Google Hummingbird, Social Media Strategies, Facebook Contests #FridayFinds

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Were you impacted by Google Hummingbird (the most recent algorithm changes)? What exactly is Hummingbird and how do you know for sure if any of Google’s SEO updates affected you? Check out this week’s #FridayFinds for a short synopsis and links to more in-depth articles that can help you better understand the most recent Google updates. Also, read a fun Halloween inspired article on what not to do on social media and check out 30 ideas for running contests on Facebook.

What’s the Buzz about Google Hummingbird?

On August 21st, 2013, Google released their latest algorithm changes. This time, they’re calling it “Hummingbird” and it’s being referred to as the “Panda Small Sites update”. So, what does that mean to you and me?

Well, there’s certainly a wealth of information available on this latest release. To boil it down for you, let’s start by taking a look at FAQ: All About The New Google “Hummingbird” Algorithm by Danny Sullivan on SearchEngineLand.com. This article should answer a lot of questions for you. The basic highlights are:

  • Hummingbird is a new search engine based upon Panda, Penguin and other algorithm updates.
  • Google’s PageRank algorithm is included in Hummingbird. (PageRank uses incoming links as “votes” to  determine how important a page is.)
  • Hummingbird incorporates conversational search which has “natural language” built into it.
  • Original high-quality content is still your best SEO tool. Bottom-line, Google strives to satisfy their consumers (people searching the web) with the results that best satisfies their needs.

Has Hummingbird Hurt or Helped You?

About three months ago, I shared my story of woe about being hit by Google’s Panda, Penguin and the Wooly Mammoth updates. In that article, I share several tools that I use to gauge the impact of algorithm changes and how I am getting my organic search traffic back on track. These tools include:

  • The Google Penalty Checker by Fruition (Fruition.net)
  • The Online Broken Link Checker tool (BrokenLinkCheck.com)
  • The Bad Neighborhood Text Link Checker Tool (Bad-Neighborhood.com)

Fruition.net is the site that provided me with the best snapshot of what happened to my site. (You can use Fruition’s penalty checker on one website for free.) Fruition displays the impact of Google’s algorithm changes graphically using green for a positive impact, yellow for no impact, orange for negative and red for extremely negative.

Impact of Google Algorithm Updates via Fruition.net

As you can see in the screenshot above, all systems were go for this site up until December of 2012 when Fruition reported that there was a 100% chance that I was negatively impacted by the Panda update. This was followed in May by the Penguin update which had a 100% chance of an extremely-negative impact on my Google search traffic. Unfortunately, things continued to go downhill for me with the spam-query update (a negative impact of 99.2%), Wooly-Mammoth (negative 90.9%), Panda (negative 72.8%). Finally, in August, Google’s “In-Depth Articles – Deeper Research – Original Long Content” update had a positive impact of 88% and Hummingbird probably didn’t affect me at all.

How about you? Have you seen a positive or negative impact on your organic search traffic in the past year?

Are You Making these Common Mistakes on Social Media Sites?

For those of you who are regular readers, you know that I am a huge fan of WebsiteMagazine.com. I subscribe to their print version and get regular email updates. This week, Allison Howen wrote an excellent article titled Scary Social: 6 Strategies to Avoid. Although Allison’s post has a Halloween slant, her tips are timeless.

Are You Interested in Running a Facebook Contest?

A few weeks ago in one of my #FridayFinds, I talked about the new Facebook rules for contests, promotions and giveaways. I also gave you a link to Kimberly Castleberry’s post Facebook Changes Contest Rules – Businesses Win! which goes into greater detail about what is and is not allowed now.

For those of you who are interested in running Facebook contests, check out 30 Facebook Timeline Contest Ideas That Drive Likes and Comments by Nathan Latka on CasMcCullough.com for some great ideas.

Over to You:

I hope you found this week’s #FridayFinds interesting. Hopefully, you have come out of the recent Google algorithm updates unscathed and if you haven’t, I hope Hummingbird helped you. As always, please feel free to share your thoughts and ideas with us in the comment section.

