10 Major Google Algorithm Updates Coming in 2015

Google releases hundreds of algorithm updates a year. Most go completely undetected by the masses. Heck, most don't even get a cute little name. We've all heard of Panda and Penguin. Most of us have even heard of Hummingbird (although few could tell you what it actually is). Oh, and then there was that Pigeon fiasco. And now Mobile-Friendly is on everyone's radar (and—thank goodness—this time it's actually obvious what the algorithm does). But Google has a lot more in store for us this year, and it's going to wreak havoc on the search results. Here's your first look at Google's new line of animal algorithms that are going to have you pulling out your hair:

google algorithm updates 2015


This algorithm looks exclusively at the number of cat videos you've posted on social media (and the number of times those cat videos have been shared, liked, tweeted, etc.). If you haven't posted any cat videos, you need to get on it now. But be careful when you post duplicate videos. Google doesn't like a copycat. Branded cat videos are the way to go.

Lone Wolf

Google bots will soon be looking at a new meta tag called the Lone Wolf. If you are the only website to apply this tag for a particular keyword, then you will be the only result in the SERP. Hello, 100% click-through rate! For example, if you are the only website to implement <meta name "lone wolf" content="red shoes">, then you will be the only site appearing in any search for "red shoes." You can only use the Lone Wolf tag once on your website, and Google only crawls for it twice a year, so be sure you pick the right one. At this point, it's unclear what would happen if you used "google" in your Lone Wolf tag, but it might be worth a shot.


Want to rank number one organically for a given search? Get the number one ad position. Many conspiracy theorists have long suspected that AdWords has an impact on your ranking. With the Amphibian algorithm, it finally does. Now your bids have twice as much power (and will likely be a lot more expensive).


This algorithm lets you squash your competitors. Some early adopters say it's like negative SEO, but it takes a lot more skill. Google looks at the number of times you trash your competitor's name on your site and in social media. If you reach the right ratio of slander to links, your competitor will drop out of the search results until they submit a "Bug Bomb Removal" request.


This is a lesser version of the Penguin algorithm. Instead of demoting you because of spammy links, Puffin takes pity on sites that have very few links. It's a sort of ranking boost for websites that definitely aren't spamming the internet.


First referred to as the Wild Card algorithm, this little bad boy will randomly choose seemingly unrelated sites to rank at the top of the search results. It's unclear exactly how Google chooses these sites, but there's some speculation that you need some Easter eggs hidden in your content. While we don't know exactly what this means, the time to start experimenting is now.


In an effort to make designs less dull around the web, Google is implementing the Peacock algorithm. Websites will be ranked according to the number of colors that appear on a particular page. It's not a very strong ranking signal right now, but most experts expect it will become much brighter in the future.

Polar Bear

The Polar Bear algorithm is considered the rival of Panda. This algorithm targets so-called "thick" content. If you have too much really high-quality content on your site, you can be demoted in the search results. Some experts think this is the final attack on guest blogging, but others say it's just a way to level the playing field.


The Koala algorithm is a nasty one. If you have a single incorrect thing anywhere on your site, you won't appear in any search result. Remember how Google was talking about ranking based on facts? Well, this isn't quite that, but it's the first step in that direction. If you have any misinformation on your site, you won't rank for anything, including your brand name. This algorithm also targets spelling errors, improper punctuation, or even the tiniest error in your code. Some experts have incorrectly labeled this the "Koala Bear" algorithm. Just typing that in this article puts this entire website at risk.  

Zoo (formerly known as Be Evil)

The Zoo algorithm is a real game-changer. Similar to Three Stooges Syndrome, this algorithm prevents you from having any penalties or demotions if you violate every single Google guideline. That means you need link spam, misinformation, thin content, duplicate content, doorway pages, hidden content, slow site speed, and every other possible problem. If you have HTTPS on your site, forget it. You won't qualify (unless you are using an invalid SSL). This will be a real challenge, but some speculate that it could guarantee a top position for every search in the universe. However, it might not be worth the risk (even if there is one heck of a reward).

Are you ready for Google's many changes? It's going to get really interesting this year, that's for sure. Good luck. It's a jungle out there.