Hummingbird flew from the Google cage unannounced about a month ago and quietly began influencing how search results are displayed. When the update was finally publicised just this month, it was accompanied by the inevitable outbreak of apprehension and uncertainty. What if another Panda or Penguin was on the loose? Everyone in the internet community needed an answer; should they be concerned?
It seems that Hummingbird is a new algorithm and not a mere code variation. It has shifted its focus to natural speech patterns, and search results are now more attuned to how we speak rather than rigid “engineered” keyword matching techniques. Hummingbird also owes its development to the huge increase in mobile data communication and its importance in everyday life. People speak into their phones and tablets as they search for information. Google is trying to better understand exactly what the user is hoping to get from their search enquiry.
This latest algorithm change is just the latest in Google’s never-ending quest to produce the best internet user experience. That mammoth task, as seen by Matt Cutts, Head of the Google Webspam Team, is to try to organize the world’s information while making it useful and accessible universally. Ripples of anxiety throughout the internet community always accompany the regular changes in Google’s algorithms. Web developers, SEO’s and content providers, in fact almost everyone involved in the industry starts to worry about if and how it will affect them and their business.
Is there need to worry about this latest update? Fortunately, it would seem not. Animals of the black and white variety in previous updates delivered some very valuable lessons to the online community. Techniques to game the search engine by spamming with keywords, using inferior spun content and questionable linking practices are no longer tolerated. Justly banished from the serps with the Panda and Penguin releases, this type of unwanted content has largely been weeded out. On the other hand, rewards from the search engine in organic traffic are gained from producing first rate, quality content designed to benefit and help audiences.
Probably the major impact that Hummingbird delivered to the online community was the simple fact that so much time was wasted in worrying about its effect. Essentially, there is no need to be concerned at all. For web sites that offer relevant, user friendly and useful content, there will be no difference. The changes will just help Google to be smarter and give people what they are actually looking for. This message was loud and clear from Matt Cutts when he spoke at PubCon 2013 recently and finally put all the speculation and worry to rest.
Now everyone should relax, chill out and think for a minute. The focus should be placed on producing engaging content for audiences in all the right places and taking every opportunity to reach users in the mobile and social environments. Hummingbird actually offers more chances for marketers to reach potential customers.
It’s difficult to remember life before the days of being able to Google for instant answers. We take for granted that it will provide on-the-spot solutions to the countless questions we ask it every day. Google’s just had its fifteenth birthday and luckily it gets smarter and better at its job all the time.