If you’re a keen marketer who has an interest in SEO then you’ve undoubtedly heard of the latest algorithm to be unleashed. Entitled ‘Hummingbird’ (so called for its precision and speed) this is reported to be the biggest change to Google’s search functionality since 2001, so understandably, everyone is a little nervous.
At Anicca, we’ve been doing some research to ensure that you know everything there is to know about this new update. So, instead of wondering if you should be worried sit back, relax and read on as we give you the latest insight.
What is the Hummingbird Update?
There have been a number of updates from Google, with Penguin and Panda being the most notorious with their black and white warning stripes. However the new Hummingbird update is said to be solely focused on ranking information, based on dissecting the meaning of the query to deliver search results which are more relevant. So, rather than selecting a few chosen keywords the new algorithm assesses the meaning of the query to ensure the search results are more relevant to what the user wants to know.
What Does This Mean, Will My Rankings Drop?
This is probably one of the key questions which many of you are asking. However it’s important to look at the positives from this new algorithm update, because by making the search results more relevant, the quality of the traffic visiting your site should be improved greatly. In essence, while traffic might drop it should improve bounce rate, average time on page etc. because only those people who are interested in what you have to offer should be finding your website.
As long as you keep producing high quality content and provide relevant information to your target audience you should be fine.
To answer this question it’s important to understand why Google has made this change. As one of the largest search providers in Europe, Google are committed to their continued growth by continuing to deliver relevant search results to their users. In the past, users typically searched for Boolean phrases such as ‘plumber London’ which are short and snappy keyphrases. Now, most users are searching for full sentences such as ‘where can I find a plumber in London?’ or ‘who is the best plumber in London’. It is this which has prompted the new Google Hummingbird update which aims to understand the sentence and conversational tone of the search query and deliver results which hopefully match this.
With this in mind, search results should become more specific and meet the needs of the user.
The main concern which many businesses have, is the fear that they will disappear from search results altogether and that traffic to their website will drop. Now, initially you might find that traffic to your website does indeed drop, but this should not impact your conversions.
There is no real cause for concern, as while traffic to your website might drop (something which many webmasters find terrifying) in theory it should mean that you appear in search results which are more relevant, ensuring your websites appears to those who are actually searching for the service or product you offer which should result in more conversions.
No, this does not mean SEO is dead. It just means that you have to assess your site and ensure that you are doing everything you can to ensure Google knows what it is you sell or do. Then, with an ongoing SEO campaign you can climb the SERPs, improving the amount and the quality of the traffic which goes to your site.
Is This Update Similar to Penguin & Panda Updates?
No, the Penguin and Panda updates were updates to part of the algorithm. The Hummingbird is a change to their entire algorithm which is why there has been a lot of exposure surrounding this one, very big update.
Am I Going to Lose Traffic?
There is no way of really knowing this for certain, however in all probability it is likely that if your website is not optimised for the most relevant keyphrases than you will lose traffic to your website. However, what this does mean is that the quality of traffic to your website (if you are optimising for the right keyphrases) improves.
What Can I Do to Improve My SERPS?
There are lots of ways you can develop your SEO campaign and here at Anicca we believe that it is a mixture of paid, earned and owned media alongside some effective outreach tactics. Plus, if you choose to come aboard with Anicca, we can ensure that your website is technically built for SEO success.
I’ve Lost Traffic, Is This Because of Hummingbird?
Google have been announcing updates left, right and centre so it’s hard to tell. The best thing to do is get in touch with the SEO department at Anicca and arrange a free SEO audit and we can look into it for and tell you what you can change to improve your SEO performance.
Hopefully this has answered your questions but if not, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.