Google’s latest update, Hummingbird, was announced on the 26th of September after already running for a few months. Hummingbird is a new search algorithm and is expected to affect some 90% of search, much of which has already happened. Unlike previous search algorithms Panda and Penguin which were updates to Google’s algorithm, Hummingbird is actually a completely new algorithm, making it Google’s biggest change in 3 years.
What is Hummingbird?
Hummingbird is quite simply the newest search algorithm from Google and is quite similar to the previous algorithm but with a few major changes. The biggest change is that most keywords are now geared towards semantic long tail search, meaning that questions and phrases now matter more than single word keywords. Google will also be paying attention to other statics like traffic, bounce rate, and time spent on the page rather than just your keywords. Essentially, Google is getting smarter, and Hummingbird is their smartest algorithm yet. Hummingbird is mobile optimized and designed to turn up the highest quality results as quickly as possible.
• Uses semantic or ‘speaking’ keywords
• Uses PR (Page Rank)
• Less Emphasis on Individual Keywords
• More Emphasis on Social Signals and Activity
• More Emphasis on Quality
• All Search is Now Secure
Earlier this month we talked about Google’s vanishing keyword data, which was actually the first sign of Hummingbird. Secure search means no more keyword data in Google Analytics, which also means changes.
Because most users are looking for answers to questions, Hummingbird is also moving towards an ‘answers’ rather than ‘results’ type search. As a result, titles with “How, why, and whom’ could be slightly more prioritized for future search. Website owners can also expect to see niche sites rising in the SERPS as they tend to have more specialized content on specific topics.
How it Affects your Seattle SEO
The Hummingbird algorithm affects your site in two different ways depending on whether or not you already had good SEO policies. If your SEO is good and you’re still ranking well then you can most likely just keep up what you’re doing, make sure all of your keywords are semantic, and if necessary update any articles or pages that aren’t semantic. Most of the SERPS (Search Engine Results Pages) have already changed so you can already see where you are. If you’re losing traffic, your domain authority dropped, or your ranking pages are showing up lower then you can blame Hummingbird.
If you have lost traffic because of Hummingbird, your best bet is to rework your content with quality and work on making your keywords more semantic. This means natural, flowing keywords that make sense when spoken aloud. Typically if your content is mostly aimed towards quality rather than SEO, then you don’t’ really have to worry about it too much.
Essentially Hummingbird integrates natural spoken search to make room for new search methods such as mobile and voice command search. If you want to learn more about it, consider contacting your local Seattle SEO expert to talk about your specific site or problem.