In previous years, ranking higher in search engines was an easy task. Precisely, it only required keyword stuffing and multiple back links. Recently, numerous changes have been experienced. Google keeps on updating their search algorithm to keep up with spammers and keep unnatural links at bay. To help you understand better here is an outline of Google Algorithm Changes.
In the recent history of Google updates, Panda updates have been the most common, with the first update occurring in 2011. Since then there have been several changes related to the same. Barely two months after the first roll out, Google introduced Panda 2.0, followed by 2.5 in the same year. In 2014, they introduced Panda 4.1 meant to trim widespread low-quality content. The most recent Panda 4.2 update was in 2015 meant to rank higher smaller website with high-quality contents.
Penguin update which was rolled out in 2012 as a monitor on users who insisted on black hat SEO techniques such as keyword stuffing and unnatural back links. In 2013, Penguin 2.1 was introduced to clean-up duplicate content and spam. Later, Google launched a crackdown on the ranking strategies with Penguin 3.0 algorithm.
Hummingbird update was launched in 2013 as a major step to making Google a more user-friendly search engine.
In 2014, Google launched Pigeon updates, which focused on local ranking. It was one-step towards eliminating inaccurate and irrelevant local searches.
Mobile friendly algorithm changes came in 2015. This change saw the search engines become friendlier to mobile phones. It has been a major hit in website ranking since more users have adopted mobile searches.
RankBrain Update is the most recent update that gives power and precedence to artificial intelligence in search engine rankings.
Other Google Algorithm Changes include the Venice update introduced in 2012, the 2012 Knowledge Graph Update, Payday Loan Update rolled out in 2014 and the HTTP/SSL update of 2012.