In a flutter over Google Hummingbird?

November 20, 2013

Another day, another Google algorithm to throw a spanner in the workings of digital marketers and site runners everywhere. Following the Penguin and the Panda algorithms, marketers now have to contend with Google Hummingbird, which was deployed to minimal notice or fanfare in September of this year, to the point that it wasn’t much noticed. The launch of Hummingbird naturally has SEOs around the world wringing their hands, as is the case every time a new algorithm or algorithm patch is release from Google, but what does the launch of Hummingbird actually mean for digital marketers, as well as the rankings of their clients? Is it all gloom and doom or is it actually for the better?

First, let’s discuss the algorithm in question. The Hummingbird algorithm, according Amit Singhal, is supposed to offer a more natural way to use the search engine by providing more precise results and at a faster speed. Unlike Panda and Penguin, which were updates to an existing algorithm, Hummingbird is instead a completely new algorithm that is designed to produce better results from the whole query entered into the engine rather than picking out results based on a few words therein; basically it’s supposed to be more intuitive to produce the best possible results for the user even if the query is ‘conversational’ in nature. To use an example, a user might ‘ask’ Google for pictures of Mount Everest. After the search provides the images, the user could then ask Google ‘how high is it?’ and be provided with accurate results based on this question and the previous search. You don’t even need to include Mount Everest in the second query.

Obviously, this means big changes for digital marketers and the production of content. For one, it would seem that the idea of key words is no longer a prevalent method despite its time honoured effectiveness in the past and there are various questions arising on how we should now approach our content and marketing strategies. Many website owners are undoubtedly concerned that this new algorithm will have an adverse effect on their ranking, which will in turn affect the traffic coming to their site, and are in need of a new strategy but remain unsure about how to approach it. We would advise anyone worrying over Hummingbird to relax for a simple reason; as it is with every change from Google, it doesn’t spell out the end of the world for you, your business or your website. Hummingbird tells us at least one thing for sure, and that’s the importance of semantic relevance; the production of content that caters to specific wants and needs over generic, phrase-filled pieces with broader appeal.

Digital marketers are always figuring out new strategies and methods to help websites thrive under the ever-changing algorithms that Google puts out, and this one is no exception. If you’re concerned that your site has been affected by Hummingbird, then feel free to get in touch with one of our SEO experts to see what can be done to help.

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