Google’s senior vice president Amit Singhal has released information at a recent Google event that the latest algorithm “Hummingbird” is already a month deep, and already having some effects on search rankings and traffic respectively.
The event, held in the quintessential Caligornian garage the company started in 15 years ago, was utilised to release details about the update, which apparently is the most dramatic alteration to the search engine since “Caffeine” in 2009.
What does the update mean for marketers?
The main takeaway from a marketing perspective is that Google is now better equipped to cope with the longer, more keyword dense queries that mimic conversations.
Such as “What is the difference between caffeine and hummingbird” - which, mind you, actually managed to come back with one relevant article.
Our Search Engine Optimisation strategy
Google kept all the other technical specifications very close to their chest, and hell, who has time to try and understand half of it anyway?
Gone are the days of quick fixes to SEO.
What this might mean for copywriters and content editors is that we can still continue to step away from keyword heavy copy – and we can start introducing even more colloquialism and conversations.
Yes – we are already doing this to create a better user experience, but it just means that we need to be more reliant than ever on making a commitment to continuously producing original, high-quality content.
Impact on traffic to my website
Singhal claimed the change affects 90% of worldwide Google searches, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it will have a large impact on your site traffic in particular.
From what we've read, rather than having a huge impact on large traffic shifts (increase or decrease), Hummingbird works on a query-by-query level, impacting perhaps more complex queries.
So if you haven’t noticed anything dive or leap in the last month or so, we’d say you’ve come out okay.
If you HAVE noticed something, it might be time to re-visit your SEO strategy and pay particular attention to your copywriting.
You also couldn’t categorically say it was from Hummingbird since changes to each part of the algorithm occur all the time. Think of it as part of a car, and replacing bits and pieces to improve the performance every now and then.
Alas we are at the mercy of Google.
"We’ll keep improving Google Search so it does a little bit more of the hard work for you. This means giving you the best possible answers, making it easy to have a conversation and helping out before you even have to ask. Hopefully, we’ll save you a few minutes of hassle each day. So keep asking Google tougher questions—it keeps us on our toes! After all, we’re just getting started."
- Amit Singhal (Blog post on PC World)