Each year, Google changes its search algorithm around 500–600 times. While most of these changes are minor, Google occasionally rolls out a “major” algorithmic update (such as Google Panda and Google Penguin) that affects search results in significant ways.

A Quick synopsis about the Google’s algorithm changes in 2016.

Unnamed Update — November 10, 2016

The purpose of this algorithm update remains vague.

Penguin 4.0, Phase 2 — October 6, 2016

The second phase of Penguin 4.0 was the reversal of all previous Penguin penalties.

(Penguin is an algorithm first introduced in 2012, made with filter to seize sites that are spamming Google’s search results in ways that Google’s regular spamming systems might not detect. It has launched on a periodic basis.)

Penguin 4.0, Phase 1 — September 27, 2016

The first phase of Penguin 4.0, which probably launched around September 22-23, was the rollout of the new, “gentler” Penguin algorithm, which devalues bad links instead of penalizing sites.

Penguin 4.0 Announcement — September 23, 2016

Google announced a major Penguin update after 2 years. They suggested the new Penguin is now real-time and baked into the “core” algorithm.

Image/Universal Drop — September 13, 2016

50% drop in SERPs with image (universal/vertical) results. The universal result shake-up an organic position on page 1, causing substantial ranking shifts, but it’s likely that this was part of a much larger update.

“Possum” — September 1, 2016

The main purpose of the update was to expand the local results and prevent spam from ranking as well.

Mobile-friendly 2 — May 12, 2016

Just more than a year after the original “mobile friendly” update, Google rolled out another ranking signal boost to benefit mobile-friendly sites on mobile search.

Unnamed Major Update — May 10, 2016

The purpose of this algorithm update remains vague.

AdWords Shake-up — February 23, 2016

Google made major changes to AdWords, removing right-column ads entirely and rolling out 4-ad top blocks on many commercial searches. While this was a paid search update, it had significant implications for CTR for both paid and organic results, especially on competitive keywords.

Unnamed Update — January 8, 2016

Multiple tracking tools reported historically-large rankings movement, which Google later confirmed as a “core algo update”. Google officially said that this was not a Penguin update, but details remain unclear.

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