Google Hummingbird Update And SEO Techniques To Boost SERPs

Google Update on Small Sites or Google Hummingbird in short could possible be the biggest overhaul done by this giant search engine after Caffeine update. We all know that the latest Google Update took place on 21st August 2013 and at that time, Google didn't break the news which left everyone wondering.

On the eve of Google's 15th years celebration, the search engine giant decided to break the ice and basically, took the world by storm; Introducing Google Hummingbird Update.

Google Hummingbird is the latest Google Update that took the world by storm

What is Google Hummingbird?

The Hummingbird update is said to be a major update in terms of how the search engine index works and linking of search queries. Here's a snippet from a very popular SEO site:

Hummingbird is a definite expansion of Google's semantic capability evident at the search interface level that reveals, significantly, two things,' said David Amerland, search engine expert and author of Google Semantic Search, 'First, Google has increased its ability to deal with complex search queries which means that it also has got better at indexing entities in Web documents. Second, it has got a lot better at relationally linking search queries and Web documents which means that its Knowledge Graph must be considerably enriched. - Search Engine Land

And my take on Google Hummingbird update are as below:

Hummingbird update was rolled out to focus more on the meanings behind the words. For example, search queries will now concentrate more on each word in the search query instead of the keywords only. This means that Google will take account what the whole conversation, sentence or question is all about with the hopes to return more exact search results.

What do you understand from the above? Personally, I love SEO and been a huge fan of it since early 2010. This update seems to be very focused in several parts and which will affect us all dearly;

  1. Choices of keywords
  2. Possibility of new requirements to get blogs and articles indexed faster
  3. The importance of human factor (human intent)

Behold~ Here's my disclaimer: The above are just the icing of the cake. I will also share with you not one but three simple SEO techniques which can (and possibly) help you rank better on search engines below. So yes, expect this to be a long article. Bookmark this right now and come back for more, from time to time.

Google Hummingbird's search queries update

Google hummingbird is said to have changed it's algorithm in search queries

How did Google Hummingbird affected user's search queries?

As seen above, Google said that they had updated the search queries and for me, this affected a lot on micro niche sites. Before we go deeper into the topic, here's a simple food for thought question.

How often do you type a two letter words on Google? Possibly one out of ten times maybe?

That's the whole point!

Nowadays, we are typing nearly a complete sentence whenever we are searching for information. Google algorithm update affects how the search engine figures out what you are actually searching for. In other words, this makes Google better at solving complicated search queries.

This also means that every blog or website has a greater chance of ranking well on search engine if you are using the right keywords. And this my friends, is just one part of it.

Using the right keyword does have its advantages in terms of ranking but there are also many factors you need to consider such as keyword density, using the related keywords and most importantly, the overall SEO practices for the whole website.

Did Hummingbird update really affected the way a blog or website get indexed?

The latest Google update has impacted the way websites are indexed by crawlers

How fast can your website get indexed by Google?

Honestly speaking, I have no idea and if I would, I could possibly be working with Google right now!

I did a quick test recently and I noticed that some of my articles got indexed rather fast (faster than usual). I am not talking about weeks but in terms of days!

So, is this really the effects of Google Hummingbird? What do you think?

Personally, I think there is a strong connection here. Basically, sites who gets lots of 'publicity' and social signals could prove to the search engine that "Hey, people are sharing my writings and so should you (Google)".

More social shares could help to speed up the time needed for search engine indexing.

Like what I said above, there are many factors affecting how a blog or article get showed up on search engines but it is safe to say that proper keyword usage is more important than ever.

Google understands that everyone (including you and me) are often using specific keywords to rank an article. However, the biggest question for this is how far does that particular keyword helps in enriching the article?

Just because we had used that keyword a dozen times doesn't prove that it is related to the article at all.

Top SEO techniques to counter-attack Google Hummingbird

SEO techniques that can help you avoid Google Hummingbird update

If you got hit by Google Hummingbird, how do you recover from the impact?

It doesn't matter if Hummingbird affected your website but you are here because you want to rank your blog better. If you are not, please ... please click on the 'X' button on the top right of the screen now.

Before I disappoint you, allow me to be completely honestly with you. These are not your usual SEO techniques but they work extremely well for me.

My goal is to have a balance mixture of psychology (human intent), content and authorship to boost the overall SEO ranking. Personally, I call this indirect SEO.

These SEO techniques I am about to share with you are mostly two sided blades. A wrong move could easily crumble your SEO strategies and even backfire on your blog. However if practiced correctly, you stand a good chance to skyrocket your blog traffic.

