Google Hummingbird & Penguin 2.1 Updates: What They Mean For Businesses

October 10, 2013 - 5 minutes read - Blog, SEO

By now you must know that Google will never “leave well enough alone.” There are limitless ways they can refine search results to connect users with more timely, relevant and helpful information. Unfortunately, this hurts many webmasters who thought they had it all figured out. Gaming the system with keywords was a bad approach from the start that was followed by many amateur SEO gurus.

On the other hand, focusing on providing consistent high-quality content and encouraging links from high-ranking sites has always been the Mod Girl Marketing way — which is why our clients have remained largely unaffected by the algorithm changes that came with Penguin 2.1 and Hummingbird.

Google Penguin 2.1

On Friday, October 4th, Google rolled out significant changes to their Penguin SEO algorithm. If you recall, Panda updates concern on-page SEO like blog content, whereas Penguin updates pertain to off-page issues like backlinking. According to Google’s Matt Cutts, this new switch will affect about 1% of all search queries in a noticeable way. SEO Round Table says they’ve already seen screenshots of websites completely decimated by this tweak.

The best ways to recover are to:

– Skip reconsideration requests with Google. Instead, manually remove all bad links pointing to your site.
– Consider removing all links coming in from websites with low value and high OBL (out-bound links)
– Get links and inner pages on high authority sites like YouTube, LinkedIn, PR Web, Pinterest, Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo Answers, Groupon and Tumblr.
– Create newer, smaller websites with 5-10 pages of content, rather than belaboring over one site hurt by Penguin.
– Check out the Link Detox Tool from Chris Cemper.

Google Hummingbird

Last month, Google put out a press release to announce that they’d put out a new algorithm change called Hummingbird that “no one appeared to notice.” Yet, it’s also been said that it will affect 90% of all search queries. Of course, everyone paying attention in the SEO world knew something was amiss.

In the past, Google placed the most emphasis on matching up keyword phrases. So, for instance, SEOs would focus on a rather simple, generalized keyword phrase like “Manhattan real estate.” With the Hummingbird update, the full semantic meaning of longer search queries will be studied to produce more accurate results. So now someone may search “Where can I buy Manhattan real estate at foreclosure auction?” or “What Manhattan real estate neighborhoods are most popular?” Rather than giving users results, Google aims to give users answers.

Here are a few ways to adjust to Google Hummingbird…

– Aim for more long-tail keywords (Ex: Best neighborhoods for families in Manhattan)
– Use questions in your content titles (Ex: Where are the best neighborhoods for families in Manhattan?)
– Create comparison charts or posts (Ex: Chelsea vs. East Village)
– Write longer, in-depth articles focusing on multiple angles (Ex: One giant article could cover the Best neighborhoods for families in Manhattan, free activities for families in Manhattan, festivals for families in Manhattan, places for families to hang out in Manhattan, best school districts in Manhattan, etc.)
– Build an audience on Google+

Our Approach To SEO

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Mod Girl Marketing will continue to use a data analytics based approach to SEO with reports that do indeed show relevant keyword data. Weekly, strategic SEO blogging will remain a core strategy moving forward. Even though Google isn’t telling exactly what phrases people are using, it does tell what pages are visited the most, where people tend to stay the longest and which pages have the highest conversion rates.

So, even though there will be a loss of keyword data, it won’t drastically change what has always been Mod Girl Marketing’s focus on end-user content. Experienced SEO professionals who have been in the business for a long time aren’t sweating these changes. They’ve been expecting and planning for them all along. If your business was affected by the recent updates, contact us to get back in the game.

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