Google changes that will make or break your SEO

Google SEO Changes

Seo Advice / September 4, 2017

google speak nowIf the idea that SEO is dead crosses your mind or turns up in print, dismiss it. The fact is that nothing is really going to change in the way that we pursue the almighty ranking, with the possible exception of the resurgence of the long tail keyword, which was working its way back into our hearts anyway. Everything that worked before Hummingbird’s release will still work moving forward. This includes:

  • Original and engaging content is still king
  • Legitimate back links that are earned using proper SEO are still important
  • The same signals that worked before will continue to garner results
  • Keywords will still need to be carefully placed and used in moderation

The only thing that is really going to change in a meaningful enough way to be noticeable is the way Google’s new algorithm interprets the way we search.

Hummingbird Breaks Old Search Habits

barack obama googleCurrently, we type our question into the search engine and the algorithm chooses words from it, often sending us on a wild goose chase by bringing up links that have those specific words in them rather than finding links that relate to the context of the overall query.

In essence, Google has trained an entire generation of search engine users to pose questions in short keyword phrases that had little to do with what we wanted. Instead, we tried to guess where Google would take us and hope for the best. They taught us trial and error searching.

Keep in mind, search engines are the ONLY web properties with a goal to have their users spend as little time as possible on their website.

A Glean of Hummingbird Intelligence

With all of the intelligent changes Panda and Penguin brought to the table, it was only a matter of time before one of Google’s big brained developers found a way to “smarten” search engines up enough to take a question and look at the context rather than seeing the words within the query as separate entities. What does this mean for us? With any luck, it means that the Hummingbird is smarter than your average Panda.

So What is Hummingbird?

The Hummingbird is an entirely new algorithm. It approaches search engine queries in a brand new and intelligent way utilizing new technology combined with older features of the existing algorithms. It is named for the speed and accuracy of the tiny bird.

The Resurgence of Long Tailed Keywords

The Hummingbird is what Google is calling the latest (greatest?) algorithm that they slipped in under our radar in August. If the rumors are true, the Hummingbird will take a search engine query using long-tailed keywords and try to decipher the context of the question rather than chase the specific keywords within the question. The goal is to provide results that actually answer the question

The Knowledge Graph

In theory, the Knowledge Base has collected data for only a short while; however, most people believe differently. To this very moment, knowledge is being gathered, categorized, cross-referenced thousands upon thousands of ways, and stored. This vast well of knowledge is available to the Hummingbird.

search by internet browserWith such a Knowledge Graph, was it not inevitable that Google would eventually find a way to utilize this information with an algorithm that deciphers the context of all the words in a query rather than homing in on a few key words therein? This is exactly what Hummingbird is designed to do.

Was Hummingbird Really A Surprise?

This new algorithm may have surprised the majority, but many people saw it coming. These are the people who use Google’s Conversational Search. The reason so many were caught off guard by Hummingbird is that very few paid that much attention when Conversational Search was rolled out nearly two years ago.

For those who do not know about Conversational Search, which is most of us, here is what you missed, which may have been the biggest hint to date that Google was close to cracking semantic search.

Conversational Search

Users of Google Chrome may have noticed a small microphone icon in the right hand corner of Google’s search box (now on Google search as well). If the user clicks on that microphone (and has configured their computer for it) they may ask aloud the question they would have typed into the search box. The question is then displayed on the search screen, along with the results.