1. Content do not need to be SEO rich

Content do not need to be SEO rich in Google Hummingbird

Over optimizing your website is not good in terms of SEO

Yup, you hear me right. If you have focus a lot on your blog or website content and positing well on search engines, you do not need to pay thousand of dollars to SEO agencies to do it for you. Plus, you can get all the basic SEO strategies using Yoast SEO plugin.


Gone were the days where SEO is the only factor when it comes to blog ranking. It is not debatable that SEO still plays a factor in terms of blog ranking but there are far more important factors which could affect it.

If you are about to publish a blog post, ask yourself these, "Will my readers be happy with what they read? Is this what they are looking for?"

You see, building a good and strong presence is vital when it comes to surviving in this blogging industry. This is why you need all hands on deck and making sure your content is not only able to fulfill but to satisfy your readers which leads to point #2.

If you want to score well in SEO, then you need to know the basics and you can start off by checking out these articles:

2. Rich quality content is definitely needed

Quality content will rank your blog better on search engine result pahes

Content still plays an important role in terms of SEO

This is some sort of a no-brainer. Words around popular search engine forums are saying that Google is looking for more unique content than just plain articles.

Now let's see this in the perspective of a reader, shall we?

Imagine reading through 5 different blogs and all of them are sharing the same information. The only difference between them are the titles and headings. Does this really enrich your search experience?

Definitely not!

When you are blogging, make sure that you are NOT doing what others are doing ... or at least try not to. Of course, with over 60 million blogs out there, this is rather insane and impossible to accomplish but at least, you don't copy and paste everything that you read.

Readers love to read contents which are unique and they could possibly not find any of those anywhere else (yet). Do this and you will find them coming back for more and if Google sees good traffic coming from your blog, it is a signal to send even more traffic towards your blog.

Take a moment to think about this. Does this makes all the sense to you?

If you want to read more about this, I highly recommend you to read this article, Top 6 Blogging Tips To Build Better Blog Ranks.

3. The love-hate authorship factors

Does Google authorship have affect on blog ranking?

Do you agree that Google Authorship plays a role in terms of blog ranking?

Let us go back memory lane for a moment. When Google+ was first announced, it was a huge hype and everyone was trying to enable Google Authorship on their blogs.

We all thought that it was a good way to boost SEO and so long live the hype until recently. A long discussion was done recently among Google+ community and it was confirmed that Google Authorship doesn't affect SEO at all.

So, here's the question, "What is the relationship between content authorship and Hummingbird?"

This is because content seems to be the biggest emphasis for Hummingbird update, it is very likely that authorship (which is rather useless somewhere now) will become an important factor when it comes to optimization.

We all know Google had long been trying to compete with Facebook and thus, Google Authorship could be the only thing that distinguish both the social media platforms.

With proper Google authorship settings, Google is able to attribute the content back to the author and yes, publishing a pretty face right below the URL.

And you might be thinking ... you ain't got the time to enable Facebook graph, fail to enable Twitter cards or probably, had no idea what Google Interactive Post is all about. I got it, really.

Personally, I have always wanted to enable these features with some coding but thanks to my limited knowledge on the matter, most of the time it ended up as a disaster until recently.

I came across WPSocial thanks to Ana Hoffman from Traffic Generation Cafe when she published Schema Markup. I wouldn't even thought of bringing this up until Hummingbird update and all the hype about Google Authorship plus the open graph features.

Then it struck my mind on how important Open Graph and all these microdata is for bloggers. Thank God I was using WPSocial SEO Booster.

WPSocial SEO Booster is one of the best SEO plugin for bloggers

In short, WPSocial SEO Booster is used to make sure that proper markups are done correctly for your blogs. It may and may not have a difference when it comes to the naked eyes but this is a whole different scenario when it comes to search engines.

If you have read above, you would know that authorship is important and it is a great way to prove to search engines that you are genuine. WPSocial SEO Booster will help you in terms of:

  1. Creating correct microdata for your blog
  2. Enable authorship markup
  3. Facebook Open Graph integration
  4. Twitter cards
  5. Increase site performance
  6. Review features, social sharing button and Google Interactive features included
  7. And a dozen more features ...

The main reason for me to bring this up is because it had helped me a lot in terms of additional marking up features. Don't get me wrong. I love Genesis Framework and the HTML5 markup is extremely useful.

However in this SEO and blogging industry, I need more than that to compete and therefore, I opt to try WPSocial which turned out to be great!

