Zebra: Is it the Google’s Next Pet in the Algorithm?
by Al Gomez
After a dwindling year with Panda, Penguin and Hummingbird, there’s a lot of speculations about Google’s new algorithm. The Google Zoo seemed to be taking the interest of many because for the past years, Google chose animals to represent the new algorithm they rolled over. However, as a mere audience of Google’s unexpected acts, we have to ask the main person involved who happens to be their engineer Matt Cutts. We can also ask Danny Sullivan, a known SEO guru who has been teaching us how SEO should be done.
Setting the two of them aside, there were rumors spreading that the new algorithm will be named Zebra. The guess was formulated because Panda and Penguin are black and white. It will be a combined force of black and white resulting in stripes which zebras have. However, despite the huge number of blog posts and articles about zebra, it has not yet been corroborated by an official source.
Speculations about Zebra
Google has not confirmed anything yet, and, so it will just remain a speculation. It will penalize (1) low quality merchants and (2) social media spam. The alleged zebra update is designed to penalize merchants who provide fake reviews and seller ratings. Also, it will penalize social media spam due to over-optimization of keywords in tweets and retweets, Facebook shares, too many followed link inclusions, automated spambots, and unnatural increase of fans or followers.
Perhaps, zebra will focus on social activities. This is because social signals are now being abused. There’s a lot of fake profiles and automated tweets that simply crowd the internet trying to manipulate the ranking system because everyone has been aware of the impact of social signals in your rankings.
Different Algorithm Names
There are other algorithm names that you can find on the internet. The basis is the black and white combination of the previous algos. Will it be Orca, Skunk or a ring-tailed lemur? And why it can’t be just Google Stripes? Matt Cutts dubbed it as “Merchant Quality Update” but it was not yet given a name. Only Sullivan did.
No matter what the name of the algorithm is, when you know what it will target, you still do not need to think about the name but the possible impact it can give to your site.
Search Quality Guidelines to think about the next update
Google will try to find out who the real merchants are and they have published Search Quality Guidelines for the first time. It has the heading “ Recognizing true merchants” with the following guidelines:
- A “view your shopping cart” link that stays on the same site.
- A shopping cart that updates when you add items to it.
- A return policy with a physical address.
- A shipping charge calculator that works.
- A “wish list” link, or a link to postpone the purchase of an item until later.
- A way to track FedEx orders.
- A user forum that works.
- The ability to register or login.
- A gift registry that works.
Whether it is zebra or not, the fact remains that Google will have a tendency to roll over a new algorithm that will hit merchants. Even if you are not a merchant, you should prepare yourself for the possible impact of the new algorithm.
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March 12, 2018