Google recently announced that several months ago a new updated of their search algorithm was released. Not so many noticed that and we can call it a success considering the fact that last time when Google released an update (Panda, Penguin) a lot of mess was done affecting a lot of legitimate websites. The announcement was done at an event in Silicon Valley marking the company’s 15-year anniversary.
What is Google Hummingbird
The update received the name, Hummingbird and is responsible for over 90% of the results served up worldwide by the search engine Google search executive Amit Singhal said the new algorithm makes search results more relevant and useful, especially when users ask more complex questions — something that has been happening a lot more in recent years.
Google told the chosen name for the update, Hummingbird, come from being “precise and fast.”
Google search engine core updates evolution
Untill 2010 Google was returning search results based on the Page Rank algorithm considering the most relevant pages the ones that have more back links. In June 2010 a big update called Caffeine was released and basically changed the way Google return results. The index was updated faster and pages with fresh relevant content like news and blogs were placed higher in the
rankings. As long as a site have relevant, up to date content could rich high rankings without having many backlinks.
With Hummingbird things are going further and Google wants to deliver not only content and timely relevant results but to try to decode the information and answer to user’s question. Let’s take an example to understand it better
a) Till 2010 if you typed in search bar “where is Eiffel Tower” Google would have return pages talking about Eiffel Tower key as the index was based on backlinks and anchor texts
b) After Caffeine update Google return results relevant to content and time as well so not only strong backlinks matters but content relevant to time and the searched content.
c) Now with Hummingbird, Google try to understand what you expect to see and return the best result. So if you type “where is Eiffel Tower” the 1st returned result is Champ de Mars, 5 Avenue Anatole France, Paris.
This happens for other search terms as well including currency exchange , locations, nearby locations and is expected to apply to all other search terms . I would life If I say I couldn’t see this coming. Since Google introduced the live type bar predictions based on searches by other members was clear Google engineers will use the collected data on what users search and what pages are visited to correlate infos between request and result.
So you see now how search engine algorithm changed the way relevant results are returned.
How Hummingbird affects SEO work
Now that you saw how how this update affect the Google index I’m sure you ask yourself if you need to do changes in the way you are SEO-ing your websites. For the moment the answer is no because the update is let’s call it internally and affects the way Google interacts with the user and ‘decode’ the requests delivering quality results. Considering the fact Hummingbird was in place for over a month and the webmaster community was very silent about it means users have not seen any changes in rankings.
But this is, in my view only temporary. As soon as Google is solving all the issues with the update and collect more data and feedback will affect users websites as well. As I’ve said earlier Google try to ‘decode’ our search queries and return relevant, trusted content. Think for a second what will happen if you type ‘barack obama birthday’ when Google will return wrong information.
Hummingbird Update Quality Check Points
So there are several points that have to pass the Google algorithm’ s quality check in order to find its way to the rankings top:
1. Authority website
Before showing it to user Google wants to make sure your content can be trusted so more weight is being provided to authorship.
2. Interesting content; Socially approved
Is a fact Google use social signals from Twitter, Google+ and Facebook to rank a page; If real users find it interesting and share it then Google wants to have it in top rankings
3. Location match
In order for Google to return your website on a local targeted search query make sure Google knows your site is targetting that area: add your business in Google maps etc, use local targeted keywords, add your address on the website etc .
4. Focus on Long Tail Keywords
With the new update basically Google proves that user search behavior changed to the point where users are looking for specific information. Find reliable longtail keywords that are relevant to your business niche and optimize your content for them.
5. Content type optimization
Google is not about text anymore for years. Google is social : Add social tags to your blog; Link your site with social sites like youtube, twitter, facebook and optimize your images or videos.
PR and Backlinks are dead ?
PageRank and backlinks are two of over 200 factors that go into the Google’s algorithm analysis of a website. Besides this there are others like site age, social signals, updates frequency, website speed, how much time users spend on that site etc.
Some types of backlinks are no longer effective since the recent updates but Google is still using backlinks in the same way they always have. They’ve just gotten a lot better at seeing which backlinks are junk and which are not. As long as your backlinks are relevant, match your site profile and are not spammy will help you rank higher.
Keep in mind that SEO is about more than backlinks, and only building backlinks alone will NOT get you to the top of search engines. Great content or products that people want to talk about will naturally produce high-quality backlinks to various parts of your website.
Have you seen any changes in SERPS this month ? Did Hummingbird affected your rankings. Id like to hear your opinion on this article so drop me a comment.
Happy weekend everyone !
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