image of tausif akram By: Amby
28 Sep 2013

Google Hummingbird. What Does This One Mean For You?

So did you hear that Google launched a new update? I know, big surprise right? Website owners have long past the point of being kept on their toes, but there’s still a part of you that wonders “how will this affect me?”  

What Is Google Hummingbird?

First of all, Hummingbird is not Aardvark and that’s sad. Aardvarks are cute animals and deserve some love too. #Someday Let’s move past the cute names and focus on what it is: another change in algorithm—the system Google uses to sort through the whole wide internet so it can come back with answers to what you search for. It happens so quickly that you probably don’t think about what’s involved but there is a lot of information to sort through. Google continues to update their algorithms so they can bring you the most valuable, relevant results. If you are more experienced with search engine algorithms, you might already know about updates such as Panda and Penguin. Those were updates to the old algorithm, but Hummingbird is a brand new algorithm. Think of it like a car engine. Panda and Penguin were an oil change and tune up. Hummingbird is replacing the old engine with a new one. With that being said, some of the important “parts” (like Panda and Penguin) are still there. This is basically a hybrid engine, keeping the best parts and replacing the old parts that needed to be replaced because search demands have changed since the old algorithm was created.  

What Has Changed?

Voice search and conversational search has increased dramatically. It could be because everybody and their children have smart phones. The important thing is that this new algorithm does a better job (compared to the old algorithm) of answering a search for “What’s the closest place to my home where I can buy a new microwave” based on the meaning behind the words, where the old algorithm would focus on keywords like “buy” and “microwave”. Hummingbird pays more attention to every word in a search query rather than individual words.  

What Changes For Me?

If you’re focusing on quality above all else, you can stop worrying about every update and change announced by Google. Seriously… keep your priorities in check and you’ll have no reason to freak out. Okay? Hummingbird will only reinforce the value of an entire search phrase. So if you’ve optimized for phrases that make absolutely no sense without context (such as “buy microwave”) then you might regret that. But you shouldn’t have done that anyways, chances are high that poor quality content has already been hurting the value of your website.  

So Nothing Changes?

Have you noticed anything different in the past month? Hummingbird has been active for the last month, although it was only announced during this last week of September, 2013. So if you haven’t been losing traffic, nothing more will change for you. On the other hand, if you have been losing traffic it could be for a number of reasons not related to Hummingbird. Parts of Google’s search algorithm are always being tweaked to improve results. As long as you have your priorities in order (and aren’t looking for shortcuts or ways to cheat the system) then you should never have to worry about it.

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