The main reason why Google remains the king when it comes to search engines is the frequent changes it makes to its algorithm to make the user experience worthwhile. The minor changes in the algorithm are very frequent, whereas, every few months a major update rolls about in the algorithm.

The analysis of these changes on yearly basis can help web marketing services providers to better analyze the performance of a website pre and post the updates. This writing is the first part of the details of algorithm updates that took place in the last decade.

Year 2000:

In the year 2000, Google introduced only one major change in December. The update is given below:

Google Toolbar– Google Toolbar came with Toolbar Page Rank, which introduced the concept of page rank, and all the webmasters started trying to achieve the highest rank possible.

Year 2002:

In the month of September 2002, Google introduced an un named update, the brief description of which is given below.

1st Documented Update– The details of this update still remain unclear; however, the areas around which this update revolved were PageRank and Google Dance update.


Year 2003:

The year 2003 witnessed several updates on part of Google. The major updates rolled out by Google in this year are given below.

Boston– This is the first named update by Google, rolled out in February 2003. This update revolved around index and algorithm changes.

Cassandra– The update came about in April 2003, targeting mainly, the hidden links, and linking from co-owned domains.

Dominic– This update was introduced in May 2003, and its working was also mysterious. The update seemed to hit the reporting of backlinks.

Esmerelda– It was the last of monthly updates rolled in June 2003. This update was mainly concerned with some infrastructural changes at Google.

Fritz– With Fritz update, the Google monthly dance ended, and now the index changed on daily basis.

Supplemental Index– To cater more documents in indexing, without compromising on performance, Google introduced the Supplemental Index update in September 2003.

Florida– This update truly put the SEO industry in front, by rejecting the old keywords based tactics. The update was introduced in November 2003.

Year 2004:

The major updates of year 2004 are given below.

Austin– Austin update in January 2004 covered the loop holes left by Florida update. This update targeted, deceptive META-tag stuffing, and on-page tactics.

Brandy– This update, introduced in February 2004, dealt with index expansion, Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) and anchor text relevance.

Year 2005:

The major algorithm changes rolled out by Google in 2005 are:

Nofollow– This update strictly emphasized on the quality of links, by controlling the spam links. This update was implemented in collaboration with other search engines in January 2005.

Allegra– This update was introduced in February 2005 and its implication remain ambiguous. Some believe it affected LSI, while others believed it affected the sandbox.

Bourbon– According to speculations made by webmasters, this update dealt with non-canonical URLs, and duplicate content. The update surfaced in May 2005.

XML Sitemaps– This update superseded the traditional HTML maps, and gave SEO services professionals some control over indexing and crawling in June 2005.

Personalized Search– Though with small affect, this update gave search engines ability to adjust results according to the search history of user. It was the second update in June of the same year.

Gilligan– In September 2005, Webmasters witnessed changes in search, however Google denied it of being any kind of algorithm update.

Google Maps– In October 2005, this update changed the SEO world, when Google inculcated data of Maps into LBC.

Jagger– The second update of October that dealt with reciprocal links, low-quality links, and link farms.

Big Daddy– The update was released in December 2005, and dealt with URL canonicalization, redirects, and Indexing timeline.


The year 2000-2005 showed a switch in Google’s policy to roll out updates, where the updates ceased to roll out on monthly basis, and the index was updated daily. These updates laid the foundation for other major updates to come in the coming years.

The Part II of this report will give an insight to the major algo updates that have taken place from 2006 till present. So if you want to complete your Algorithm Updates knowledge of past decade, then wait for the soon to come second part of this post.

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