A mass panic breaks out among SEOs and businesses every time Google releases a major algorithm update.
But, if you’ve been doing SEO ethically all along, you have nothing to fear from any Google update for any reason. Ever. Period.
SEOs first started noticing changes in Google’s algorithm the last week of August and the first week of September. But Google denied any major updates.
However, now it’s here.
What Does Hummingbird Do?
At its simplest level, Hummingbird is a huge leap forward in semantic search. “Semantic search” refers to the idea that Google now understands the relationships between keywords you type in better than ever before.
Google’s actually been working on this since, well, forever, but Hummingbird signifies a huge leap forward in this regard.
In its earliest days, Google was all about keywords. If you typed in the keyword in Google’s search 10 years ago, the website with the word on its page the most showed up first.
Now, Google still reads keywords and ranks pages accordingly, but it understands the relationship between those keywords more effectively than ever. So, you don’t have to focus on having the exact keyword on the page as much anymore.
A Specific Example of How Google’s Functioning Changes
Google’s Knowledge Graph is a database of over 570 million concepts. Knowledge Graph stores known people, places, and historical events, which allows Google to return more intelligent results for searches along those lines.
Hummingbird expands Knowledge Graph. Now, you can type in a question on Google, and it will give you an answer to the question. You can even type in a follow-up question and get an answer to that.
What Does This Mean for Your Website?
Step by step, Google is learning how to understand the web just like a human being. So, the more you focus on developing your website for humans, the better. Technical SEO is still important because that helps Google understand what your site is about and helps provide a good user experience.
Specifically, however, this is what to focus on:
- Using long-tail keywords – Google understands the meanings among words better than ever. Long tail searches will be more appropriately ranked for their topic, without requiring you to spam the phrase all over the page.
- Providing value on every page of your website – You still need to get the keyword in there. But really, the goal of this algorithm and every other one is to provide the most interesting result for every search. So, make sure whatever you write contains in-depth information difficult to find anywhere else.
- Treat your website like your physical business – Now, more than ever, it takes a team of skilled professionals to keep your web rankings high. Just like you hire the best to work at your physical office, hire the best to ensure your website provides the optimal user experience.
Hummingbirds Aren’t so Scary After All…
And neither will any future Google update if you follow these guidelines. Always do what’s best for your customer and Google will reward you.