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Google Hummingbird and its impact on SEO

Google has been around for fifteen years now, and Hummingbird is apparently the biggest thing they’ve done to algorithm in twelve.

What is Hummingbird and how do you know if it’s affecting your site’s ranking?

Hummingbird is the nickname that’s been assigned to update, 90 % of searches are affected. By comparison, that’s much higher than most of the Google algorithm updates we see from Google.

Google announced the algorithm update at a press event on Thursday along with some other interface and knowledge Graph tweaks. Hummingbird was described as the biggest algorithm change since the caffeine and that it is designed to let Google quickly parse entire questions and complex queries and return relevant answers, as opposed to looking at queries on a keyword-by-keyword basis.

In particular, Google said that “Hummingbird is paying more attention to each word in a query, ensuring that the whole query-the whole sentence or conversation or meaning-is taken into account rather than pages matching just a few words”.

A lot of people are worried about its impact and of course Panda and Penguin which we’ve been talking about all summer and even last year, are those dead? The answer to that seems to be, no, not entirely. They are using elements that they learned through Panda and Penguin in this new Hummingbird update.

This is really just an extension of Google’s ongoing strategy to become less dependent on keywords, which does have implications for SEO, and while webmasters may not have to worry about a major drop-off in rankings like with updates Panda or Penguin this could be more of an ongoing struggle for those competing to get on search results pages.

For now, according to Google (per Sullivan’s report), you don’t need to worry about anything, and Google’s normal SEO guidance remains the same.


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