major Update
Majority of Google weather trackers displayed an exceptionally rare week-long pattern of the algorithm activity. There was a prominent spike observed during this week. Currently there is no information received on Google’s behalf confirming the reason behind.
#8: February 23, 2016 - AdWords Shake-up
On this day Google finally put an end to the long wait. For the past few months before the update Google was busy testing SERP’s for 4 ads at top, creating a lot of speculation in the PPC world. Google managed to make major changes to Adwords, by removing right –column ads completely, 4-ad top blocks were rolled out on majority commercial searches. Since this was a paid search update, it had powerful implications for Click through Rate for both organic and paid results.
#9: January 8, 2016 – Anonymous Update
Many tracking tools recorded a historically- huge ranking movement. Google later confirmed this “core algorithm update”, but this definitely was not related to Penguin.
This is how 2016 looks on the canvas with all the small and large algorithm updates of the year.