If you missed the latest news from the world of SEO, here’s a recap: Google rolled out the Hummingbird algorithm last month and it is said to be the most significant change in the past 10 years. With this article we will try and shed a little light on the implications.
Many people are comparing the Hummingbird algorithm with the now infamous Panda and Penguin changes. In reality, there is no way to draw a line of comparison between these. While Penguin and Panda were necessary updates to an old search algorithm, Hummingbird is practically a whole new algorithm, a replacement to the very core of the previous Google algorithm.
So what’s new?
The details about this algorithm are still a bit hazy. Besides announcing it and informing us of its importance, Google has not provided much more detail.
What we can say for sure is that this algorithm is based on semantic search and helps the conversational queries. To be more specific, the algorithm is not based on assess the importance of the keywords in your websites anymore, but trying to find the meaning, to take the ‘whole’ into account and give relevant answers.
For example: if your query sounds like “Where is the closest place to buy a product?“, rather than searching the words in page titles, meta descriptions or content, Google will try to understand what you need and offer you a relevant answers like a list of product distributors nearby.
There is no way to know for sure how will this algorithm work, or if it will truly be the great improvement Google suggests. From an SEO point of view, the guidelines remain unchanged: no spam, relevant and quality content, writing for users not for search engines etc. So even if you are not doing anything wrong, Google might decide your website is just not relevant enough and your rankings will drop.