You can try WPSocial today for only $29.60 and ask for a refund if you are not happy with it. No strings attached and there's an offer Mike (developer of WPSocial) is throwing in ... a whopping 20% discount if you try it out during October 2013.

Again, don't take my word for it as it might be biased. However, I see no reason why you shouldn't give it at least a try since you are given a guaranteed refund and a nice discount right?

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Try WPSocial today and get additional 20% discount of your total bill now!

So, what is the future that lies in Google and search engines algorithm?

The launch of Google Hummingbird

The way I see it, Google is trying to make its search queries even easier to manage and control. This means that producing better search results for all of us.

And if you ask me, I dare to say Google Hummingbird have affected many sites. I noticed is that many micro niche and general blogs were hit pretty bad from this update even though I know some survived the impact.

Personally, I know a few niche bloggers who had huge drop in traffic from about a thousand visitors a day down to 250 or less.

Here's my take on this. Google is trying to reduce the number of micro niche blogs showing up on search engine result pages and I totally understand it. Not just any micro niche blogs but those with low quality.

From Google's perspective, it could mean that bloggers are trying to 'influence' the search engine rankings just to earn extra income. And trust me, it is rather easy to rank well on search engines as long as you are able to find low competition keywords.

Furthermore, how many micro niche blogging sites that are really that good in terms of quality? Most of them are living of affiliate sales or Google Adsense. So yes, go figure!

From the point of a blogger myself, running a micro niche blog doesn't mean that we are doing any black hat SEO. We are just trying to rank well using low ranking keywords. Of course, we are sharing information that we might not know at all and practicing keyword stuffing which isn't really right.

Well, I am not saying that all micro niche bloggers are bad as I know quite a number of bloggers who are really experienced and sharing specific niche blogs to help others.

It's just that there are many other bloggers who are trying to replicate the same success with the hopes of earning more money online and indirectly, affecting the search results one way or another.

So, Hummingbird update could be a way to control the number of micro niche sites showing up on search engines. This means that Google want those niche blogs to rank well only if they have quality contents.

For me, that's a very good deal indeed. Okay, I know this is going to spark a lot of controversial and thus, I am going to leave it as what it is right now.

Did I miss out anything?

Let's face it guys. Google is continuing its journey where 'Content is King' and understanding user search intent is the end goal. It is all about improving the search engine results and I think it is doing very well indeed.

However, this had a great impact on bloggers and the latest update from Google really says it all. SEO is ever changing and the biggest question now is, "Are you (and your blog) up for the challenge?"

What do you think about this? Agree to disagree? Hit the reply button below and let's discuss.

The Truth Behind Google Panda Update On Small Sites (Hummingbird)

Some of you might not have realized this but Google Panda Update on Small Sites (Hummingbird) took placed approximately on 21st August 2013. Yes, it happened and I'm not joking.

This basically went live right after Matt Cutts gave a quick shout on Twitter as seen below:

Matt Cutt's Twitter shout on small sites ranknig well

According to my sources, this particular Google Panda Update (Hummingbird) was reported not a few but from all of the major SEO blogs in the world. However, there was no comment given by Google on the matter.

Latest update by Google on 26th September 2013 on the update as below:

Google announced the Hummingbird update. We believe this update maybe associated with what we're calling the Panda Small Sites update.

Q: How big a change is Hummingbird? Singhal (a Google engineer) says it's as big as the change to the last algorithm, known as Caffeine. It happened about a month ago (late August).

Q: How specifically is Hummingbird better: Singhal says it's essentially to better answer the much more complex queries people are making. It impacts all kinds of queries, but far more effective on long, complex questions that we're getting many more of now.

Q: Examples? Hard to be specific, but essentially, with more complex queries, the algorithm can better understand concepts vs. words as well as relationships between concepts.

Q: How is this different in nature from Caffeine? This is clearly more focused on ranking sites better for relevance, while Caffeine was more focused on better indexing and crawling of sites.

Hummingbird gave us an opportunity to rethink how we can reuse all these new services to improve search results.

Before we discuss further, I want to take the opportunity to share with all of you one of the best SEO tools I could not leave without ... Fruition.

Fruition is a free SEO tool for bloggers

What is Fruition?

Introducing Fruition - freemium SEO / analytic tool for bloggers

Fruition is a tool used by several bloggers (including me) to check on our blogs' analytics. Basically, this is a great tool if you are a SEO enthusiast or running an SEO agency.

For a normal blogger, you might find this tool rather useless (seriously speaking).

