Google Algorithm Updates - Latest News & History



Throughout the year Google is constantly making updates to their algorithms, and that causes rank fluctuations in the search results. So far In 2019, Google has already rolled out several confirmed core algorithm updates.

Below you’ll find an up-to-date summary of the confirmed and unconfirmed updates with additional resources and links to help you better understand the nature and impact of these changes.

More resources: Rank Risk Index | Google SERP Features | Visual SERP Feature Guide

2022 - Google Updates

Rank Risk Index - Desktop Version
January 2022

January 14th and 15th Unconfirmed Update

Unconfirmed Update
January 14, 2022

On January 14th the Rank Risk Index reported moderate levels of rank fluctuations which were followed by a massive spike in fluctuations the next day on both mobile and desktop. The fluctuations returned to moderate levels on January 16th and died down the next day.

On January 17th, Barry Schwartz of Search Engine Roundtable reported moderate amounts of industry chatter.
Rank Risk Index - Desktop Version
January 2022

January 12th Unconfirmed Update

Unconfirmed Update
January 12, 2022

On January 12th the Rank Risk Index reported moderate rank fluctuations primarily on desktop. The fluctuations returned to normal the next day.

On January 12th, Barry Schwartz of Search Engine Roundtable reported on industry chatter.

2021 - Google Updates

Rank Risk Index - Desktop Version
December 2021

December 2021 Product Reviews Update

Confirmed Update
December 02, 2021

On December 1st, Google announced on the official blog that the December 2021 Product Review update had begun rolling out.

The Rank Risk Index showed a spike in SERP fluctuations on both desktop and mobile on December 2nd. High levels of fluctuations continued to December 7th and returned to normal on December 8th.

On December 5th Barry Schwartz of Search Engine Roundtable reported about the high levels of fluctuations as well as industry chatter.
Rank Risk Index - Desktop Version
November 2021

November 2021 Core Update

Confirmed Update
November 18, 2021

Google announced on November 17th, that they were to be releasing the November Core Update that day. On November 18th the Rank Risk Index reported a spike in SERP fluctuations both on mobile and desktop. The fluctuations reverted back to normal levels the next day.

Barry Schwartz of Search Engine Roundtable reported industry chatter on November 18th.
Rank Risk Index - Desktop Version

November 2021 Spam Update

Confirmed Update
November 04, 2021

Starting on November 3rd, the Rank Risk Index tracked a moderate jump in fluctuations on both desktop and mobile.

The next day, Google announced on Twitter that a spam update had been released.

On November 4th, Barry Schwartz of Search Engine Roundtable reported limited industry chatter.
Rank Risk Index - Desktop Version
October 2021

October 2nd and 3rd Unconfirmed Update

Unconfirmed Update
October 02, 2021

On October 2nd and 3rd, the Rank Risk Index reported a large spike in rank fluctuations on both desktop and mobile.

On October 4th, Barry Schwartz of Search Engine Roundtable reported about limited industry chatter.
Rank Risk Index - Desktop Version
September 2021

September 24th and 25th Unconfirmed Update

Unconfirmed Update
September 24, 2021

On September 24th the Rank Risk Index reported a large spike in rank fluctuations which were still active on the 25th. They returned to normal on September 26th.

On September 27th, Barry Schwartz of Search Engine Roundtable reported about industry chatter.
Rank Risk Index - Desktop Version
August 2021

August 15th Unconfirmed Update

Unconfirmed Update
August 15, 2021

On August 13th the Rank Risk Index picked up massive fluctuations on both mobile and desktop which continued the following day.

On August 15th, Barry Schwartz of Search Engine Roundtable reported about industry chatter.
Rank Risk Index - Desktop Version
July 2021

Link Spam Update

Confirmed Update
July 26, 2021

On July 26th, Google announced that they began rolling out the Link Spam update. The update is designed to broadly identify and nullify spam across multiple languages.

The Rank Risk Index only reported an increase in fluctuations on the 29th which disappeared the next day.

On July 27th and July 29th, Barry Schwartz of Search Engine Roundtable reported limited industry chatter.
Rank Risk Index - Desktop Version

July 2021 Core Update

Confirmed Update
July 01, 2021

On July 1st, Google announced on Twitter that the July 2021 Core Update had been released. This was the second part in a two-part core update that was originally announced on Twitter on June 2nd.

