We are pretty much thrilled with the new Google Hummingbird update. The focus of this new algorithm falls directly into Ignite Visibilitiy’s quality content and high-touch SEO strategy. Things have changed with this new Google update. Here is what you need to know.
Google will only value links that are clicked on
As a result of the Hummingbird update and Penguin 5 (or 2.1 depending on how you view it), Google is now only looking at links that have value to users. If no one is clicking on that external link, there is no reason to have it. Google is focusing on usability and analytics metrics much more with these new updates and links are no exception. Get rid of those low quality links pointing at your site with disavow or by removing them because Google only cares about external links that add value to users.
Moving away from linking and more to shares and good analytic metrics
Google has now gone on record saying that they are moving away from external links as their main ranking factor. They even updated their webmaster guidelines telling webmasters to focus on good usability metrics and content that users will want to share with friends and family, oppose to trying to get content that will be linked to. I can tell you spot on that this is the wave of the future for SEO. Basically, you need a website that performs well in your “category” and users want to share. Google is taking a hard look at sharing metrics, so make sure your website is worth passing along to others.
They are now categorizing the web
Google is putting all websites into a category. Then, based on how your site performs in that category, your rankings either go up or down. Your category is established by what falls in line with the keyword theme of your website and your industry. With this knowledge, it becomes critical that all webmasters make sure that they are outperforming their category in shares, analytic metrics, social community activity, mobile ready content, links, fresh content, etc. At this point, it is you against your peers.
Hummingbird was about making things into entities, opposed to search results
So the main thing we have heard is that Hummingbird is about providing better results to questions. Online usability has changed with the introduction of voice queries. You can read an article I wrote on this here. Google is now moving towards recognizing things as entities opposed to search results. They will then try to provide the best data based on that thing. It may be a search result, a Google card, directions, etc. This makes Google almost more like an app, opposed to search engine. Because of this, the depth of information offered on your website will be critical. Does it answer what users are looking for? Furthermore, Google has gone through the process of remapping all of their searches to account for the new use of terms like “what, who, why, etc.” This was a big change for them. Read the patents related to Hummingbird here. Because of this, Ignite Visibility has become in a large part a creative content agency, which we love.
Google recommends adding schema.org for better rankings (helps them categorize items and establish entities)
If Google is changing the way that they evaluate data so that things are connected to individual entities, then they need a way to establish those entities. So how can they do this? Easy answer, Schema.org. I have an article coming out soon on Search Engine Land regarding why Schema.org will be the future of SEO, so I don’t want to go too in-depth here. But long story short, buy setting it up and configuring it correctly, you can establish entities on your website, or connect to other important entities, which will increase your SEO traffic when done properly. Google is taking a large amount of what Facebook is doing with opengraph protocol and Twitter is doing with cards and using it as their own. If you are not familiar with Facebook opengraph here is a link.
Summing it up
Hummingbird and Penguin 5 are new. But they are nothing to fear. If you are creating excellent content that gets shares, outperforms your category, connects correctly to the right entities and people what to engage with, you’ll hit a home run in this new world of SEO.