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Living in a Hummingbird World

Losing search positions is serious business even when the cause is a delicate bird or a loveable zoo animal. An increasing number of companies are waking up to the fact that Google’s search algorithm update Hummingbird has a pretty painful bite. According to some estimates, up to 90% of the total search queries have been influenced. This might mean quieter inboxes and phones overnight for your company.

If you’re in the above position currently, you need to do something to get buyers back to your site. So what should you do to survive a Hummingbird attack?

Here are some simple steps to achieve a winning position in search engines:

Understand the issue

The motive behind the Hummingbird update is making search results more context-oriented, instead of strictly matching keywords. Google is attempting to figure out what users are actually searching for in contrast to just looking for a few phrases that show up in a repeated or identical manner. In addition, this update reinforces past trends of actively punishing poor-quality links and content.

You need to understand the reasons why Hummingbird has detrimentally affected your search engine positioning. We’ve seen that for many of our clients, reasons can be linked to SEO related work that we did for them in the past.

If you had hired someone earlier who used supposed “black hat” techniques which didn’t do much harm (or good), this might be responsible for your plummeting search rankings because the emphasis is now on relevant, unique results.

Change your thinking

The newly evolved search engine optimization is driven by compelling content rather than search terms. Google wants you to shift your focus to things other than links and keywords. We think the reason for the earlier focus was that this offered an easy way for search engine spiders to comprehend what your website was all about.

Now, there’s a shift from direct matching with search algorithms to models incorporating probability and logic. With the revised ranking system, elements like page popularity, the way search results have been handled in the past and other social indicators are taken into account.

This results in technical SEO experts losing their power which is now transferred to creators and distributors of awesome content.  In the Hummingbird world, websites with great search rankings will not always be ones with optimal keyword density or maximum inbound links. Those with maximum information, credibility and relevance will rule.

If you’re not equipped to hold your own against the challenge of strong content creation which directly targets your primary buyers, you have a problem on your hands. Google will ignore you and choose other companies that fulfill these criteria.

If your business is getting adversely affected by the Hummingbird algorithm update, we don’t think opting for a set of short-term fixes is likely to help much. The declining traffic at your website is probably an indicator that your company or web team hasn’t been alert enough in catching up with current SEO trends. This also might mean that there’s not been enough emphasis on the quality of your content as compared to the quantity.

The bottom line is that Google and all its users need to be given what they wish. Things that were quietly accepted earlier might be rejected now.

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