Publicly announced on their 15th bird-thday, Google Hummingbird is a swift kick in the aspen of amateur SEOs. Joking and puns aside; this is a serious, highly concentrated search engine algorithm change. Let’s look at the basics of Hummingbird, and a few common affects you may see on your sites.
Four ways Hummingbird is sweet
“To see the future of Google, look at where we’ve gone.” – Matt Cutts
In Matt Cutt’s keynote address at PubCon 2013, he grouped four key areas of Google under the label “Moonshot” changes.
- Knowledge Graph
- Voice Search
- Conversational Search
- Google Now
Retrieving relevant results quickly and concisely. This is the basis of the Hummingbird algorithm change.
Sweet Spot # 1 Basic purpose of hummingbird (PubCon @ 6:28)
If you’re doing a query, and include a word you don’t need, Google tries to determine which words matter more. This seems subtle, but it’s the difference between matching keywords exactly and matching meaning intelligently.
Who may this affect? Amateur SEOs trying to rank for nonsensical phrases, misspellings, and slight variations of keywords.
Sweet Spot # 2 Softening Panda (PubCon @ 8:12)
Google found new signals to better evaluate sites that don’t deserve to be punished by Panda.
Who may this affect? High quality websites that previously dropped in ranking after Panda, may start seeing a deserved boost in ranking. This means your high quality content still has value over time, even if you see short term drops in ranking. Give the algorithm time to balance out.
Sweet Spot # 3 Detecting boost in authority (PubCon @ 8:41)
Google wants to improve ranking for authorities in specific areas, industries, etc.
Who may this affect? Cutts says “this isn’t done by hand for individual topic areas,” but advises to keep creating, and deepening, relevant content in your area of expertise. Take from this what you will.
Sweet Spot # 4 Smartphone ranking (PubCon @ 9:20)
Google adapts search results for the device being searched from. For example, not displaying flash sites for phones unequipped to serve flash.
Who may this affect? Outdated sites, lacking responsive design.
Hummingbird is vicious
Gather ‘round the window children, and witness the beauty of a hummingbird sipping nectar.
Hummingbirds are graceful creatures, at first glance, they seem so delicate. The kids may not be ready for this harsh truth, but hummingbirds in the wild are vicious precision hunters. Google packs meaning into their nicknames for algorithm updates.
Google Hummingbird signifies search speed and precision, feeding on sources of rich, relevant content. #googlehummingbird
— Chad Morgan (@chaddmorgan) January 3, 2014
Why? Because survival for Google, as a content curator, depends on content creators.
Not just content (a term overused online to the point of losing meaning); long-term, consistent, concentrated sources of helpful information. This is your wake-up call to do one thing well on your website. If you’re not an authority, Google may look elsewhere for a more reliable match.
Why? Because Google is in business to serve searchers. The more reliable you are as a source, the more authority you earn as a curation worthy reference.
Who’s afraid of the big bad bird?
Self-proclaimed experts without quality content to back their claims may be discarded
by Google Hummingbird. To survive the test of time with Google, you need to build relevant authority in areas specific to your industry and personal expertise.
Who can you learn from?
Professional SEO consultants with a clear history of relevant quality.
Take Seattle SEO Consultant for example. From day one, we’ve been forging ahead and following Google’s quality guidelines. Algorithm updates and changes are an expectation that we work along with. If you want to walk the future path with Google, work with someone who knows the road well. Click here to quickly schedule your free consultation with Chad Morgan, owner of Seattle SEO Consultant.