What Fruition does is that it offers you the ability to check on Google Updates or any penalty slapped by Google.

Fruition data or chart is pretty straight forward with accurate data and colours. It calculates the probability of a Google update towards your blog by measuring on the data (especially traffic) collected from Google Analytics.

Basically, the data collected are then compared with the 'before and after' stats from the date of the update.

Obviously, you could do this manually but I would rather have a SEO program or tool to that for me. Fruition doesn't only collect data from your Google Analytics but as well as comparing the data with other big SEO websites to verify on the information.

Fruition is a great SEO tool to check on Google Penalty

One of Fruition's stats sorted out by date

What I love most is the colour schemes provided by Fruition.

Green - positive impact

Yellow - no impact

Orange - high likelihood of negative impact

Red - negative impact

This means that for every news release, you are (indirectly) bound to understand how Google works if you do your 'homework'. I will explain more on this in a moment time.

*Looking for Fruition link? Free link is given at the bottom of the page 🙂

Want to learn more about Google Analytics? I highly recommend taking some time reading Advanced Web Metrics by Brian Clifton.

My blog stats using Fruition

The last Google Panda Update on small sites affected my blog

Fruition stats showing a huge chance of Google Update impact

As you can see above, my blog has a 99.4% chance of being affected by the 'mini' Google Update.

Now, let's have a look at my Google Analytics for the stats.

My Google Analytics stats comparing to Google Panda Update impact

Green is the date where Google update happened. Red was the impact towards my blog

Google Panda Update on small sites was said to happened somewhere close to 21st August 2013 and therefore, I will take 7 days in advance as the starting point for some blog traffic comparison.

Search engine traffic before the Google Update was around 136 hits per day on average.

Right after the update, traffic from search engines were slowly reducing and everything started to fall right after 23rd August 2013. Yup, my search engine traffic reduced closed to 50% of what I am usually getting.

So the biggest question was, "Did Google Panda Update on small sites really took place?"

Honestly, we had no idea (I wish I had though) but it certainly looks 'happening' to my blog.

What did I do (wrong) to get 'hit' by Google Panda Update?

I did thought about this and to be exact, it took me 72 hours to finish my 'small research'.

Basically, I did nothing wrong (no black hat SEO if that's what you are wondering at the back of your head) and of course, if I am not doing anything wrong, why would I be 'penalized' right?

I would blame this on my approach. Yes, my blogging approach.

When I started this blog, I was determined to rank fast using white hat SEO. I did my homework on the types of keywords to use on each article and even calculated the keyword density of specific keywords on my blog (to name a few).

By now, you can call me a SEO freak and I wouldn't mind.

There are also a few more white hat SEO techniques I used to rank well on search engine result pages (which I can't disclose for obvious reasons).

The results? Ranking 242 keywords to be exact on search engines and about 15 of my articles are on the first page of Google.

Important disclaimer: I am not boosting but I am just sharing my experience (plus stupidity).

Imagine 90 days blogging and ranking 242 keywords on page one of Google (SERP's). What do you think?




Yup ... It does look so obvious that I am using some black hat SEO technique right?!

That's what I am talking about. I was ranking my keywords too fast on search engines using white hat SEO.


Black Hat SEO has many negative effect on search engine ranking

Black hat SEO ... is so not my type

Did I really use black hat SEO to rank my keywords?

I know this sounds funny but that's the fact. I really didn't use any (yes the big word 'ANY') black hat SEO techniques at all. And, I didn't manipulate the search results too.

However, the results for me to be able to rank so many articles on first page Google does sounds very illegal I would say!

At times, I would simply blame myself for being over 'enthusiastic' when it comes to search engine optimization.

What did I learned from this Google Panda Update on small sites (hummingbird)?

I am a strong believer that it is easy to rank on search engines as long as the plan is right. Now, rushing to rank so many keywords on first page of Google is definitely a crazy thing to do (honestly speaking).

When it comes to SEO and overcoming any Panda Update, it is best to leave it as natural as possible. You can't really beat Google and every updates done by Google is to 'compliment' the previous updates.

Search engine optimization is indeed, very simple as I had previously wrote. All you need to do is to ensure that those backlinks you are getting ... are coming from natural sources (no paid links etc).

Another thing I learned from this Google Update (hummingbird) is that big daddy Google is focusing on very minor and petty stuffs like blog's domain age and the numbers of articles able to rank well on Google.

Does this article makes any sense to you?

Using the comment form below, tell me if this article makes absolutely logic to you. For me, it is a lesson well learned.