A day later, the Rank Risk Index reported dramatic fluctuations on both desktop and mobile which died down the next day.

On July 2nd, Barry Schwartz of Search Engine Roundtable reported about the unique nature of the update, as well as industry chatter.
Rank Risk Index - Desktop Version
June 2021

Google Spam Update - Part Two

Confirmed Update
June 28, 2021

On June 28th, Google announced on Twitter, that they had released part two of the spam update. Google also confirmed that the update took one day to complete.

The Rank Risk Index did not report any unusual ranking fluctuations.

On Jun 29th Barry Schwartz of Search Engine Roundtable reported that the update went live. He also reported a low level of industry chatter.
Rank Risk Index - Desktop Version

June 23rd Spam Update

Confirmed Update
June 23, 2021

Starting on June 23rd, the Rank Risk Index tracked moderate fluctuations on both desktop and mobile.

On the same day, Google announced on Twitter that a spam update had been released and confirmed that it was completed that day.

On June 24th, Barry Schwartz of Search Engine Roundtable reported a small amount of industry chatter.
Rank Risk Index - Desktop Version

Google Page Experience Update

Confirmed Update
June 15, 2021

On June 15th, Google announced on Twitter that the Page Experience update begun slowly rolling out. Google stated in the tweet that the update would be completed by the end of August.

In keeping with the slow nature of the update, the Rank Risk Index showed a record low level of fluctuations on the 15th.

On June 16th Barry Schwartz of Search Engine Roundtable reported that the update went live.
Rank Risk Index - Desktop Version

June 2021 Core Update

Confirmed Update
June 04, 2021

On June 3rd, Google announced on Twitter that the June 2021 Core Update was released. A day later, the Rank Risk Index reported dramatic fluctuations which lasted until June 6th.

On June 7th Barry Schwartz of Search Engine Roundtable reported on unusually low levels of industry chatter.
Rank Risk Index - Desktop Version
May 2021

May 22nd Unconfirmed Update

Unconfirmed Update
May 22, 2021

On May 20th Rank Risk Index reported a spike in fluctuations. The following day, there was a decrease in fluctuations, but fluctuations resumed on May 22nd. The fluctuations stopped on May 24th.

On May 23rd Barry Schwartz of Search Engine Roundtable reported massive fluctuations that occurred on May 22nd and noted that the industry chatter did not match the levels of fluctuations.
Rank Risk Index - Desktop Version
April 2021

April 30th Unconfirmed Update

Unconfirmed Update
April 30, 2021

On April 30th the Rank Risk Index reported a large spike in rank fluctuations. The fluctuations peaked the next day and fluctuations returned to normal on May 2nd.

On May 3rd, while reporting industry chatter, Barry Schwartz of Search Engine Roundtable speculated that the update had an impact on the Product Reviews Update.

April 23rd Unconfirmed Update

Unconfirmed Update
April 23, 2021

On April 23rd, the Rank Risk Index began tracking a moderate increase in rank fluctuations which carried through to the 24th. The update affected both global web search results and local search results.

On April 26th, Barry Schwartz of Search Engine Roundtable reported about industry chatter.
Rank Risk Index - Desktop Version

Product Review Update

Confirmed Update
April 09, 2021

On April 8th Google announced the launching of the Product Review update which is specifically focused on product review content.

Starting on April 9th, the Rank Risk Index reported a massive spike in ranking fluctuations both on mobile and desktop. The volatility carried through to April 11th and settled by April 12th on desktop. On mobile, the fluctuations carried through to April 13th.

Fluctuations resumed on April 15th and died down on April 18th on both Desktop and mobile.

Barry Schwartz of Search Engine Roundtable reported on the update on April 9th.
Rank Risk Index - Desktop Version
March 2021

March 10th Unconfirmed Update

Unconfirmed Update
March 10, 2021

On March 10th, the Rank Risk Index reported an increase in Google SERP fluctuations on both mobile and desktop. The fluctuations peaked on March 13th and concluded on March 14th on desktop and March 15th on mobile.

