Google Search Algorithms and Trends – Hummingbird, Panda, Penguin SEO
Firstly, we know as well as anyone that the variety of Google Search Algorithms hold the secrets to more website traffic. We’ve been asked these question thousands of times “Can you get us to the top of the first page?” or “Can you get us to the top in SEO?” etc etc
For years now, ever since we started tracking Google’s Patents to see what SEO characteristics were more important than others, we’ve held one firm belief over the updates and trends. That is doing the right thing will be better long term, than ramping up to scam-up organic results. Why did we take this approach? A couple of reasons.
Firstly as we saw up until the recent Hummingbird update that the Black-Hat SEO techniques that Offshore companies were running, could not possibly be considered moral. Keywords Stuffing, Back-Linking, Fake Websites all to scam traffic, the list goes on. We didn’t believe a company like Google would support these practices, and long term we’ve been proven right again and again. With each change in the Google Algorithm, even before they started branding them (Penguin, Panda etc) we have seen a significant move away from success in these Black-Hat strategies towards honest, straight-forward content development. Slowly putting those companies with the annoying “get to the top of google” fishing phone calls and marketing emails out of business.
Aside from the obvious moral issue we had with scamming search results, a clear race to the bottom, we also knew that at some point, Google would favour their advertising platform over organic results. This is clearly happening now with Hummingbird hiding more organic keywords. So aside from the strategy having to change for us, from chasing specifically targeted keyword traffic goals to more general organic traffic results, we see this as another positive move by Google. Mainly because it further pushes out the scamming in the space and focuses on businesses and brands doing the right thing, that is if they want to win organic traffic; working and talking with a responsibility to the online space that ties far better into a wider ecosystem like our Four Pillars Success Model.
So has this paid off. Every algorithm change has seen a boost in our numbers, but none more than Hummingbird. We have seen for &Mine clients an average of 20% boost in organic traffic, so in short massive (example screen grabs posted below). Hummingbird was not an update like Panda – it was a completely new algorithm, 90% of searches are affected. Links to your website still remain important, hence our overall leadership content approach has not changed considerably, (especially due to the boost our client’s SEO results).
So Google is getting smarter, and shonky SEOs that have built a business on black-hat techniques like keyword stuffing are going to find their business hurting. Whilst our reporting on keywords has changed (for the better), the focus has not shifted from creating regular, quality content. If you haven’t lost organic traffic since Hummingbird launched last month, it’s unlikely that you won’t. Optimisation, SEO best practice of content is still vital, as is the keyword researching process.
So what is next in SEO and where should you place your efforts? We are putting our clients into the ecosystem approach of supported Social, Email, Integrated Marketing using Content Marketing as a key driver across platforms. Google are looking for content leaders which provide context to their organic wins – not scammers! – and in our opinion it will turn more towards trusted sources with future algorithm updates.
A small sample of &Mine’s Organic Search Result Changes October 2013 – November 2013