Florida Update

The Florida update refers to the modifications in Google’s ranking algorithm, which went into effect in late November 2003. This update implemented certain filter mechanisms for a number of keywords, which resulted in a massive change of the Google ranking positions of websites. The name Florida update is an unofficial name among PC experts, who name such updates usually after a Hurricane.

General information[edit]

The goal of the Google search engine is to deliver results with the best quality and the best match to the user’s search request. This objective was formulated by Larry Page with the words “The perfect search engine … would understand exactly what you mean and give back exactly what you want.” That necessitates preparing the ranking algorithm against spam attacks and manipulations. Since there were a lot of problems with link spam and incorrect search results before the Florida Update, Google planned extreme changes in their PageRank algorithm in 2003.

How it works[edit]

SEO specialists tried to find out what innovations in the Google ranking algorithm resulted in the drastic changes in the positioning of websites. Some theories about possible features of this update are listed out below.

  • Search term list

It has been suggested that Google uses an SEO filter to a specific list of search terms. Thus, if a word from this list is used, the SEO filter gets activated, otherwise the search avoids it. Therefore, it may happen that websites are removed from the ranking by the SEO filter or get a bad ranking position.

  • LocalRank

LocalRank is a method for modifying the ranking, which is based on links from sites that have been selected for the ranking. According to theory, Google has added such a method to the algorithm and therefore websites with many intermediate links were ranked high.

  • Stemming

This idea postulates that Google now sorts words with the same root word in a search query (such as tree-trunk or tree trunk). This means that Google will automatically search for variations, which also contain the requested word root.


Exactly how the algorithm was modified by the Florida update is still unclear and there will always be new, interesting ideas, which will refute or attempt to prove the old theories. The Google search engine will continue to have to evolve in order to ensure good results for its users.

Web Links[edit]