What we have learnt from Hummingbird

Like all Google updates Hummingbird has created a stir in the SEO world. As Google updates become more impactful there has been a divide in Search marketers when it comes to link building. Discussions have been aired for a while now with people suggesting link building is dead, and that the new update will kill methods off even further.

As a Digital Agency with predominant link building activities we are firmly of the side that knows link building is very much alive, if conducted in the right way. Since Hummingbird was introduced a small number of clients have dipped, however, on the other hand a greater number of clients have seen vast jumps in rankings, some even jumping near enough 100 places.

As we actively adapt our techniques through rigorous R&D we see clients campaigns result in increased traffic via more prevalent rankings. There is nothing more reliable than primary evidence, this leads us to ask the question Is link building dead because you dont know how to do it effectively? Our old Head of SEO sums it up nicely the death of link building is now somewhat like a DFS sale of the internet.

Searching Trends

It is evidently clear we are changing our searching habits and how we search for answers on the search engines.

  • Over the years we have become increasingly reliant on Google, people now ask questions expecting answers without leaving the SERPs
  • We are now conducting more and more searches through the use of our mobile devices. Statistical studies have provided evidence on this shift in dynamics, the web design industry have reverted to responsive web design, therefore SEO practitioners must also adapt to this shift.
  • Sticking on with the mobile device trend an increasing amount of people are relying on voice activated searches through ever accurate voice recognition software. Hummingbird according to Google has been implemented to better deal with queries like this, users will voice longer and more detailed search queries, the algorithm is designed to deal with this.


Danny Sullivan from Search Engine Land evaluated the update in his blog All about the New Hummingbird Algorithm, he talks of this update not affecting how link building should be conducted.

No, SEO is not yet again dead. In fact, Googles saying theres nothing new or different SEOs or publishers need to worry about. Guidance remains the same, it says: have original, high-quality content. Signals that have been important in the past remain important; Hummingbird just allows Google to process them in new and hopefully better ways.

Since Penguin and Panda link building methodologies have been heavily scrutinised and adapted to better meet the demands of search algorithms. They have pushed to ensure links have unique, subject relevant content that will add overall value to the user, this will generate signals of quality to your site and alongside other factors help push you up the search rankings. At the end of the day authoritative content will continue to win, Content is king will still remain the case for years to come.

Search Engine land, industry leaders on Search related news, noted additional thoughts that should be considered with regards to the effects of hummingbird;

  • Largest change in 12 years.
  • Google trying to be less dependent on just keywords when answering queries.
  • Penguin and Panda transferred to extensions of the new hummingbird update.
  • Page-rank is still 1 of over 200 criteria used to rank in the SERPs.
  • Ethical and high quality links still contribute heavily to Page-rank.
  • Search results are impacted by Google+ but not in the same way for different searches.


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