The internet world has been aflutter of late regarding Google’s latest algorithm update. This wasn’t another Panda or Penguin update, but a completely new process. This, of course, has people panicking about their SEO. We have been fielding a lot of questions on the topic, so we thought it would be a good idea to address those questions in a blog to put the public mind to rest.

Will Hummingbird Hurt Your Search Engine Rankings?

This question depends on the strategies you’ve used to achieve your search engine rankings. If you’re a follower of White Hat SEO, like we are here at Jurevicious Studios, then you should not see your rankings go down as a result of the Hummingbird update. If you’re guilty of a few black hat strategies though, then yes, most Google algorithm updates are going to hurt your rankings.

If you noticed your website drop in the rankings over the past couple of months, then you’ll want to take a look at your backlinks. Apparently, Google recently went after ghost networks, especially Russian ones. Not sure why Russia is guilty of so many black hat strategies, but if you see some foreign links pointing to your site and they look Russian, you might want to investigate. We like to use the Backlink Checker at Small SEO Tools for periodic checks. Simply enter your URL and let it run.

We also noticed sites with duplicate content took a bigger than usual hit, but Google’s been pretty clear about their stance on plagiarism so this wasn’t a surprise. Make sure all of the content on your site is original, or it will continue to drop every time a new update comes out. Small SEO Tools has a free Plagiarism Checker that is pretty handy too, although you do have to enter your text page by page, which is a slow process.

Will Hummingbird Help Your SEO Efforts?

In theory, Google’s algorithms are meant to make searches more efficient and more relevant. That means, someone, somewhere must be benefitting from them. In fact, our comparatively young website saw positive moves in the search engines after the update, and we suspect it is because of our in-depth content. There are a lot of websites out there with landing pages catering to a variety of competitive keywords, but they went with the bare minimum in terms of content. This is great for searchers looking for a quick answer, but for people who really want to take the time to learn a topic, these sites are not satisfying. That’s why Hummingbird will be looking for sites that explore their industry in depth.

Google discovered that people who take the time to type their entire question into the search bar are more interested in sites that take the time to answer it in detail. Essentially, this means if you’ve been incorporating longtail keyword phrases into your content, the Hummingbird update will probably help you. Of course, Google wants to make sure you have the authority to even speak on your claimed industry topics, so they’re also taking a closer look at author rank. For individuals and companies who have established a reputation for providing original, high quality content relevant to their industry, Hummingbird will favor them in the search results.

How Should Your SEO Strategies Change as a Result of Hummingbird?

There isn’t going to be a quick fix when it comes to rising up in the rankings, but as usual, slow and steady wins the race. Here are a few of our recommendations:

  • Pay close attention to where your backlinks are coming from. In fact, we receive notifications whenever we receive a trackback on our WordPress site. This way, we can snuff out bad links before they become a problem.
  • For future content, you’ll want to not only tag short keywords, but also entire questions for a particular blog. The same goes for your H1s, H2s, (as we’ve done in this blog) and anchor text links.
  • You can also start putting out in-depth articles, but that doesn’t mean shoving a bunch of short blogs into one long article. Nor does it mean ranting for a few pages until you feel like you have the length an in-depth article should be. The in-depth article search results will be extremely competitive, and if you want to beat out major news organizations and previously established experts, you’ll need to combine the talents of great copywriters with your industry expertise.
  • If you have content published on sites other than your own, be sure to attach your name and company logo or personal profile photo, so Google attributes it to your author rank. This doesn’t just apply to textual content either; include your videos, slideshows, infographics, pictures, and any other relevant industry media you’ve created.
  • If you’ve learned anything from Google’s SEO lessons though, don’t overdo it! Let it evolve organically.

So, who’s afraid of the big, bad hummingbird? Not Jurevicious Studios, not our clients who benefit from the quality content we create for them, and hopefully, now that you know all about it, not you.