Googles New Hummingbird Algorithm and How it Effects Your Website Traffic

October 4, 2013 Kenneth

Googles New Hummingbird Algorithm and How it Effects Your Website Traffic

Having looked at Google’s new algorithm called Hummingbird that it secretly rolled out, it certainly reinforces what we have been saying for a long while now. Quality content is KING!  Having plenty of quality content on your website / blog is going to make your site so much more visible over time.

It cannot be any other way and really is that simple.  The goal of Search Engines is to return the best results to match a query by a user.  So naturally if you have plenty of quality CONTENT and not just keywords and basic SEO, your site will hold a lot of credibility with search engines.

Result = Higher placing on Search results!

To understand this, try and record yourself or take a screen shot every time you do a search.  You will notice you no longer just search using basic terms.  You are now asking questions and being detailed, simply because the quality of content out there is improving all the time.

In the past if someone had anxiety and searched for help with that condition, their search may have looked something like this: “anxiety+help” or just “anxiety”.

Nowadays people are searching as follows: How do i get help with my anxiety, where do i get help with my anxiety, who are the best doctors in NY for anxiety, what are the symptoms of anxiety?, etc, etc

So keywords just don’t cut it.  Uploading quality content to your website users will cut it.  Answering questions on blog entries will cut it.  For example, we always have said to our clients, write down 20 questions that your customers always ask you or never ask you.

Now when you have done that, answer each question as a blog entry in detail. That’s how you start out creating quality content and the ones who followed that advice are starting to see the benefits!

Ricardo Bilton from Venture Beat summarizes the new release quite nicely below:

While Google has changed how it updates its search algorithm over the years, one thing has remained constant:  a whole lot of ensuing backlash from search engine optimization (SEO) experts

Hummingbird, Google’s latest update, is no exception. Officially launched last week, the new algorithm represents the biggest change to Google’s search functionality in 10 years — a fact that, perhaps understandably, has gotten more than a few SEO experts worked up.

But Hummingbird is more than SEO — and it’s also more than just search. Here are a few takeaways.

It’s all about mobile

One of the most telling things about Google’s recent updates is that the company chose to illustrate them with images of its mobile app, not its desktop site. That’s no accident. More than anything else, Google over the past few years has been focused on making it easier for you to pull out your phone, ask Google a question, and get your answer as quickly as possible. Hummingbird is just an extension of that.

This shift in focus comes as a result of some very clear trends. Mobile users need search results faster, and they need them to be immediately relevant. As we’ve noted before, the more mobile and less interface-heavy a form factor is, the less tolerant people are of bad experiences and unhelpful or spammy search results. This is as true for smartphones as it is for upcoming devices like Google Glass.

This, again, is why Google’s focus on voice search is so important, and why it’s so intent on making it easier for users to have conversations with its search engine, Siri-style.

To sum it up, it looks like this:

  1. Mobile is the future, so Google should be attuned to answering search queries in the most mobile-friendly way.
  2. People tend to be conversational with their mobile searches (“Where can I buy a new pair of underwear?”)
  3. Ergo, the future of Google search is mobile-focused and question-oriented.

It’s about meaning, not just keywords

Core to what Google is doing with Hummingbird is a shift in focus away from keywords and towards intent and semantics, which are infinitely more relevant to users. While the Google of a decade ago was focused on delivering search results based solely on queries, the Google of today is drawing insights from a variety of other signals — location, social connections, and even your previous searches.

In other words, stuffing your webpages with SEO-friendly keywords isn’t going to cut it anymore. Or, as Google search guru Matt Cutts likes to put it, the Google of the future “is about things, not strings.”

It’s a natural evolution in search

Hummingbird is a part of Google’s natural evolution away from pure search and more towards predictive intelligence and natural language processing. If you want to understand where Google wants to go, take a look at Google Now, which pulls together data from all over to deliver you information that you didn’t know you needed.

That idea, coupled with the always-listening, and always-present Google Glass, should give you a pretty clear idea of how Google wants you to interact with it in the future: constantly, quickly, and transparently.

There aren’t any clear losers…yet

What’s funny about Hummingbird is, unlike other recent Google algorithm updates, there aren’t any clear losers this time around (at least as far as people can determine so far).

“No one seems to have generally lost traffic, unlike some other algorithmic changes, which often produce vocal ‘losers’ and silent ‘winners,’” SearchEngineLand’s Danny Sullivan told VentureBeat by email.

Consider the results of 2011′s Panda update, which was all about lowering the rank of so-called ”low-quality sites,” some of which saw their traffic cut by as much as 50 percent. Hummingbird, in contrast, is pretty harmless.

While SEO experts are still trying to figure out whether the arrival of Hummingbird means they’ll have to change their strategies, Sullivan says the general SEO advice remains the same: “Have good, descriptive content, and you should be doing all you can be doing to tap into long-tail searches,” he wrote.

SEO consultant Andrew Shotland, puts it slightly differently.

“Hummingbird is forcing website owners to ask, ‘How can I answer questions that customers are asking Google?’ This is really no different from what SEO people are already recommending,” he told VentureBeat.

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