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Google Algorithm Updates- History and Naming Process

Updated on April 10, 2012

We live Google...

We all live by the rules of Google, so naturally we all live by Google’s algorithm updates that can easily lift us up, or make us disappear off of the Search Engines. We hear about these updates before they occur, some we fear, others we barely notice as their names fade off into the background. These names, like hurricanes, when strong enough perish the unexpected, Google’s Updates are often feared, experienced, adjusted to and dealt with are sequenced in alphabetical order, but who names Google’s Algorithm Updates?

When did it all begin?

Google is all about SEO (Duh...they are a search engine), and if you were one of the original SEO musketeers, you may recall the way that Google’s Updates once were back in 2002. For everyone else that isn’t an original SEO Pioneer, let me provide a brief history of the mania that Google Updates caused in the early stages of Google and the SEO game. These days, Google preforms some 500+ updates a year and most of these updates are not even noticed by internet users. In 2002, updates occurred about 10 times per year, and each update sent the Search Engine results into frenzy for about 3 or 4 days, known as the ‘Dance’. The first ‘Dance’, was named “Boston”, by Webmaster World members, and is the first documented Google Algorithm Update.

A little Extra PEP, to the Search Engine Step...


The Combat Series of Updates

Onward to 2003 and you will find a series of updates aimed at combating the non-legit backlinks, and hidden links. These combat updates were named: Cassandra, Dominic, Esmeralda and Fritz. Each of these names were also selected by Webmaster World members, Cassandra followed Boston, and was simply chosen because they liked the name, Dominic was the name of a Pizza Parlor that was frequented by WW members and 2003’s Esmeralda and Fritz marked the end of the "Dance" updates. Thereafter, Google began to update daily.

After the "Dance", their was "Everflux"

2003 continued with daily updates, with the most noticeable being Florida, which cracked down on shady SEO practices.

In 2005, there was Bourbon followed by Big Daddy, then Buffy in 2008. Bourbon is considered the first update to attack content scrapers and rogue link wheels (these were URL’s {domains} that had the sole purpose of interlinking and pointing back to your main website). Big Daddy was the hard hitting update against link buyers, and traders. Big Daddy was more than just an update though, it was an actual new data center that changed the way that crawlers reviewed and indexed sites. If a site had a suspicious link, it was no longer being indexed from this point on. Buffy was named in tribute to the creator of Google Webmaster Central, Vanessa Fox, whom left Google to pursue other ventures. (I am not sure why they named the update Buffy rather than Fox…suppose it was an inside joke of some sort?).

A jolt in the right direction

2009 brought Vince, also known as the Trust Change Update, which favored Brands on the results pages. In 2010 there was "Caffeine" that generated 50% fresher results than previous versions, and was said to give the search engine a jolt to better, faster results, hence the title, "Caffeine", bringing the Search Engine closer to true and quality results.

Content Farms worst enemy of 2011

We all remember 2011’s Panda/Farmer Update that had Hubpages being pegged as a content farm and each Huber a fresh new subdomain to combat the update. The Panda update was intended to keep the junk out of site and the good stuff up front, and we all seemed to survive, so I guess the update was not such a horrible one after all.

Where do Google’s Algorithm Updates get their names?

So where does Google’s method for naming come from? Well, much like everything else that revolved around Google, we are not entirely sure. Perhaps there is no real method; maybe they just follow the rules of branding and naming an awesome new product? They add a little personality with something we already know and can remember and give it a new meaning…and there you go, a Google Update Name?


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    • H.C Porter profile image

      Holly 5 years ago from Lone Star State

      Ausemade- I think Google will always do what Google wants to do, I appreciate you reading and commenting :)

    • Ausemade profile image

      Ausemade 5 years ago from Australia

      Another good hub, did not know some of those names... but I do know Panda and Penguin. They must be moving down the alphabet.

    • H.C Porter profile image

      Holly 6 years ago from Lone Star State

      vocalcoach- Thanks you! I am glad that I could teach a little something. Thanks for the compliment :)

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 6 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      Wow! I had so much to learn about Google Algorithms. Very informative and well written hub. I know just the people to share this with. Love your writing format!

    • H.C Porter profile image

      Holly 6 years ago from Lone Star State

      mts1098- could be wrong/could be right? ;)

    • H.C Porter profile image

      Holly 6 years ago from Lone Star State

      chinemeremz - thanks for reading and commenting, I appreciate the feedback :) Glad I could share something new with the community :)

    • profile image

      mts1098 6 years ago

      I noticed your profile pix changed and I am thinking you are in a car and took the picture with your right hand ) I could be wrong but just sharing an observation )

    • profile image

      Wong kiet khiong 6 years ago

      Bing Change to google

    • chinemeremz profile image

      chinemeremz 6 years ago

      Wonder what the next update will be named after, or better still will it be numbered panda this and panda that, well whatever it is all I believe is good and well written contents like this one will always survive.

      Thanks for this little trip down memory lane as I've learned alot historical data about the big G. Thanks as I look forward to reading more like this.

    • H.C Porter profile image

      Holly 6 years ago from Lone Star State

      mts1098, lol... yep, I remember everyone complaining about the update too... but truth is, the only ones that had anything to worry about, were the ones that were not doing what they should be doing... Thanks for the comment and for taking the time to read this hub :)

    • H.C Porter profile image

      Holly 6 years ago from Lone Star State


      OMG! I am marking this one on the calendar..and must check if hell just froze over! lol...just playing, but I do think this is the first time I provided information that you did not actually know anything about, before reading... WAY COOL! lol :)

    • H.C Porter profile image

      Holly 6 years ago from Lone Star State

      Thanks Marcy for stopping in... I am glad I could give you an overview to some of Google's history. :)

    • profile image

      mts1098 6 years ago

      You know will all the hype of Panda I almost forgot the HP impact...thanks for the reminder...Hopefully this time around will be kinder )

    • Cagsil profile image

      Cagsil 6 years ago from USA or America

      Hey Holly, this is a very interesting hub. Thank you for providing it. I didn't know any of it, so I learned something new. Much appreciated. :) Voted up! :)

    • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

      Marcy Goodfleisch 6 years ago from Planet Earth

      This is fascinating! I've just been one of those people going along and using the Internet but not following the changes Google made. Then I signed up for HP and read the grumbling about Panda. Thanks for this summary of the algorithms across the years! I also like the information about what they were trying to tweak.

      Voted up, useful and interesting!


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