Google’s 2021 Algorithm Update: A Year in Review

2021 has been a very busy year for Search Engine Optimization(SEO) experts as Google made thousands of algorithm updates, some were so significant that they needed to be done in two parts!! Although these updates can sometimes impact your site negatively, it is done to ensure the most relevant and reliable results for the users, so you must stay on top of your game to rank high on SERP. 

The majority of updates do not impact your site, in fact, most go unnoticed,  Google says there is nothing you can do to prepare, nor to recover from algorithm updates, per their guidelines. According to Google, these updates are to improve their ranking system with the main focus of providing the user with the best possible search query.  And while 2021 was a busy year, we look forward to what 2022 has to bring with more advanced technologies to enhance the user experience. 

Google’s busy timeline of algorithm updates is summarized below:


  •  April 2021: Product Review Update

Google released an update to reward higher quality, in-depth product reviews with greater visibility in Search. The update targeted poor content written in English. Google emphasized that the need to produce quality content in this update. 

  • June 2, 2021: Broad Core Algorithm Update

These updates are designed to ensure that overall, Google is delivering on they’re mission to present relevant and authoritative content to searchers. This update is intended to bring a better experience to users by prioritizing pages that offer a quality page performance with the introduction of core web vitals. 

  • June 15, 2021: Page Experience Update[Completed by Aug 31, 2021]

Page Experience Update is designed to improve the experience searchers have on each website. Page experience is a set of signals that measure how users perceive the experience of interacting with a web page beyond its pure information values which include core web vitals, mobile-friendliness, and HTTPS.

  • June 23, 2021 Spam Update Part 1 & June 28, 2021: Spam Update Part 2

The Spam Update was essential done to lessen the impact of link spam on results. The focus is on producing high-quality content and improving user experience, instead of manipulating links. It is suggested to promote awareness of your site using appropriately tagged links and monetize it with properly tagged affiliate links.

  • July 1, 2021: July 2021 Core Update
  • August 24, 2021  Web Page Title Update

Web Page Titles Update, a new title dynamic title tag system is put in place that will help generate h1 tags for websites that don’t have them. As with any update, the goal is to enhance a user’s experience and make the user’s web searching effortless. 

  • November 17, 2021 November Broad Core Update

This update did not have a disruptive impact, experts in the industry believe it was a ‘mild’ update.

  • December 2021: Product Review Update 

This is the second product review of the year, aimed at rewarding authentic, high-quality reviews. 

Because Google’s algorithm dictates how far up you appear on any given SERP, we place a lot of importance on it and monitor updates for impact to the sites we manage. Since the algorithm is fundamental in showing users the best information possible based on their queries, it’s important to ensure that your site is optimized to stand out in search results.  

About Omar Kattan
Omar is MD & Chief Strategy Officer at Sandstorm Digital. His experience includes 10 years in traditional marketing and advertising in the Middle East and a further 10 years at two of the largest media agencies in the UK. Follow Omar on Twitter for updates on the latest in digital, branding, advertising and marketing.

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