Google’s new Hummingbird algorithm update is the first time Google has changed one of its algorithms since 2001. Naturally, it sent businesses and marketers alike into frenzy mode. It’s a nerve-wracking time because we don’t yet know who’s going to suffer.
This is a long-term update, but it’s already working. In fact, by the time Google announced it it had already been working for a month. This is the most significant change for Google since 2010.
ECommerce businesses rely on a steady stream of traffic. If things change and the traffic dries up, the revenue does as well. So what does the Hummingbird update mean for your store?
What Is An Algorithm?
A lot of us use the term ‘algorithm’ without really knowing what it means. To help you understand what Hummingbird has actually done, we’re going to discuss what it does. An algorithm is the foundation of the search engine. It’s the logical approach crawler bots take to analyze different web pages.
When you search for something, the results you receive were generated by algorithms. These algorithms are designed to return the most accurate results, and they’ve steadily grown in power over the years.
A change to this logic can quite easily cause an SEO friendly eCommerce business to lose all of its new organic traffic within days.
Examine The SEO Status Quo:
This is a change which has been in place for a good few months now. If you’re still ranking well, the chances are your online store is fine.
What Has Hummingbird Actually Done, Though?
Firstly, it’s part of Google’s drive to improve the user experience. They have to do this to maintain Google’s position as the ‘go to’ website for users. Many experts say the fact we can now search for things by speaking into our smartphones has convinced Google it needs to make its algorithms more specific and more like natural speech.
What Does This Mean For Your ECommerce Store?
It could easily mean you see a slight decrease in traffic over the coming months. This is a bad thing, but it shouldn’t be something which keeps you up at night. Many big stores have realized this.
The traffic no longer being directed was traffic which found your website by accident. It wasn’t what they were searching for. Your site was caught in the search net. You won’t actually see a decrease in your earnings.
The customers searching for you will still be able to find your website. White hat SEO techniques are still of the utmost priority. If you obey the rules, your revenues will stay stable.
What you will notice a decrease in is bounce rates. If your bounce rates were high, this meant the people clicking on your website didn’t want to find your website; assuming your design didn’t put them off.
Expect your bounce rates to decrease over time. Hummingbird will make bounce rates more useful for you, and we’ll explain why.
Bounce Rates And The Push Towards Accuracy:
Let’s imagine a world where the Google search engine has achieved relative perfection. The traffic hitting your website is largely coming from relevant sources. Any website with a high bounce rate will now know it’s something on their website which is causing people to turn away, as opposed to a Google problem.
This push towards more accuracy through updates like Hummingbird will help eCommerce stores by giving them a better understanding of what they’re doing wrong.
You shouldn’t see this change as something to get angry about. It should be seen as a blessing in disguise. Look at it as something which is going to help you build for the future.
Who Is It Bad For?
Overall, we’ve established there’s nothing bad about these updates. In fact, they’re only going to help people. Some websites will suffer, though.
Many eCommerce websites still target overly general keywords. This might help them to bring in traffic so they can cash in on advertising revenues, but it frustrates users. It will be much harder to target generalized keywords.
In the short-term, you might have to reevaluate your campaign. This could include new keywords and an optimization revamp. For the majority of eCommerce companies, this can only be a positive change.