On 26th September 2013 Google came clean and admitted that the new algorithm (Hummingbird) had been up and had been running for the past month. As with any algorithm change that Google make many people who have presence on the web will be asking the question, how does this affect me?
Well Social media today summed up Hummingbird changes as the following:
Google Hummingbird At A Glance
- Many of the existing rules and weightings still apply, so don’t stop doing what you are doing if your activities are based on Penguin pleasing, sustainable and ethical content focused techniques
- Known as Semantic search, more naturalistic or ‘conversational’ search terms (which tend to be long-tail in their nature) are now more important than ever
- Google still wants to return the most relevant, accurate and useful search results to its users, Hummingbird provides a more sophisticated means for Google to deliver this
- There is now less emphasis on individual keywords and more emphasis on their collective (semantic) meaning
- PageRank remains an active ranking signal and Google claims that there is nothing massively different that SEOs need to be doing or worrying about
To read the full social media today article click here.
The main change to Googles algorithm is with longtail natural keyword usage. Semantic searches are becoming ever more important, they are however somewhat hard to optimise. You could spend all day trying to work out which terms Google will see connections with. This said the only time that this new semantic search will negatively effect your site is if you are placing keywords in irrelevant content and getting into old habits of keyword stuffing.
If you are including your keywords in relevant content then naturally there will be words around that keyword that relate. At the end of the day the theory has always been the same, write good quality content for your users that relates to the term your want to rank for and this has not changed.
The other major change, not just with Hummingbird, but with its previous updates Penguin and Panda, is the quality of links. Google has over the last few years put less emphasis on what you say about yourself and more about what others say about you. This means that it is not necessarily about the number of backlinks you have to your site but the quality of those links. With this in mind backlinking strategies are extremely important, the days of mass directory submitting are gone and more time and effort must go in to creating quality content with relevant anchor text producing links to your site. There is no quick fix with back linking, it is about getting your customers/clients and relevant industry professionals talking about you on the web whether this be on their own websites, social media or blogs.
In summary if your SEO strategy involves natural content and natural back links, Google Hummingbird will probably strengthen your current rankings, not see them suffer. If it doesn’t then you’ll need to adapt and evolve any presence on the web to come up to date with the new content rich, socially aware society.