Updates in search engines are always an adventure for businesses that rely on SEO to connect to potential customers. While these updates have offered the benefits of getting rid of sub-par, irrelevant content in search results and preventing websites with low-quality links from making it into the rankings, the Hummingbird update from Google has seriously impacted link-building capabilities.
What Is Hummingbird?
Algorithm updates are old news for businesses that have maintained an online presence. It has become routine for companies to go through the time-consuming process of changing content to fit into the regulations of the latest algorithm update, but the fact is that Hummingbird isn’t just another Penguin or Panda. Just like the wings of its namesake, Hummingbird is designed to be fast. Instead of a simple tweak to the algorithm, this update is a change in the way that the Google search engine works.
With all this talk about how significant the Hummingbird update is, what is really different this time? The first thing to take notice of is the fact that this update affects the search engine results of approximately 90 percent of all websites. This is a huge impact on the world of SEO.
Here are some of the highlights of the change:
- Google’s Knowledge Graph has been updated. This tool that helps Google return relevant results for searches based on language and semantics is expected to be improved as a result of the change.
- A mobile phone app that will make voice-activated searches easier will soon be available. Updates to mobile phone integration will also improve the quality of search results and cater these results to the current location of the user.
How Will Hummingbird Impact My Website?
The most important concern in the aftermath of the Hummingbird update relates to how the changes will affect individual websites. It is believed that the update is likely to affect the majority of websites. Here are some impacts that have been noticed since Hummingbird took effect.
– Hummingbird allows searches to be more conversational in nature because of the way people use Google to search. People used to enter a few words in order to perform a search, but more people are starting to type entire questions into the search bar. Google is using Hummingbird to better understand these search queries in order to provide better results.
How does this impact a website? Content will need to address these questions, but it is important to avoid asking the question unless it flows naturally with the style of the website. Links must be relevant to the content in order for individuals to maintain high rankings after the change.
– Websites with superb content and relevant links are not immune to the changes caused by Hummingbird. Google is striving to provide users with fast responses, and the search engine is now tuned to provide answers for specific questions. As mentioned above, searchers have started to look up entire questions instead of key phrases. If Google provides the answer, search engine users will have no reason to visit the websites listed below this answer.
This change may be the perfect reason for a person to stop relying on Google to drive all of the traffic to a website. Relevant videos that link back to the website and social media posts that contain links to the content are key in improving traffic volume.
How To Deal With Hummingbird
The first thing to do in response to the changes caused by Hummingbird is to avoid the urge to reformat your entire website to read like a question and answer session. Tactics that can help you deal with Hummingbird without losing the rankings that you need to draw in business will let you maintain rankings despite the recent changes.
- Focus on the quality of your content before moving on to link building. Content quality will always be a key factor in your SEO strategy. The only change that may occur in the future regarding content quality is that it will be more important.
- Encourage website visitors to share content through social media websites. Including buttons that allow visitors to share content on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and other social media websites is ideal.
- Become more involved in online communities that relate to the subject of your website. This gives you an opportunity to share content with people who already have an interest in the subject matter.
- Don’t put too much weight on the value of your links. Link building is just one part of your SEO strategy, and it is important to avoid putting all of your eggs in one basket. However, using links when they are relevant and surrounded by high-quality content is important.
You’re going to get through the latest update from Google. It may seem like change after change from Google keeps pushing you to completely reinvent your strategy for driving website traffic, but the truth of the matter is that you can remain successful and minimize the number of changes you need to make by employing an honest SEO strategy that focuses on high-quality content and natural boosts to search engine rankings. Keep using link building as part of your entire strategy, but remember that content is king.