Google’s Two Big SEO Game-Changers

October 2, 2013 Neil Ingalls

Google algorithm update

Introducing the New Algorithm, Hummingbird

Every now and then Google makes slight changes to their algorithm to better serve their users. The public changes their online habits, and Google must change their algorithm to maintain their high quality results. Now that searches from mobile devices are a huge proportion of all searches, the algorithm must change to produce results that will satisfy mobile users. One other main driver of search engine iteration is spam and black hat SEO. People are always trying to game Google’s system, enabling their website(s) to appear in Google’s highly valued results pages. Google has been battling these forces since the inception of their search service, arguably winning the battles by filtering out websites that provide a poor user experience, and evolving as large scale changes affect the market. Google has just made a huge change to up their game in the war against spammers and accomodate changing user habits by introducing Hummingbird.

Hummingbird is the newest algorithm by Google to provide users with superior results. Note that this is not simply an addition to the old algorithm, this is a completely new one. This has been described as “switching out an engine” for a car. In other words, it's kind of a big deal. Over the next few months we should see studies of this new engine to determine how it is different than the old version, and what that means for marketers. I predict that this algorithm will serve mobile devices much better, providing high quality results for voice searches, and enhancing Google’s understanding of semantics to provide higher quality results.

“Keyword Not Provided”

Over the last month Google has made another change that is affecting online marketers. Marketers have long had the ability to see what particular keywords drive visitors to their website via Google Analytics. This functionality was already diminished when Google took away the ability (in the name of user privacy) for marketers to see with Google Analytics what keywords a signed-in Google user searched to arrive at said website.  With this change they have gone a step further, all users, signed into Google or not, do not generate keyword data for marketers using analytics tools to determine what keywords a user searched to arrive at a particular site. Anyone that uses Google’s search engine is now using a secure platform that does not share keyword entries with anyone, and that includes those who have set up Google Analytics on their website.

For marketers, Google is the 800 lb gorilla in the room so if it moves you move. This can pose a particularly difficult challenge to large organizations, as these changes should lead to modifications of your online marketing strategy at all levels. This is where organizations like SproutLoud can help, providing expert level advice to all of your network members, wherever they may exist within your organization.  

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About the Author

Neil Ingalls

Neil is a natural digital marketer with a mix of tech nerd, news junkie, and style. He began his marketing career in Boston with a specialization in SEO after graduating from Purdue University in Indiana. After a couple of years with a heavy SEO focus, Neil has branched out into the many other fascinating aspects of internet marketing.

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