The Google engineers in the search engine department have been quite busy over the past few years. They have been tightening down the reigns and creating a search engine that they say is virtually “spam free”. They have done so by having several updates, which include the Penguin and Panda updates that rolled out over a couple years. The biggest update as of late, and since the conception of the Google search engine algorithm, has been Hummingbird.
So what does the Hummingbird update mean for Blogging?
Well to begin if you have not yet been affected by the update, then most likely you can relax a bit and not stress about the new update, as long as you stick to the rules and play it safe. You see the Penguin and Panda updates were just settle changes to the algorithm that made an impact to millions of websites. The Hummingbird update was a whole restructure of the Google Search Engine algorithm that in essence was an entirely new algorithm.
It was such a change that it actually affected 90% of all searches worldwide1. That means that most likely your blog was affected but in such a way that it was not noticeable with your ranking. Essentially if your blog is all original content, includes sources when content is from another website, has unique images and contributes to the industry your blog focuses on, then most likely Hummingbird helped your blogs ranking.
What is Google Looking for with Hummingbird Update?
Of course no one actually knows everything that the new Hummingbird update changed and what it is looking for, but we have an idea of why the update happened and what the algorithm is favorable towards now. For example when an individual performs a Google Search query as a question, the algorithm evaluates it and attempts to understand “What is the user’s intents?” with the search. Google wants to do its best to then give you custom and personal results that are unique to your specific search.
The search engine’s main goal is to answer your question with the results it displays and hope you can receive your answer in as few clicks as possible. The Hummingbird update was created so the search engine can better create custom search results for your personal experience by having a unique search results based on past searches, location and your interests through your Google + page. This way every time you utilize Google it will become more customized so your search queries are answered based on your intent, not someone else’s.
Does Google + Increase Ranking?
Matt Cutts, leader of the anti-spam team at Google, has said that “Google +1’s Don’t Lead to Higher Rankings”2. Although a website that has received many Google +1’s may not have an increase in the search engines (in theory), you best believe that the content, images and videos that the user has +1 in the past will change the outcome of a search query.
For an in depth look at everything Matt Cutts and the Google Search anti-Spam team has to say, take a look at this update by Matt Cutts himself.
What Should a Blogger Do Now?
Nothing. . . In general if your website did not get penalized or have any change in the search engines, then most likely you are doing everything alright. The main reason for this update was (1) to penalize individuals using dodgy practices such as link building techniques that are spam based and individuals that use duplicated content without sourcing and (2) to better able to answer questions, understand the user’s intent of a search and make Google users return to the search engine more frequently.
Continue to produce quality and knowledgeable content that is unique and answers a question someone may be searching on Google. Make sure to always source anything that is not original to you and include informational videos, images and quotes that will help the user receive an answer from your blog. Although it was a huge update and there is a lot to learn; do not change your ways of blogging over night. Just keep on with your approach because before you know it there will be another update.