Google seems to be trying to fly under the radar with webmasters for their newest update: the Hummingbird Algorithm. Though their representatives have been speaking with the press, the head of Google’s Webspam Team and liaison for Webmasters to announce Hummingbird, Matt Cutt’s has yet to release a video on his YouTube Channel explaining the reason for the change and how it will impact Webmasters. In fact, though he did post a video yesterday afternoon regarding rel-=”nofollow” links, he made no mention of the Hummingbird Algorithm. Still, we’ve done some digging and identified the key points that you need to know following the introduction of Hummingbird and our predictions for effective strategies moving forward.
What is Hummingbird?
By now most webmasters are familiar with the Panda and Penguin algorithm changes that were introduced and frequently updated over the past few years. And that is exactly what there were: updates to Google’s existing algorithm. Hummingbird is different, however. Hummingbird is an entirely re-written algorithm. In other words, if Google’s algorithm was a car, Panda and Penguin were new features to improve the cars performance, like better airbags and a back-up camera. On the other hand, Hummingbird is an entirely new model, like going from a Kia to a Bentley. Both were designed to get you from point A to point B, but the experience you’ll have in each is vastly different.
The purpose of Hummingbird, according to search industry reporter Danny Sullivan is, “ensuring that the whole query – the whole sentence or conversation or meaning – is taken into account, rather than particular words. He goes on to say, “the goal is that pages matching the mending do better, rather than pages matching just a few words.”
This is a positive for both users and webmasters as, in theory, only those users who are searching for products or services you offer will find your company rather than those searching for companies with similar search terms, but different meanings. For instance, our client EZTrackIt sells package tracking software for organizations: corporate mailrooms, student housing centers, residential buildings, hospitality and healthcare facilities. He does not sell software or apps for the individual who wants to track her Amazon package. With Google’s Hummingbird, he should not be found by the individual searching, “track my package,” and instead show up in queries such as, “package tracking software for hotels.”
What Can Webmasters Expect from Hummingbird?
Believe us, we understand that the first instinct when Google makes algorithm changes or updates is often panic, but If you haven’t noticed a significant change in your rankings over the last couple of weeks, don’t worry. Google actually quietly rolled out their Hummingbird algorithm about a month ago and only announced the change to the press last week. If you have been following Google’s trends and statements and focusing on creating quality content and experiences for your users, you have no reason for concern. Our clients have remain steady, and some, such as EZTrackIt, have actually improved while their competitors fell. However, webmasters who have been creating content for the sole purpose of keyword stuffing have a long, hard road ahead of them.
SEO Strategies Post Hummingbird
Based on our research, below are the top three strategies for reacting to Google’s Hummingbird. Many of these factors have already been incorporated into many webmasters strategies over the past few years, including our own.
No More Content for Content’s Sake:
Gone are the days of creating blogs, mini sites, pages and other content for the sole purpose of filling them with your keywords. Your content should be thoughtful, well written and provide value to your users.
Focus on Satisfaction:
Satisfaction is still a huge factor for Google. Their ultimate goal is still to provide results that satisfy their users. Thus, in addition to creating title tags and descriptions that accurately represent the content on the page, loading speed, relevancy and pages free from pop up advertisements or logins are all important to ensuring that when a user does land on your site following a Google Search they will not immediately return to their initial search results.
Varying Your Key Phrases:
Hummingbird marks yet another movement away from a strict focus on keywords, following the death of Google’s keyword tool. Thus, focus less on using the same words over and over again and more on the meaning behind your content. What is the purpose of your page or post? What is your goal? After answering these questions, incorporate you key phrases or variations of your key phrases accordingly. Think about how people are going to search for content like this and write your copy with this in mind, rather than sticking with a list of exact match keywords.
At the end of the day Google is doing what you should be doing: taking the time to understand the customer.