We’ve Had Penguin, and Panda and Now Hummingbird by Google!

Recent changes to the Google search algorithm have seen the introduction of the new Hummingbird update. The latest Google innovation which they have already dubbed the biggest advance in search technology since their caffeine update, will affect 90% of future searches.

The new technology promises to provide better understanding of more complex search phrases and will allow Google to more quickly parse full questions (as opposed to parsing searches word-by-word), and to identify and rank answers to those questions from the content they’ve indexed.

So how will this affect the search results in our day to day use of the world’s most popular search engine?

Not a lot would be the initial response. The new update has been in operation for the last month or so even though Google have only just officially announced its existence and that month or so has passed by without any outcry from the SEO world.

Areas where you will find the new technology may help is as we move more towards voice activated search, Google will be able to better interpret the meaning of longer, more complex search phrases and the relation of subsequent search phrases to their predecessors.

From an SEO point of view I do have a few observations. Google guidelines are telling us there is nothing new we need to worry about from an SEO standpoint. The same factors as before remain important; quality content that provides value to any visitors that Google sends you. The new algorithm will just enable the search phrase to be better understood by Google and get the information that much faster back to the searcher.

And as we have yet to see any affect on SERPS for any of our pages or our SEO client’s pages over the initial month of its introduction, we can probably welcome this latest update as an improvement in search technology as opposed to yet another assault on the SEO community.

However, I would still recommend the following:

1. With the new algorithm we can expect search results to pull up even more relevant content. So make sure your content is even richer and goes deeper into the subject than before.

2. I would also spend even more time on keyword research and add more pages covering more of the longer tail but related terms. This would give you not only more, rich, relevant content on your site for Google to find but at the same time by adding many pages of quality content on many different aspects of the main subject you are creating an authority site for Google to fall in love with. By building your site out in a silo-structure using the above advice, you will also ensure that all the link-juice your new authority site generates is shared around your site to maximum SEO effect.

3. Spend some time on setting up your authorship credentials. As Google continues to move towards ways of rewarding quality content, by establishing your authorship you will also be establishing a way of leveraging your authorship standing across all your existing content and also for all your new content yet to be published. Make sure profiles are set up, kept up to date and added for all pieces of content.

In conclusion, it seems to me that with this algorithm update Google may well have achieved their holy grail of ensuring quality results for their Searchers in a far more effective way than all their recent SEO bashing tweaks to the system.

Is SEO dead? No way! It’s just getting harder for the average web site owner to do effectively.