Recently Google released their Hummingbird update to their search engine. This update was far more in depth than recent updates such as the Panda and Penguin updates, featuring re-tooling and behind the scenes updates of the search engine itself to help it perform smarter and faster. If you have been keeping up to date with all of the Google updates, you would know that the Panda update helped to remove bad content from search results and that Penguin pretty much removed low-quality links from search results. As Hummingbird has taken affect, we can only look into whether SEO and link-building will be non-existent in the future.
What is Hummingbird?
Hummingbird to marketers is similar to buying a new house with all new appliances as opposed to just painting your existing, older home. It helps to deliver more relevant results to users faster. Danny Sullivan, editor-in-chief of Search Engine Land, put it best:
In general, Hummingbird — Google says — is a new engine built on both existing and new parts, organized in a way to especially serve the search demands of today, rather than one created for the needs of ten years ago, with the technologies back then.
Essentially, Hummingbird was created to make everyone’s lives easier through user experience improvements including:
– Updates to the knowledge graph (comparisons and filters)
– Conversational, cross-platform search
– Better mobile search experience
Essentially, Google is making sure that the content that shows in the results are designed for the user, not for keyword-stuffed content.
Future of SEO
Whereas in the past, where results were delivered to the user based on keyword relevancy and link quality, the Hummingbird update aims to deliver the best results to the user based on the meaning behind the search query. For example, when someone is searching for “best hamburgers” on their desktop it may mean that they are looking for recipes, whereas if they are searching for “best hamburgers” on their mobile they may be looking for a restaurant nearby with the best hamburgers around. Conversational search is also playing a larger part of SEO, as Google hopes to answer user next question even before users type it in the search bar.
Future of Link Building
Although much of the “spam” link-building and low-quality content has been removed or punished by the Penguin and Panda updates, some still exists, and Hummingbird aims to remove it faster than the previous updates. So how can marketers build links within these new updates parameters? Simply put, by building quality content that meets the specific needs of users and is in-depth. No longer are poorly written, low quality articles or blog posts going to be a factor in search results. Link building within the Hummingbird update is very similar to what marketers should have been doing before the update:
– Developing high-quality, amazing content
– Getting to know influencers in your space
– Online community contribution
– Asking friends to considering sharing content (when appropriate)
– Bank on earning your links naturally
In the end, while Hummingbird has not necessarily changed the way SEO and link building works, it has urged and pushed marketers to adapt to a more timely and efficient way of serving users. Instead of creating keyword heavy content, marketers can now create high-quality and relevant content that will better serve the end users requests.