Google makes changes to its algorithm almost every single month to offer the most relevant results to the users. While some of these algorithm updates don’t show their impact on the SERP, some are so fundamentally SEO altering that thousands of websites lose their rank overnight and it takes months to regain the lost position as well as revenue. Let’s take a look at the 5 most powerful and influential SEO updates ever. Please note that besides these, many more algorithm updates happened over the last decade or so, but today we are focusing on only the top five.


Panda (24 Feb, 2011)

Target: Duplicate content and keyword stuffing

How Panda works: Panda gives a quality score to the web pages and this score is used as a ranking factor. When it was launched, Panda was more like a filter for detecting plagiarism but since 2016 it had become a part of the core algorithm of Google.

How to combat: You must have unique content with a moderate number of keywords. Check the website for content duplication and also, make sure that other websites are not copy-pasting your content.


Penguin (24 April, 2012)

Target: Spam links and over-optimized anchor texts.

How Penguin works: Penguin was released by Google to stop the activities of black-hat SEO professionals and link farms who simply exchange links, without contextual relevancy. Penguin started to evaluate the quality of links, instead of quantity. It works in real time and also a part of the main algorithm since last year.

How to combat: Check your backlink profile today and if you find that shady websites are directing their traffic to your website, then request the third party websites to remove those links. Also, you can use Google Disavow tool to inform Penguin that you are not responsible for low-quality backlinks.


Mobilegeddon (21 April, 2015)

Target: No mobile version of the web page and poor mobile usability.

How Mobilegeddon works: When people search from mobile devices, this algorithm update ensures that mobile-friendly pages get the top positions on the SERP and the non-mobile friendly pages are pushed down.

How to combat: Take help of various SEO tools available in the market to check whether your website is mobile friendly or not. Optimize the web pages for mobile devices and concentrate on speed and usability.


Possum (1 Sep, 2016)

Target: Local business ranking

How Possum works: Possum tries to offer search results based on the end user’s location. Suppose, you live in New Jersey, and searching for “Italian restaurant in Manhattan”, but your actual location is far away from Manhattan. Now, what if someone based in Manhattan is searching the same keyword? Both of you will get to see different local listings on the SERP due to your GPS location data.

How to combat: As a local business owner you must expand your keyword list and regularly check your rank by searching from the location where your office/shop is located.


Fred (8 March, 2017)

Target: Thin and ad-centered content

How Fred works: Fred goes after websites that violate Google Webmaster Guidelines. For example, some blogs create low-quality posts just for the sake of advertisement revenue.

How to combat: If you wish to display ads, make sure that there is high-quality content on your web pages. Don’t try to dupe Google by making it think that your page is about something important whereas, in reality, it is just a gateway page full of affiliate links.




Google will keep pushing new algorithm updates in the coming years as well. However, as long as you follow the white-hat SEO techniques and develop a user-friendly, mobile-optimized website, SEO updates won’t damage your ranks. Also, you can visit our site – Green Genie SEO to know more.