Last week Google announced the largest update to their search algorithm since 2001. It is reported that over 90% of searches are affected. Last week also saw Google pushing their monopoly weight around with the removal of search phrases for organic search. It seems Google has been very busy in the news and disrupting the world recently.
So what does this Hummingbird update mean for your site?
Google officially started to release Hummingbird late in August. So by the time the announcement came out last week, the effects from the update had already been seen. Our own ranking analysis for the sites we monitor showed little movement that was out of the ordinary during the period between August 22 – September 30. If anything, we saw an overall improvement (although small improvement) in rankings across all the sites we monitor. What this signals to me is that Hummingbird was an efficiency update for Google’s processing of search queries and not so much a change in how they determine rankings. I imagine that Hummingbird will have some positive and negative impacts on certain sites but overall the move by Google was to position their search engine to better handle the search queries and signals of the future.
In the big picture, Hummingbird shouldn’t have too large of an impact on your search strategy. Quality content is still the name of the game and it is still the starting point to any search strategy while keyword research still drives quality content. What defines quality content has not changed either with the release of Hummingbird. The only thing that has changed is Google’s ability to identify quality content. Quality content is still: Content that your audience wants to read and share.
So post Hummingbird, the search strategy for your site is still the same as it was before Hummingbird. Write quality content and engage in social channels to share your content and network with other influencers. If you think I’m wrong and your site saw a large shift in search traffic during the Hummingbird roll out, please let me know in the comments.