There are a lot of rumors and speculation about Google‘s next algorithm update. For example, right now one that is trending is called “Zebra” – I could have sworn last week it was “skunk”. You see, it’s really difficult to believe what people say online. You’ve seen that State Farm commercial “He’s a French model“…

Right now there’s this blog post, which most people point to (see below):

Google’s Zebra Update

Take all these SEO rumors that you see online with a grain of salt. The blog post above claims the following will be hit by this so called zebra update:

  • Too many retweets with keywords included around a link
  • Facebook updates with too many shares from people not in your industry
  • Any Google+ shares as this will look spammy (Google+ is a graveyard right, so any activity looks suspicious?!)
  • Owning a Pinterest page – brands only use these for SEO benefit

Seriously? Owning a Pinterest page? Okay… As a marketing/SEO person, I can tell you that not all businesses need to be on Pinterest, but creating an algorithm so every business who owns a Pinterest page will be hit.. It’s a little bit too much.

Every business should gauge what social channel their audience is more involved with. I mean, your end goal as a business owner is to be an industry leader and to help your end user (customers) get what they need, whether it’s a product or service. If you do this and produce engaging and enlightening content for your users, you will naturally start building backlinks.

Granted don’t be getting all high and mighty with “If you build it, they will come”. You gotta get the word out first and this is where traditional marketing comes into play. I tell people all the time that your off-site must match your on-site and vice versa. You want to tap into your consumer needs and wants? Why not just ask them? Honestly, customers love being involved with brands/companies they care about (customer service 101).

So, why not reach out to them for what they would love to see more of? This is something I highly recommend all business owners and CEOs do, meet with your staff – get their ideas and perspective. Don’t leave your marketing/advertising agency in the dark; these departments should be your right hand in the business. Collaboration and valuable consumer insights (putting yourself in the shoes of the end user) is what separates great businesses from the rest.

So, back to the update… The only people who really should get scared about Google algorithm updates are those who work in the shadows and live in fear wondering if their automated links will get hit next. Will there be a Google update this month? Maybe or Maybe not. It’s up to Google, there’s no rhyme or reason to their naming (the last two were named after engineers) and they rolled out the update around the end of February – So, it’s possible. Check out  for the full list of SEOMoz’s Algorithm Change History updates from previous years.