Hummingbird Update and Your Search Ranking

The Google Hummingbird Update

How does it affect you!

Google has updates and revamped its search algorithm in a major way. See how it impacts your website ranking now.

What is the Hummingbird?

Following this September (2013), Google now has a new search algorithm for the system it uses to rank websites search results for any particular key phrase. As per Google, the new search should provide better answers to what you ask for, and present more relevant results for the searched keyword or statement.

This new system of returning results and raking them is called Hummingbird.  As per Google, they are calling it Hummingbird as its more precise and fast in responding to search queries.

Is Hummingbird a major update?

Yes, Hummingbird is a major update. The last major update was ‘Caffeine’ launched in 2010. Caffeine update improved the way Google collected indexed the information from websites and stored in their systems.  Hummingbird, on the other side, is an update on how it returns the results after a search.

What were the Panda and Penguin and other updates we heard about in last year?

Panda and Penguin were changes in the last algorithm. They were improvements in the older algorithm and had an impact on how results are shown.  Hummingbird, on the other hand, is an entire new algorithm to display more relevant results. However, Hummingbird uses the Panda and Penguin concepts in its system also.

How will Hummingbird affect search and results on Google?

According to Google, search will now understand various parts of the query asked and provide more relevant results. It will now react to the conversational style of searching more accurately.  For example, when you search for ‘pizza near my office’, the earlier algorithm would have taken ‘my office’ simply as a word/phrase but the new algorithm would use the information related to the user to provide better and more personalized results.  So, in case the user is logged in or Google has some information on user’s office, ( or location), it can present results accordingly.

This will become more functional with voice searches that will take precedence in coming years.

As per Google, Hummingbird pays more attention to each word in the query, their sequence, and the user, to understand the accurate meaning of the query.  The goal will be to match closest information to the query, and rank it accordingly.

How will Hummingbird affect SEO?

SEO now has to become more accurate in content presentation. With Hummingbird, real content and solutions websites shall rank much better. Old, tricky methods will pull down sites further. Relevancy becomes more important. If you have worked well on Penguin and Panda guidelines, chances are that you results will not vary majorly.  However, if your website and content in conversational in nature, it does have chances of being ranked higher.

Should I be worried for my search ranking after Hummingbird?

Unlike Panda and Penguin, Hummingbird is not likely to impact your ranking and organic traffic. Hummingbird is more about understanding what the user intends to search for, rather than just being keyword centric.

You have more ways to offer content now, which can be highly solution driven and conversational in nature.

However, as discussed many times, SEO should always be seen as an ongoing online marketing element, and should be relevant-content driven.

Hummingbird in not directed towards uprooting spam, as Panda and Penguin were. It is simply a better way to get results.  In most cases, if you have come out of Panda and Penguin unscratched, Hummingbird is no reason for worry.

What should my SEO efforts focus on?

SEO is much more than being keyword specific now. In last few years, we have seen it coming key-phrase based, and now with Hummingbird, we see it conversational. You have a huge opportunity to create content with provides conversational answers.

My website ranking is going down. What do I do?

If you have noticed your website ranking and traffic reducing in past few months, you need to seriously look at your existing SEO strategy.  Are you really working with an SEO Strategy, or simply doing a blind SEO half-baked attempt?  Is your SEO strategy based on fresh, solutions driven, conversational content?

SEO should be looked upon as an integrated part of your marketing efforts. It is not something that can be just left to the guy doing ‘something’ in the corner seat.  SEO is not a pure IT function. Most companies do a major mistake by trusting their IT teams to take care of SEO, without their marketing minds working on it.  Look at it from a marketing perspective.  Implement the conversations you have with your clients and customers in the content creation process.  Intelligently implementing SEO can take you a long way.

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