Google constantly updates it's algorithms, the aim is to return more relevant search results for user. We have created a list of the known updates from 2014 to help site owners look at a glance when changes have happened that may have had an impact on their site. We have referenced several external websites as evidence of the updates. We will keep this page up to date as much as possible.
We would highly recommend that in your Google Analytics account to add comments against these dates so you can see instantly if these updates have had an effect on your site.
Pigeon Expands (UK, CA, AU)
December 22, 2014
Google's major local algorithm update, dubbed "Pigeon", expanded to the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia. The original update back in July 2014 hit the United States. Even though the update was confirmed on the 22nd it believed that it may have rolled out as early as the 19th.
Google Pigeon Update Rolls Out To UK, Canada & Australia (SEL)
Local Search Results
December 10, 2014
A representative from Google said that Penguin had shifted to continuous updates, moving away from infrequent, major updates. This claim seemed to fit the ongoing fluctuations after Penguin 3.0 (including unconfirmed claims of a Penguin 3.1).
Google Says Penguin To Shift To “Continuous Updates”
October 17, 2014
A year after the previous Penguin 2.1 update, Google launched a Penguin refresh. This update appeared to be smaller than expected (<1% of US/English queries affected) and was probably data-only and not a new Penguin algorithm. The timing of the update was unclear and Google claimed it was spread out over "weeks".
Google AutoCorrects: Penguin 3.0 Still Rolling Out & 1% Impact
(Search Engine Roundtable)
September 23, 2014
Panda 4.1 was announced as a significant Panda update, which included an algorithmic component. They estimated the impact at 3-5% of queries affected. Given the "slow roll out," the exact timing was unclear.
Panda 4.1 Googles 28th Panda Update
(Search Engine Land)
August 28, 2014
Following up on the June 28th drop of authorship photos, Google announced that they would be completely removing authorship markup. By the next morning, authorship bylines had disappeared from all SERPs.
Official Announcement from John Mueller (Google+)
August 6, 2014
After speculation, Google announced that they would be giving preference to secure sites, and that adding encryption would provide a "lightweight" rankings boost. They stressed that this boost would start out small, but implied it might increase if the changed proved to be positive.
HTTPS as a ranking signal
Authorship Photo Drop
June 28, 2014
John Mueller made a surprise announcement (on June 25th) that Google would be dropping all authorship photos from SERPs (after heavily promoting authorship as a connection to Google+). The drop was complete around June 28th.
Payday Loan 3.0
June 12, 2014
Multiple SERP-trackers and many webmasters reported major flux in Google SERPs. Speculation ranged from an e-commerce focused update to a mobile usability update. Google did not officially confirm an update. Many in the SEO community hinted on SEO is dead well back linking.
May 19, 2014
Google confirmed a major Panda update that likely included both an algorithm update and a data refresh. Officially, about 7.5% of English-language queries were affected. While Matt Cutts said it began rolling out on 5/20, our data strongly suggests it started earlier.
Payday Loan 2.0
May 16, 2014
Prior to Panda 4.0, Google updated it's "payday loan" algorithm, which targets especially spammy queries. The exact date of the roll-out was unclear (Google said "this past weekend" on 5/20), and the back-to-back updates made the details difficult to sort out.
March 24, 2014
Major algorithm flux trackers and webmaster chatter spiked around 3/24-3/25, and some speculated that the new, "softer" Panda update had arrived. Many sites reported ranking changes, but this update was never confirmed by Google.
February 6, 2014
Google "refreshed" their page layout algorithm, also known as "top heavy". Originally launched in January 2012, the page layout algorithm penalizes sites with too many ads above the fold.