Google's Search Algorithm

Penguin, Panda, Hummingbird, What’s Next For Google’s Search Algorithm?

I remember working at an eMarketing firm in 2012 and hearing my co-workers complain about how Google Panda was going to effect the search engine ranks of their client’s websites. One of them even went so far as to say that Google Panda screwed everything up for them. Of course they were known for using black hat SEO techniques so it was no surprise. Each addition to Google’s algorithm seems to penalize websites that use dirty tricks to alter their search results.

August 2013, marked the launch of Google Hummingbird. Google’s newest addition to their search algorithm. It was said to be the biggest change to Google’s algorithm in more than 13 years. Named for it’s speed and accuracy, Google’s Hummingbird is said to be Google’s greatest algorithm tweak.

Google Hummingbirds Latest Tweaks

Google Hummingbird is said to focus on the context of the users search query instead of finding search results that match the specific keywords in the query. This means the resurgence of long-tail keywords, aka keywords that contain specific phrases. Google’s Hummingbird is said to take a conversational approach to search. The rise of the mobile internet usage means people are using their mobile phones more than ever. Mobile search is becoming all too common. People driving or on the move use Google search to get directions, find places, etc. Because of this Google wanted to refine their search results to come up with the most relevant answers as quickly as possible.

Google's Information Card In Action

Google’s Information Card In Action

Along with incorporating more relevant search results, Hummingbird also boasts a new information card feature. Maybe you have noticed it in the upper right hand corner of your Google results. When searching for various people, places and things you may see a little stylized box featuring a picture, title, and various facts about the search query. Many people are upset about this feature as it detracts from their search optimized pages which feature this exact information.

Along with the information card, you may have also noticed the increase of videos in search results. If you haven’t already, take advantage of creating YouTube videos to supplement your web content. Today’s generation of searchers don’t like reading and would much rather sit through a 3 minute video to answer their questions. Not to mention that YouTube is owned by Google.

Google’s new algorithm is for people not websites. As we mentioned earlier many webmasters are angry about the new information card feature because it is detracting from precious web visitors. However, that doesn’t mean that it is impossible to optimize your website for search engine rankings.

How To Prepare Your Websites So They Aren’t Effected By Google’s Search Algorithm Changes In The Future

As we mentioned in past articles, your website content needs to mimic the speech of your target market. Real people are using Google to find out the answers to their questions and your website needs to accommodate those users. In the past search engine optimizers used to stuff keywords into their web pages in order to rank for those keywords. Users would land on those pages thinking that they had all the answers only to find an unintelligible piece of drivel. Of course, bounce rate (users landing on your page and instantly leaving) has a major effect in search engine rankings.

Content is still king. Having great content on your website is key to keeping users on your site. Write content in a manner which does not use pretentious gobbledygook. Although your website may boast about how your new “ground-breaking”, “industry standard” new product. If you aren’t explaining your product in a way that your users will understand or identify with, you are losing them.

While you may be the best search engine optimization agency in town. The average consumer is not searching for a search engine optimization agency. They’re too busy scrounging Google looking for the answer to their question of, “How do I get to the first page of Google?” The key is to optimize your website for what your customers need!