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Hummingbird Algorithm – What Is It and What Does It Mean for SEO?

Posted October 5th 2013 Latest News News - 0 Comments

google-hummingbirdGoogle has a new search algorithm, again, and many are wondering what it is and how it will affect them. Search algorithms are how the search engine’s system sorts through all the information that comes up when a user searches for something. The search engine will process this data and give you the most relevant answers, based on certain criteria. These algorithms are what make up their criteria. So in short, it’s how people find pages on the Net.

What is Google Hummingbird?

Hummingbird is the name of the new Google algorithm that is expected to give better results to Internet users. But as with any search algorithm changes, website owners are worried this will affect their SEO or that their site will not show up or not show up as high in search for the terms that they want.

Why this name? Google says the reason they chose this name is that their search algorithm is “precise and fast”. Google has never really had a big update quite like this before. However, they did have a somewhat similar update back in 2010 with Google Caffeine. The last time Google’s algorithms were so drastically changed/rewritten could have been as far back as 2001.

Panda, Penguin and other changes to the algorithm were changes to the old algorithm, but not an actual replacement of the whole thing like Hummingbird. Hummingbird is a brand new engine versus changes to an old engine.

What Does it Mean for SEO?

So before you start to panic that your site will be negatively affected, let’s take a look at what Hummingbird means for SEO. First, some people are saying that the PageRank algorithm is dead and Google says this isn’t true. Instead, they have improved upon and expanded on the PageRank algorithm to make it even more useful. PageRank will now be just one of over 200 factors that go into search ranking results.

Some of the new activity that Hummingbird helps spot is “conversational search” or “semantic search”, which is how many people would naturally search for information online. This will give more accurate results to Internet users. It also has a better focus on the meanings of words, locations, and each word in a query to give the best, most accurate results possible.

For the longest time, SEOs have been focusing solely on keywords which is now proven to be the wrong approach because the focus should have always been on the user intent and engagement. This approach to SEO has changed overtime and Hummingbird takes it a step further. Web analytics tools that give detailed insights into customer’s behavior will play an even bigger role in the future apart from merely keyword data.

Is SEO Dead?

So does this mean you don’t have to worry about SEO anymore? Absolutely not. SEO is not dead and in fact, it’s more important than ever before when it comes to accurate search results. Google says there is nothing new or different that publishers need to be concerned with about Hummingbird but rather to continue with high-quality, original content and natural search efforts. All of the social signals that were important in the past will still be important today.

There is no better time than now to take a look at your SEO and current site content and ensure it’s all up to par. You want to be sure that your site is answering all your customer’s questions with quality original content and enticing call to action. If you have questions about this or Hummingbird, or need help analyzing your SEO, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

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