TAMPA, FLORIDA – Google recently announced the launch of a new search algorithm called Hummingbird. On Oct. 4, it announced the release of Penguin 2.1. Forums lit up over the weekend as SEO experts discussed what these changes could mean to search results.
First, a word about Hummingbird. Google told Search Engine Land‘s Danny Sullivan the name comes from being precise and fast. It started using the algorithm in August, but didn’t announce it until Sept. 24.
Many experts have declared this update to be the biggest since Caffeine in 2010. Danny is great with descriptions, and he compares Hummingbird to replacing a car engine from the 1950s with a modern engine from today- that’s how drastic the update is. He compares the Panda and Penguin updates to changing an oil filter in a car.
Hummingbird is an “out with the old, in with the new” update. Google also told Sullivan Hummingbird is organized in a way to serve today’s search demand, instead of the needs and technology that existed a decade ago.
Can you say mobile search? That’s what we’re talking about here. It appears Hummingbird provides a more intuitive search, which better meets the needs of today’s Internet users, many who ask questions of their smart phones, and type more conversational search phrases.
An article by Ricardo Bilton for Venture Beat has this to say: “One of the most telling things about Google’s recent updates is that the company chose to illustrate them with images of its mobile app, not its desktop site.”
Google has focused for the past several years on making it easier to ask Google a question via your phone and quickly get an answer. Hummingbird is an extension of that, the Venture Beat article states.
What does this mean for SEO experts? Nothing, really, Sullivan says. “There’s nothing new or different SEOs or publishers need to worry about. Guidance remains the same, (Google) says: have original, high-quality content. Signals that have been important in the past remain important; Hummingbird just allows Google to process them in new and hopefully better ways.”
Another Penguin Takes Flight
Google’s Matt Cutts announced the Penguin release on Twitter, and said it would affect about 1 percent of searches “to a noticeable degree.” I checked some forums over the weekend, and there’s a lot of discussion going on about backlinks with the release of Penguin 2.1. SEO pros working on client websites appear to be putting great effort into cleaning up link profiles and disavowing links to avoid being hurt by the Penguin 2.1 update.
With those statements come the reminders that these “fixes” take time. Using the disavow tool in the Google Webmaster tools is a good idea, and building backlinks naturally is even better. But it’s important to remember that natural link building does not happen overnight.
As a reminder, Penguin is a part of Google’s overall search algorithm that periodically seeks out sites deemed to be spamming Google’s search results, yet still ranking well. Penguin has its sites on paid links in particular, according to Search Engine Land.
In everything I’ve found over the weekend, one old thought continues to be front and center in my mind: You must be authentic when it comes to your website.
The best SEO companies know this. Keep populating your site with relevant, original content. Share it on your social media channels to help gain readers. Write about topics you believe your potential clients and customers want to learn more about. Do this over and over again. I remain convinced that in time, you’ll see the results you wish to see on your website.