Omnipresent SEO Blog Posts

Google Rolls Out Biggest Update to Algorithm in Years

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Menlo Park, CA -  At an event held today in the garage where the company was founded, Google announced that they quietly rolled out the biggest update to their search algorithm in years.  The new update is being called Hummingbird, sticking with the theme of naming their updates after animals (e.g. - Panda and Penguin).

The news comes as no surprise.  Search marketers have been speculating that something changed in late August (August 21-22 is the most common guess), and some had even coined the change as "Google Phantom," a nod to the fact that something had happened, but nothing official had been announced.

Dips in traffic are customary after such an event, and there is a good chance that some sites could see substantial dips, especially if those sites are using spammy tactics to game the system.  Even the strongest, above-board sites will probably experience what I call "the wobble effect."  When a big change occurs it generally throws all of the search results out of whack when it first hits.  Sites you've never seen before are suddenly on the first page and some long-standing sites seem to vanish.  Over the next few weeks, though, the solid sites that aren't now being penalized will gradually rise back up to their original standing.  They don't fall, they just wobble.  (And as any fan of science can tell you, a wobble can turn a desert into an oasis).

But, like I said in my previous post today, every time a change like this occurs there is an upside.  If this update goes further to lessen the positive impact of linking schemes, fake reviews, and spun content than those of us who follow "ethical SEO" tactics can only benefit.  

And then there is the less obvious benefit:  it just might be okay to have less traffic, as long as you get more relevant traffic. So much of the traffic we all receive has no value.  We sometimes take over sites from other providers and discover that a huge portion of their traffic is from STUMBLEUPON.  This is okay for a blogger, but is there really a single person on this planet who picks a lawyer because they stumbled upon their site?  I hope not.  

If we think about what Google's goal is, then we should welcome the changes.  The only traffic our clients really want are the visitors who are looking for a lawyer or are doing research on the law because they don't yet realize they need a lawyer. Our job has always been to make sure that our clients sites look like a resource to the search engines for people with just those needs.  

According to Amit Singhal, Google VP, Hummingbird is primarily aimed at giving Google’s search engine a better grasp at understanding concepts instead of mere words. "The change needed to be done because people have become so reliant on Google that they now routinely enter lengthy questions into the search box instead of just a few words related to specific topics." 

It is too soon to say what changes will need to be made, if any, to existing sites to get them in line with the new algorithm, but rest assured that we will make whatever adjustments are necessary to make the most of this update. 


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