What Was Google’s HummingBird?

If you thought the latest Penguin, or Penguin 2.0 updates were going to be the final upgrades to Google’s search algorithm for 2013, you were sadly mistaken. Announced in September, the Hummingbird update essentially proved that Google’s focus is providing consumers with the best search results possible. Google is not in business to satisfy the search marketer.Their goal is to keep the end user satisfied and retuning to their search bar.

Hummingbird essentially affects how someone ranks for Long-Tailed Keyword Searches. Prior to the latest algorithm changes, if a designer built a page around t-shirts and provided great content with credible backlinks, it was possible for them to rank when people were searching for, “I want to buy long sleeve t-shirts.” Hummingbird improved the way Google could interpret text and helps better understand how the context of a page matched the user’s query. So if you were only optimizing a page for t-shirts and ranking for buying long sleeve t-shirts, there is a good chance that after Hummingbird you were no longer ranking for that long-tail term. Think about it. A user searching for long sleeve t-shirts may not want plain old t-shirts. Before Hummingbird the user probably had to scroll through extra content before finding what they are really looking for.

With that being said, savvy Internet Marketers using proper SEO were not affected at all. More than likely, your client’s websites are still ranking or improving because not-so-savvy Internet Marketers were unable to grow their tactics with Google. Or you have the other side of the spectrum, where there are companies and consultants using black hat SEO tactics, whose clients were negatively affected by Hummingbird. While many are scrambling to figure out why their clients no longer show up on page one, they more than likely ignored or missed the whole point of the last four updates. Hummingbird only ensured that anyone not focusing on the end user would be penalized and anyone not building websites specifically for the end user will became irrelevant.

What Does Hummingbird Mean For Internet Marketers?

If the Hummingbird update is nothing more than an adjustment to the results users find when they are searching, why should you be worried? Well, white hat SEO’s shouldn’t need to sweat the change. They simply need to continue marketing with the end user in mind. Remember, it’s always about the user, not the link.

SEO’s who refuse to adopt Google’s philosophy about user experience and change their black hat tactics will continue to suffer.

Predicting The Future! Post Hummingbird

If you are developing a site and optimizing the content for the end user — not web bots — then you are probably winning and will continue to do so.

Think about it, why do you think Google stopped providing us with keywords when they all but promised they would never do such a thing? Google only cares about the end user. Why? That it is how they remain relevant. How do they stay on top? The end user is essentially what pays the bills. I know you have the reverse thinking. Ad spend makes Google the big bucks. Wrong! If searchers are dissatisfied with Google results, they have other options. No one can predict what updates will come after Hummingbird, but I can tell you this: providing relevant content that offers useful information to a specific audience will still be the best way to avoid penalties.