It’s a jungle out there. Or is it a zoo? Actually, it’s Google’s most talked about algorithm updates of the past few years.

Google AlgorithmsEven as an SEO, I used to have a list of all the animals pinned above my desk to help me remember what was what. Just because I have them tattooed in my memory now, doesn’t mean you have to—or even want to.

Anytime you’re looking for a quick “elevator pitch” to describe Google’s algorithms – in an interview, to your boss or to a client – just come back to this page. I’ll keep it updated with the facts you need to know (minus the noise you don’t).

Here we go – the when, the what and the updates:

Hummingbird – New engine

  • Born August 2013
  • Think of dropping an old engine out of a classic car and replacing it with a new one designed to enhance performance and speed. Hummingbird is Google’s new engine
  • Largest algorithmic change since the Caffeine Update in 2010

Panda – Low-quality Content

  • Born February 2011
  • Algorithmic change aimed at lowering the rank of low-quality/thin sites, and return higher-quality sites near the top of the search results pages
  • Updated March 2012 & 2013, and September 2014

Penguin – Link Building

  • Born April 2012
  • Algorithmic change aimed at decreasing rankings of sites that violate Google’s Webmaster Guidelines by using black-hat SEO and link schemes designed to artificially boost page ranking by manipulating the number of external
  • Updated May & October 2012, May & October 2013, and October 2014

Pigeon – Local Search

  • Born July 2014
  • A new algorithm aimed at providing more useful, relevant and accurate local search results
  • No known updates to date

Stay tuned for Google’s upcoming Mobile-friendliness algorithm update said to launch april 21, 2015.

And now, to brighten your day, a classic 80s flashback – Rock on!

Welcome to the jungle
It gets worse here every day
Ya learn ta live like an animal
In the jungle where we play