How often does Google carry out Algorithm Updates?

Google constantly tries to maintain and increase the quality of their search index. In order to accomplish this goal, Google launches algorithm updates every now and then, on all search markets, worldwide. These so-called Google Updates can have a varying degree of influence on the particular ranking of a website.

How many Algorithm Updates does Google deploy?

According to Matt Cutts, Head of Google’s Webspam Team, there were a total of 665 updates to the Ranking-Algorithm during the year 2012. Spread over 12 months this would mean there were almost two Algorithm Updates per day.

Most of the time, Google does not deploy one update a day, though. Oftentimes, multiple updates are deployed together within one day, followed by days without any updates.

How do I know when a Google Update took place?

Google will not announce all the updates to their Ranking Algorithm. Merely for updates that are expected to have a big impact on a large variety of websites, does google inform webmasters of these updates publically on the day the update is rolled out.

Matt Cutts announces a Google update on Twitter
Matt Cutts announces a Google update on Twitter

Matt Cutts usually takes to Twitter to announce that a large impact Google Update has been deployed. For the above example, it involved the so-called Page Layout Algorithm.

Google doesn’t only announce new updates of their ranking algorithm, but also indicates data refreshes of existing algorithms.

Using the SISTRIX Visibility Index as a means of monitoring

Using the SISTRIX Visibility Index you are not only able to measure the success of SEO measures, but also analyse the consequences of Google’s Algorithm Updates and manual penalties.

An algorithmic penalty, caused by one or more Google Updates, can easily be recognised in the SISTRIX Toolbox, using the event pins, which are automatically set by the system.

Google Update visible in the SISTRIX Visibility Index

Identifying a manual penalty, on the other hand, which Google might impose due to link building or link-manipulation, for example, will usually show up nicely in the ranking-distribution chart for the domain in the SEO module.

manual penalty visible in the analysis of the ranking-distribution
manual penalty visible in the analysis of the ranking-distribution

Obviously this also has implications for the visibility index and is displayed with the chronological course of the domain:

Manual penalty also visible in the Visibility Index

If you have reason to believe that your website is affected by a manual penalty, you should seek out the Google Search Console (formerly Webmaster Tools), since the Webmaster will find information from Google on whether manual measures have to be taken or not.

Check your website with the Google Update Checker

We have summarized all relevant algorithm updates in a Google update overview.You can type in your own domain for free and have it analyzed easily. You do not need a toolbox account to use this feature!

Google Updates

Video explanation by Matt Cutts on the subject

How can I tell if my site is affected by a particular algorithm?

How can you tell if your site is suffering from an algorithmic penalty, or you are simply being outgunned by better content?