Worried about how Google Hummingbird will affect your search rankings and organic traffic? It might not be as bad as you think. Hummingbird has been active for at least a full month now, which means that if you haven't been affected yet, you probably won't be—at least not in the immediate future. If you have been affected, there are ways to regain your standing.
What the Hummingbird Algorithm Is—and Isn't
Google's Hummingbird was designed to do two things: handle longer, more complex search queries, and more accurately judge user intent. It’s all a result of the way that people use search engines. People have been entering more and more complex queries into Google in recent years, and Google wants to deliver the best search results possible.
To do that, the search giant's engineers had to make the search engine take on aspects of artificial intelligence. Hummingbird doesn't just help Google's search engine understand search terms better, it helps the search engine understand the relationship between the words in any given query, so as to divine the overall meaning or concept behind the query.
Google Hummingbird isn't just an update to one of Google's algorithms (such as Penguin or Panda) or an additional algorithm itself. It is actually a replacement for much of the algorithm we have come to know for the past 12 or so years.
How Your Business can Leverage Google's Hummingbird
What does this mean for most search campaigns? It means that Content is King now more than ever. Websites that produce rich contextual content are rewarded by this latest Google update. It seems likely that this will intensify in the future.
No matter what industry you’re in, it means that knowing all the ins and outs of your product or service, combine with your customers' needs and wants, is more of an SEO asset than ever.
While backlinks from other authoritative sources are still important, it looks like Google is leaning more and more towards on-page content.
The Final Word
According to Google's Amit Singal, Hummingbord is the biggest change that has happened to Google search since 2001. One Forbes reporter was told by Google's press department that the Hummingbird has actually been in place for several months.
When it comes to updates like Panda and Penguin, the search engine giant claimed that only a fraction of queries. Yet it claims that Hummingbird affects 90% of all queries—yet very few campaigns have seen negative results (yet) as a result.
It's important not to be lured into a false sense of security, however. This marks the era of a whole new type of Google rank calculation—something we'll likely see changes in as Google's engineers continually update it. The best way to prepare for it is to do what Google has recommended all along: Provide rich, relevant content that your customers love.