This past September during the 15th birthday party of Google, the company announced a new algorithm update called “Hummingbird”. This is one of the most major algorithm updates they have made in years and is believed to generate much better search results than ever before.
So what is Hummingbird all about? Will it affect local SEO? If yes, then how? This post aims to answer all these questions here.
What is Google’s Hummingbird Update All About?
Danny Sullivan, Editor-in-Chief, Search Engine Land, states, “Hummingbird is not a change to parts of the old algorithm like Panda, Penguin and other updates. It is an entire replacement, but still continues to use some of the same parts of the old algorithm, like Penguin and Panda.”
This new algorithm makes it easier to handle the longer and more intricate search queries that people are entering. Today, many people enter not just keywords but long, interrogative sentences, and for a long time, it was not easy for Google and for other search engines to show the correct types of results in the search results. Hummingbird is “smarter” and actually tries to understand facts about people, places and things and how they are all connected. By charting the relationships between many things, Google is able to handle more of those other types of questions and provide natural and accurate results that really will help the user.
How Will This Effect Local SEO?
There has been a lot of controversy over the new hummingbird update and how it will affect local SEO and SEO as a whole. Some SEO experts are reporting that their ranking has drastically dropped in search results. However, this is possible only where Black Hat tactics are being applied. If you are engaging in such unethical tactics then yes your ranking will have a tremendous drop. However, if you have always engaged in white hat techniques, such as unique, relevant content, and high-quality websites that are linking to your own site, your search engine rankings should be strong.
It is believed that Hummingbird is going to change the face of local SEO dramatically for the better. Users like to ask questions and want a proper answer in their search results. Websites should be optimized to answer those users’ questions, and not just focus on related keywords.
In nutshell, implementing localized and long-tail content will continue to be the future of SEO. If you can adapt to these changes, your ranking will slowly become solid. Don’t optimize your site for today; optimize your site for the future.