It was fun being able to rank pretty good on search engines but again, it come with a huge sacrifice too!

For those are interested to try on Fruition, here's the link for it. All you need to do is to link up to your Google Analytics and the stats will start rolling in.

Of course, I am off to 'lick my wounds' but guys, tell me what you think below 🙂

How Website Optimization Can Save You From The Google Penguin Update?

Are you doing any website optimization? If you have not, you better do as the next Google Penguin Update is on it's way.

Don't freak out as this article will explain in detail how you can prepare for the next Google Update (and probably rank better with the correct search engine optimization techniques).

As we all know, the latest Google Penguin update was rolled out recently (22nd May 2013 to be exact). Many websites were affected from the update including some of mine.

I was lucky that I managed to run several test websites prior to the Google update and let me share with you how website optimization can save your website from all the negative things Google Penguin can throw at you.

Before that, here are my Google Analytics results with two different websites:

Website A

Website optimization is very important in terms of search engine optimization

Without quality content, websites are very prone to receive penalties from Google

Website B

Optimizing website in terms of content and keywords are very important to prepare for Google update

Quality content, search engine optimization and keywords all play a huge factor in terms of increasing website traffic

Google Penguin Update happened on 22nd May 2013 and I marked it right on both the charts. Website A was hit badly with an average of 25% traffic reduction right after the Google update. On the other hand, website B (with good SEO and content optimization techniques) was not only able to escape the traffic reduction but slowly but surely, increasing in traffic on a daily basis.

Now, what did I learn from the latest Google Penguin Update?

  1. Google doesn't care on cheap or low quality backlinks anymore.
  2. Google algorithm is 'adapting' to human behavior; readers love to read quality articles and thus, good posts will benefit from this update.
  3. Search engine optimization (especially website optimization) techniques are very important to increase website traffic.
  4. It doesn't matter on the number of posts the website has or the domain age. It is all about quality.
  5. Content is still king and SEO had just became more important.

p/s: Website A is having a domain age of 3 years while website B is just 6 months old

How to perform website optimization for your websites?

I am pretty sure I got your attention with the result images above (well, please lie to me if they didn't attract you that much). Now, take a 5 minute break and jot down what you have in your mind when it comes to website optimization. Yes, I will wait for you right here.

Now, let's say you have five ideas which you believe are the best for website optimization. Let's compare with mine, shall we?

What are SEO best practices to boost website ranking?

What are the tooltips when it comes to optimizing websites?

Website optimization technique #1 - Reduce your website loading time

Serious mate. If you want Google to love your website, then start boosting your website loading speed. We all hate slow loading websites right? For me, if the website takes more than 5 seconds to load, I am going to close it. Sorry!

Still not convinced? See what major search engines say about website loading speed below:

Website optimization technique #2 - Keywords are as important as content

Search engines such as Google loves to index blogs and websites which are loaded with good quality articles. And yes, you got it right! One of the basics of writing good quality articles is by using the right keywords.

There are many SEO tools bloggers and webmasters can use when it comes to choosing the right keywords. All it would probably take is a few hours of your precious time and Google (and other search engines) will really appreciate your hard work by giving you more 'ranking points' for your websites.

For starters, Google Keyword Tool is one of the best free SEO tools available for bloggers. If you are running a SEO agency or would want to perform SEO for a small scale business, I would highly recommend you to try this premium SEO tool for free!

Website optimization technique #3 - Forget about short posts

I remember writing a SEO guide on HubPages, stating that each article we published should be at least 300 words long in order to get ranked well on search engines. It was true at that time though but for now, the tide had changed.

This is one of the 'error-free' website optimization techniques I always use. When you are writing an article, try to keep it above 700 words. I know! It used to be like 300 to 500 words but with the latest Google update, I believe it is time we need to increase the mark.

Depending on topics you are writing, sometime it is very challenging to write quality articles with the said word count but at least, try your best to achieve it. Always remember that a little hard work goes a long way.

Website optimization technique #4 - Update your (old) posts regularly

Google loves updated stuffs and so do I. Do you have any articles that had been collecting dusts and have not been updated, say 6 months or more? You can (and should) easily optimize your website and your articles simply by updating the content.

Now, you don't need to do a full rewrite. Instead, try to perform small updates such as adding a few lines of new information or even a new image.

The sky is your limit and creativity is always welcome!

Do this before you leave... 

I hope you enjoyed this article as much as I do. Have you sign up for the free SEO newsletter? Moving forward, do you want to add any additional information on website optimization techniques? Feel free to comment below 🙂

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