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Google Algorithm Change History

Google algorithm updates and data refreshes

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Google Algorithm Updates of 2003

Complete list of Google algorithm updates for 2003.

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# Date Update Update type Noticeable effect
1 Nov 16, 2003 Florida Ranking signals No estimate given
1 July, 2003 Fritz Infrastructure No estimate given
1 June, 2003 Esmerelda Infrastructure No estimate given
1 May, 2003 Dominic Ranking signals No estimate given
1 April, 2003 Cassandra Ranking signals No estimate given
1 February, 2003 Boston Ranking signals No estimate given

Florida: November 16, 2003

Change in Ranking Signals

The Florida Update was the first significant change to Google's algorithm, and a game changing blow to SEO's who relied on unethical tactics such as keyword stuffing to manipulate search engine rankings. Many websites were hit with penalties or disappeared from the search engine altogether, leaving online business owners scratching their heads and protesting.

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Fritz: July, 2003

Google Index Infrastructure Change

With Fritz came an important change in how Google updated its index. Instead of huge monthly index updates (known as the Google Dance), Fritz brought about daily, incremental updates, in which a percentage of the index was updated every night. These daily updates—coined the everflux—produced quicker indexing, and more stable search results.

With the end of Google's monthly index updates, Fritz also put an end to the alphabetically ordered naming convention that started with the Boston update only 5 months earlier.

As with the previous Cassandra, Dominic, and Esmeralda updates, Fritz also took aim at websites employing blackhat SEO tactics such as hidden text and hidden links.

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Esmeralda: June, 2003

Google Index Infrastructure Change

Esmeralda was the last regular monthly update to Google's index—referred to collectively as the Google Dance. A continuously updating process, known as The Everflux, was fully implemented the following month, with the Fritz Update.

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Dominic: May, 2003

Change in Ranking Signals

The Dominic Update had a widespread effect on search results, although exact details of algorithm changes were unclear. General webmaster community speculation included:

  • Added focus on returning additional theme-based search results (rather than keyword-based only)
  • A change in how backlinks were counted and/or reported

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Cassandra: April, 2003

Change in Ranking Signals

With the Cassandra Update, Google targeted websites that participated in spammy tactics such as backlinks acquired from co-owned domains or from the same IP, and hidden text.

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Boston: February, 2003

Change in Ranking Signals

At SES Boston, the first named Google update (by Webmaster World members) was announced by Google representative Dan Dulitz. This was the first of a series of monthly, alphabetically ordered updates that lasted until the Fritz update, at which point updates became more frequent, with named updates reserved for notable fluctuations in search results only.

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See More Google Algorithm Updates by Year

As Google's algorithms improve, search-friendly website rankings do as well. Learn more about SEO.

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