Google Zebra – Fact or Fiction?

Have you heard the rumours about Google Zebra? We have.

Since the recent arrivals of the Panda and the Penguin, the SEO and internet marketing community have been debating the reality, existence and potential of ‘The Zebra’. There is no doubt that the online community is waiting in anticipation for the next update from Google. The question however, is whether it is Zebra, or some other equally attractive and intriguing creature.

If you have your finger on the pulse of the Google rumour-mill, you will have heard whispers of Magpies, Orcas and a veritable Arc of creatures. We even spotted a satirical mention of the mythical Unicorn!

So, if Zebra is real, what are the rumours suggesting it will focus on? The honest answer is that no one knows. However, there are a few articles online already suggesting that Zebra will be cleaning up social media, in a big way.

Panda focussed upon our websites and the elements within them, and addressed the imbalance of the rankings for some lower quality sites, while good quality sites were suffering. Penguin was designed to take this a step further by directly tackling black-hat SEO culprits.

The rumour is that Zebra will be looking at how social media is affecting the rankings of sites, getting tough on social media spammers and accounts with fake followers and activity within accounts.

According to the Zeitgeist and certain articles we have found online, Zebra will supposedly:

Single out accounts where there are an artificial or unnatural number of retweets for one link.

Look for Facebook posts that are unnaturally shared by too many unrelated or ‘fake’ followers.

Look for accounts where sharing of spam and spamming on any social media network is prevalent.

There’s no word on Zebra from Google’s Matt Cutts, and we’re betting he’ll be one of the first to share news about any forthcoming update from Google. Will it be a Zebra, a Tiger, a Shark, who knows?

If you have a website, you will no doubt have at least two accounts on one of the leading social media platforms. If you are not a spammer, or cheating by building your audience with fake likes, then you should have no serious issues with any pending update from Google. It’s always worth keeping an eye on things though.

As long as the content you are creating is excellent quality, and your following is real, has grown naturally, and does not involve spam or fake audiences, then you should have nothing to worry about. Spending time cleaning up your social media and improving the quality of your content will prepare you for any eventuality, whatever Google do next. And being mindful of the quality of all your online content, by regularly checking and improving it, can never be a bad thing, especially for your rankings.

Even if Zebra is a myth, which we strongly suspect it is, there’s no harm in making sure your website, blog, and social media content are all at their very best.

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