20 Google Update Statistics: Why Algorithm Changes Are Vital for SEO?

Updated · May 20, 2023

We all know what Google is, but do you have an idea why its algorithm updates are so important for online businesses?

There had been times when new algorithm changes would send websites to the bottom of the search or completely erase them from the user’s radar. That’s why search engine optimization (SEO) specialists are so alert when a new update is rolling out.

Our Google update statistics will highlight significant algorithm changes made throughout the years. But we won’t stop here—today’s stats will cover an entire scope of Google search facts.

Think about this for a moment:

Imagine you have a commercial website, but nobody can find it in the search. It may be the best-looking site that provides the perfect user experience.

However, what's the point if it can’t reach potential users? That’s how vital website optimization is.

Now let’s begin with the stats:

Up-to-date Google Update Statistics for 2022 (Editor’s Choice):

  • Paid search accounts for 15% of all traffic, while organic draws 53%.
  • Over 90% of websites’ pages receive no Google search organic traffic.
  • SEM (search engine marketing) is considered most effective by 85% of the retailers.
  • 75% of users don't go beyond the first page of search results.
  • It takes anywhere between three days to four weeks to crawl a website.
  • Google makes algorithm changes 500–600 times a year.
  • There have been 16 Google Core Updates since 2016.

What Is Google Algorithm and Why Is It Needed?

Search engines rank results on specific criteria to give you the best suggestions.

Those indicators are pretty complex. Google keeps the exact formula a secret so that no one can dominate the search results.

But it gives clues on when and what changes are made to the ranking algorithm.

Let’s continue with some Google statistics and facts:

1. Google's ranking system consists of multiple algorithms. 

(Source: Google)

Say you need to find something on Google. When you type it, billions of results are sorted out. But you see the most relevant ones in just a few seconds.

A lot is happening in the background, and it’s not just one simple and easy-to-understand algorithm. They are many and quite complicated.

So next time you hear a Google algorithm update has rolled out, imagine an entire process of things.

2. Google’s desktop search market share is 85.55% worldwide.

(Source: Statista)

Google has always been the frontrunner among other search engines. Pretty logical, considering it invented online searching.

Currently, Bing’s share is 7.61%. Yahoo! and Baidu are next with 2.85% and 0.59%, respectively.

How about online search in the United States?

3.  87% of American search engine users prefer Google.

(Source: Statista)

What a surprise!

Everyone seems to use Google to find something online. 87% of Americans do that as well.

Being first because you provide the best answers to search queries is quite an accomplishment. The Google algorithm must be good.

4. Google leads in the US with a 93.25% mobile search market share.

(Source: Statista)

Google LLC also outruns all other non-gaming app publishers on Play Store with 10.8 million app downloads on mobile devices.

Google Algorithm Update History: Key Findings

Google algorithm upgrades can seriously affect websites’ rankings. We’ll concentrate more on organic search results—the ones without the “Ad” symbol in search.

Now, let’s dive straight into the unknown:

5.  Google search algorithm started in 1997 with PageRank.

(Source: CBS News)

Larry Page, one of Google’s founders, invented the algorithm while he was a student at Stanford.

Initially, PageRank was based on the significance and number of links pointing to a website. In time, those ranking signals grew to 200. Some included page freshness, title tags, anchor texts (hyperlinked words), etc.

We’ll track Google algorithm changes in more detail later on.

So make sure to stick around.

6. Google is stepping away from the 200 ranking factors.

(Source: Search Engine Journal)

Currently, Google considers that the initial 200 signals for ranking are misleading. They can no longer be sorted out by importance.

Since the Google algorithm update has evolved over the past decades, these signals also have matured. Now they are somewhat intertwined, and it’s not that simple just to order them by significance.

7. 16 Google Core Updates have rolled out since 2016.

(Source: Search Engine Land)

Those algorithm changes are also known as broad core updates. They affect the core of Google’s ranking system and can be considered more significant. Since 2018, such updates have happened about three times a year.

There are also numerous other minor algorithm changes that Google does each year.

8. The latest Google update took place in May 2022.

(Source: Google)

The May 2022 Google algorithm change was a core one. Like other core updates, it aims to improve search results' relevance when responding to a query.

Usually, it takes one to two weeks for them to fully roll out.

9. Google changes its algorithm between 500 to 600 times per year.

(Source: Hill Web Creations)

Those numbers might look big, but that’s what it takes for search results to stay relevant to queries.