On March 11th, Barry Schwartz of Search Engine Roundtable reported an increase in industry chatter.
Rank Risk Index - Desktop Version
February 2021

February 17th Unconfirmed Update

Unconfirmed Update
February 17, 2021

On February 17th the Rank Risk Index reported a large spike in rank fluctuations. The spike occurred after a series of minor fluctuations that followed the Passage Ranking update. Due to its proximity to the Passage Ranking update, this could simply be a set of fixes designed to support the findings after the Passage Ranking update.

On February 17th Barry Schwartz of Search Engine Roundtable reported about industry chatter.
Rank Risk Index - Desktop Version

Passage Ranking Update

Confirmed Update
February 10, 2021

Starting on February 9th, the Rank Risk Index began tracking a massive spike in rank fluctuations on both desktop and mobile that carried over to February 10th. Google confirmed on Twitter that Passage Ranking went live on February 10th for queries in the US in English.

On February 12th Barry Schwartz of Search Engine Roundtable reported that Passage Ranking went live in the US and that surprisingly chatter was low after February 10th.

2020 - Google Updates

Rank Risk Index - Desktop Version
December 2020

December 18th Unconfirmed Update

Unconfirmed Update
December 18, 2020

On December 17th, just a day after Google announced on Twitter that the December 2020 Core Update rollout was complete, the Rank Risk Index began tracking a small increase in rank fluctuations which peaked on December the 18th.
Rank Risk Index - Desktop Version

December 2020 Core Update

Confirmed Update
December 04, 2020

Starting on December 1st the Rank Risk Index began tracking an increase in rank fluctuations on both desktop and mobile. This carried on until December 4th where there was a massive spike in SERP volatility. Fluctuations returned to normal on December 5th.

On December 3rd, Google announced that there would be a core update later that day. The announcement corresponds with the sudden spike in fluctuations that happened on December 4th.

Also on December 4th Barry Schwartz of Search Engine Roundtable reported on industry chatter aligned with the updates recorded by the Rank Risk Index.
Rank Risk Index - Desktop Version
September 2020

September 16th 2020 Update

Unconfirmed Update
September 16, 2020

On September 15th, the Rank Risk Index reported an increase of rank fluctuations on both desktop and mobile. The fluctuations peaked on September 16th reaching a risk level of 104. The fluctuations steadily decreased from that time on, reaching normal levels on September 21st.

On September 17th, Barry Schwartz of Search Engine Roundtable reported on industry chatter.
Rank Risk Index - Desktop Version
August 2020

August 15th 2020 Update

Unconfirmed Update
August 15, 2020

On August 15th, the Rank Risk Index reported a dramatic increase in rank fluctuations on both desktop and mobile. Fluctuations reached an unprecedented risk level of 130 on August 15th and 119 on August 16th. By the time the update was complete, the dramatic rank changes were generally reverted.


On August 15th, Barry Schwartz of Search Engine Roundtable reported on significant industry chatter.
Rank Risk Index - Desktop Version
June 2020

June 2020 Update

Unconfirmed Update
June 17, 2020

Starting on June 9th, the Rank Risk Index began tracking an increase in rank fluctuations on both desktop and mobile. The fluctuations peaked on June 10th, reaching a risk level of 83. After four days of elevated fluctuations, levels returned to normal on Jun 13th. However, after three days of normal fluctuation levels, the increased movement returned on June 16th. During the update’s second wave, our index recorded two notable spikes in fluctuations. First, on June 20th the index recorded fluctuations hitting 109, and on June 23rd fluctuations reached 103.

On June 10th, and June 23rd Barry Schwartz of Search Engine Round Table reported on significant industry chatter aligned with the updates recorded by the Rank Risk Index.
Rank Risk Index - Desktop Version
May 2020

May 2020 Core Update

Confirmed Update
May 04, 2020

On May 4th, 2020, Google’s Danny Sullivan announced that the search engine had started to roll out its second core algorithm update of the year.

Dubbed the May 2020 Core Update, the bulk of the release spanned just two days with the initial roll-out being tempered. As shown on our Rank Risk Index, the second day of the update’s roll-out produced far more rank volatility than first day of the update.

Per our data analysis, the update was unique in that it produced a rather uniform amount of rank volatility across all niches.


May 2020 Core Update Data


Further, the update was large in scope and size as the levels of rank volatility slightly edged out the January 2020 Core Update which was known for its large impact on the SERP.
Rank Risk Index - Desktop Version
March 2020