Google Zebra Algorithm Update? Or…

 Posted by on February 23, 2013
July 23, 2016

By now most people who are somewhat familiar with SEO, search engine marketing or Google in general are aware of two well-known updates to Google’s algorithm – Panda & Penguin. But what about the other 500-600 updates to Google’s algorithm that happen every year?

Zebra UpdateNow people have been asking Barry Schwartz of SERoundtable about a rumored Zebra update to Google’s algorithm. Really?! There are also some half-baked blog posts here and there that seem to be quoting each other as sources, guessing animal names and trying to generate some hype; but have no basis in anything resembling facts.  I think some people would do better to stop hunting black & white animals and focus more on their websites, the content, and how they are promoting it, but algo-chasers gonna chase, I guess.

But this Zebra rumor has me thinking…
Google has hundreds of algorithm updates. What would happen if they named every single one after an animal, and gave only a vague explanation of what the updates did? Think about it: a list of over 500 confusingly named Google updates to torture the obsessed.  There is already somewhat of a cottage industry of people writing about and helping websites recover from Panda & Penguin. Would there then be people specializing in “Ringtail Lemur Recovery”?!

Is there a Google Zebra Update? No. It’s…

Ringtailed Lemur!

Ringtail Lemur

The Ringtail Lemur – One of Google’s Next Animal Named Updates?

What do you think? Would a comprehensive list of Google updates be helpful, or create some pretty amusing chaos for those who are still trying to find SEO loopholes?

And how many black & white animals are there, anyway?

  • Chad Stewart


    But seriously, though – that’s the one that finally kills the infographic trend, right?

  • Alpha

    Not This One… I think the next update will be Google Orca. This time Google wants to bring “Tsunami” for social media websites through Orca. (Just guess not confirm)

    • Now why would Google want to do harm to social media websites? Or any other sites that aren’t spamtastic, for that matter. This paranoid belief that Google is out to destroy legitimate websites or businesses is getting out of hand.

    • Outsource Force

      a “Tsunami” for social media websites, that’s interesting, did you notice those social media accounts that are not active or rather active but not participating? say in facebook, a spam account or a persona account solely use to promote whatever service/products they are offering, sending tons and tons of friend request without engaging to those people after they accepted the request?

      i notice some spam accounts are deleted in my friends list, is that one of those updates google said they wont say a single word but we’ll most probably notice?

  • Do you really believe that Google is removing spammy Facebook accounts?! Why would anyone think that?

    Fake profiles are a problem, but they are the responsibility of Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc and they are supposedly all dealing with their own issues. Now if you mean Google+ accounts are disappearing, well that would be under Google’s control. But they don’t need a search algorithm update to do that.

    Just use common sense and behave like a rational human being online, then you can stop fearing Google’s algorithm updates.

  • Bernadette Coleman

    Nick. Thanks for writing this article. This just proves my point that you cannot believe everything you hear online about the Google updates. For those that read my article I specifically state that there is NO Google Zebra update coming I am just using it in a way to make a point. However, wow this just shows the viral power of the internet. Thanks again for suggesting the Ringtailed Lemur. He is a lot cuter than the Zebra!
    (linkspam removed)

  • Anonymous (domain spam removed)

    You are right Nick, “This paranoid belief that Google is out to destroy legitimate websites or businesses is getting out of hand” Google isn’t out there to harm legit sites that provide useful information. But, I guess with all things SEO, social media sites are being spammed just for the sake of higher Google rankings. Example: thousands of Facebook business pages are there just for the sake of SEO, and thus provide absolutely no social interaction to the visitor.

    I guess the zoo we are living in, does require another animal named Zebra

  • I was talking about the rumor that started a few months ago when a lot of people missed the disclaimer on, and ran wild with the notion that there is some Zebra update in the works; not your post on SEJ last week that floated the Zebra myth once more. Yes, you did say something about “no Zebra update… yet!” then went on to speculate about upcoming alogrithm changes and dub them Zebra, and wrap it all up with “This way you will be ready when Google rolls out “The Zebra” for online merchants.”
    So what point were you trying to make – that SEO fear-mongering and myth perpetuation is alive and well?

    If you try to trace this rumor back to the start, it is almost comical how that first post was copied, paraphrased, and cited as a “report” by a bunch of people who blog without thinking or checking facts. They wanted to jump on the trend while it was hot, but didn’t bother to verify anything.
    When I wrote this Lemur bit back in February, the Zebra rumor should have already been dead. But some people just can’t let go of it.