Simple calculations show that Google makes algorithm changes one to two times a day.

Our Google update statistics just got more interesting.

But let's dig a little deeper:

10. In 2016, Google implemented the Possum Update.

(Source: Search Engine Land)

The Possum Update focused on local search results. It had to filter local listings.

For example, if you have two local websites providing the same service, only one will show in a Google search for that location.

Some local businesses saw their websites drop down significantly after the update.

11. The first Google mobile algorithm update was nicknamed “Mobilegeddon.”

(Source: Search Metrics)

Such algorithm updates spotlight mobile-friendly website optimization. And since “Mobilegeddon” was the first mobile search Google update, it got that epic name.

The update rolled out in 2015, but its impact wasn’t as devastating as SEO experts expected… which was a good thing.

Mobile search results were affected to some extent, but nothing major happened.

12. Penguin was a major Google algorithm update that first ran in 2012.

(Source: Search Engine Land)

The Penguin Update targeted websites that had bought links to boost their position. That’s against Google guidelines and led to lower rankings or penalties.

Remember that Google’s goal is to provide the most relevant search results, and forbidden practices distort them.

Penguin rolled out for the last time in 2016.

13. Google Panda Update dates back to 2011.

(Source: Search Engine Land)

Panda was another major update that led to significant Google ranking changes in its initial phases.

The main focus of Panda was to filter out content farms—poor-quality content websites that were taking the place of better ones in the search.

It ran between 2011 to 2015.

14. It takes Google anywhere from a few days to a few weeks to crawl a website.

(Source: Safari Digital)

Googlebot is what does the website crawling. It goes through sites and collects information in order to rank them later in SERP (search engine results page).

If you hear about a Google SERP update, that can mean search results have changed positions.

SERP is what you see when you type a query in Google—the results coming in a particular order.

15. 75% of search users don’t scroll past the first SERP page.

(Source: Imforza)

Do you go to the second Google search page? Probably not… as the majority of people. Therefore, businesses strive to be on page one.

For search engine optimization experts, the battle is real. That’s why they strictly follow new SEO updates.

16. For 85% of retailers, search engine marketing (SEM) is the most effective customer acquisition method.

(Source: Search Engine Watch)

SEM, in this case, includes using paid ads and SEO practices.

41% of retailers believe that organic traffic (coming directly from a search engine) is also an effective way to draw customers.

17. Paid and organic searches together are responsible for 68% of website traffic.

(Source: Bright Edge)

According to a 2019 Bright Edge research, organic search drew 53% of the traffic, while paid ads generated 15%.

However, this search engine optimization stat excludes direct traffic.

So let’s see one that includes it:

18. As of 2019, 55% of all worldwide traffic was direct.

(Source: Statista)

Direct traffic is when you access a website straight from the browser or through a bookmark.

As reported by Semrush in 2019, the highest traffic percentage belongs to direct visits to a website.

Organic search engine usage generated 29% of all website traffic globally.

The other global website traffic distribution was as follows:

  • 13% referral—when you click on links
  • 2.5% social—coming from social media
  • 0.5% paid search—entering through search ads

And how are things on the local front?

(Source: Bright Local)

Another 37% come from local websites’ direct visits. Social media is responsible for 4% of the traffic, while 10% are referrals.

Local businesses' average website traffic statistics:

  • 15% of local companies receive more than 2,500 visitors per month.
  • 13% of local websites get fewer than 100 monthly visitors.
  • 55% have under 500 visitors every month.

20. 90.63% of pages have no monthly organic traffic at all.

(Source: Ahrefs)

The equivalent to those over 90% is about 848 million pages that don’t get any traffic.

The Google algorithm update mechanism is not that easy to crack. For the most part, it’s kept a secret. SEO specialists have to follow the breadcrumbs of clues, observe, notice patterns, and find their own ways to push sites up in rankings.

Wrap Up

Google may be our favorite search engine platform, but there’s so much more going on in the background when we enter a query.

It’s an interesting yet complicated process. We hope our Google update statistics shed some light on it, at least a little.

You haven’t seen the last of us, so make sure to come back to Web Tribunal soon.

Nick Galov
Nick Galov

Unaware that life beyond the internet exists, Nick is poking servers and control panels, playing with WordPress add-ons, and helping people get the hosting that suits them.