Late last week there was another official Google update, called the “Hummingbird” update. Google stated that they’ve actually implemented the update around a month ago, so for those that are rushing off to check their rankings, relax as you don’t need to stress nearly as much compared to previous Google updates.
In a great FAQ post about the new update, industry leader Danny Sullivan explains all the information about the new update. The key point is that this update is more about how Google processes information and displays it in the SERP’s, and not so much a major update targeting SEO and the ranking algorithm as the last two major updates (Panda & Penguin) were. So for the 100th time, SEO IS NOT DEAD and never will be. The key takeaways from this update is that Google is constantly reminding site owners and webmasters that quality content is what they are looking for. So if you’ve been avoiding having a corporate blog or think that a thin content site will convert better, its time to realize that if you want to succeed organically you need to produce engaging content that will benefit your readers, fans and potential customers.
One of the biggest changes in the new algorithm update is how Google processes and reacts to “Conversational Search”. Instead of just typing in a short keyword or two, Google wants to be able to respond to question based search queries, so instead of typing in “iPhone 5s case” Google wants to be able to effectively process a search query like “where can I buy an iPhone 5s case?”. Google wants to utilize all the tools it has to be able to deliver better search results, so the more information it has about you (address, location, preferences etc.) the better able it should be able to respond to your search queries. That’s the goal anyways.
For those that have noticed some ranking changes or a decrease in traffic it could be due to the new algorithm update, but more likely is caused by revisions and tweaks to Penguin 2.0, as Google is constantly tweaking their algorithm. At the end of August/early September I noticed some changes and expected it was from Google tweaks to Penguin 2.0 as this update was more geared towards evaluating backlinks. So if you thought you got hit earlier in the year from Google Penguin 2.0 and haven’t started to remove/disavow potentially sketchy links, you better start doing it soon as Google will continue to analyze these links even after the latest Google update was officially announced last week.
The search engines are getting smarter, and now they are “thinking” about processing information differently then they have in the past; Google Hummingbird is evidence of that. Providing more quality content and information on your site is what is going to separate your site from your competitors. Link building and SEO is still as important as ever, but always make sure you target quality links from quality sources and always abide by the principles of ethical link building!