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Published by Sherryl Perry

Welcome! If you're looking for help building an Internet presence that fits your needs and works for you, you're in the right place. I blog common sense articles about WordPress, social media and SEO. My goal is to help small business owners and entrepreneurs understand their core business. Together, we can develop and implement business strategies that make sense to you.

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33 Comments

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  1. Great shares Sherry!

    I haven’t checked Fruition since this latest update but I haven’t lost any traffic and all my rankings continue to improve. I think I’m fine with this one, I wasn’t expecting anything severe. Wish I could say the same for a few friends of mine. When will they ever learn!

    I’m curious about Allison’s post so I’ll have to check that one out but I don’t care anything about Facebook and contests. I don’t know, that’s just not my thing.

    Appreciate the shares though, thanks and enjoy your weekend.

    ~Adrienne

    1. Thanks Adrienne! I’m glad you liked them. I hadn’t checked Fruition in about a month myself but when I decided to include a link to Danny’s article, I thought it would be a good time to login again. Then, I realized that there probably was a very good chance that someone reading this hadn’t heard of it before. Well, you know how it goes when you start writing a post and it starts to take you down a path that you didn’t expect to go on. 🙂

      I don’t personally care about FB contests either but I’m sure there are people here who could benefit from running them. There were some fun examples in that post like this one that would be a great idea for a restaurant: “If you could eat only one thing from our menu for 365 days, what would it be? Share with us for your chance to win a giftcard! Winner will be announced at 3pm EST on Tuesday!”

  2. That fruition tool looks really useful. Sometimes its difficult to map a websites ups and downs in comparison to the algorithm updates but this makes it look simple. It seems hummingbird has had little effect on many sites but I’d be interested to hear from someone who has seen a negative response.

    1. Hi Chris,
      Fruition only allows one site for free but I can see the value in signing up for the premium service. It’s the best snapshot/overview that I’ve seen yet.

      I haven’t heard of anyone who has been negatively affected by Hummingbird (yet). (If I do, I’ll try to remember to come back here and let you know. 🙂 )

  3. it’s hard for me to fight with Google hummingbird.my product page was drop on page 4 and 5 since google hummingbird out.

    but i have a question,how i can optimize my page if the site doesn’t update every day for more post?

    i use a blogger for my online shop.

    1. That’s too bad that your page rank dropped. As for optimizing your page, are you talking about a blog? If that’s the case, the best way to update it daily is by engaging in comments. Do you have or would you consider installing CommentLuv? (There’s a free version available as well as the premium version.)

  4. I was not hit by Penguin 2.1 or humming bird. But yes one of my blog hit by Penguin 2.1 as I was not updating it.
    I think if you’ve good content and white hat SEO then no need to fear about any updates.

    1. Hi Khaja,
      A lot of us felt that as long as we had good content and practiced white hat SEO that we would be safe from the updates but a lot of us lost a significant amount of organic search traffic anyways. I personally lost roughly half of my traffic and other bloggers like Kim Castleberry were hit hard too. (BTW – I went into greater detail about what happened in my reply to Geoff.)

  5. Thx, as always, Sherryl, for alerting us to new scenarios that require our attention. It’s really hard for many of us to grasp this stuff and you really have laid it out well.

    I’ve thought about running a FB promotion, but haven’t got around to it yet.

    1. You’re welcome Doreen. Thanks for taking the time to let me know that you find my articles helpful. I hadn’t thought about FB promotions for you but that could be a really good fit for Chocolatour.net. Your photography on that site helps takes us on your travels along with you.

  6. Hi Sherrly, in Fruition did you ever get to the bottom of why some of the google updates had a negative impact on you, and did you do anything different to then see a positive impact. Otherwise it does sound a bit random and like a game of roulette

    1. Geoff,

      Until I checked my site in Fruition, I thought that my drop in traffic was due to taking a short hiatus from blogging. The more I checked Fruition, the more I kept seeing the direct correlation between my traffic dropping and the algorithm updates. (I confirmed the Fruition reports with my analytics.) My website traffic for one 30-day period compared to the prior month dropped by 45.19%.

      The more I researched, the more I found that other bloggers were experiencing similar issues and all signs seemed to be pointing to broken links, backlinks to sites that were low-quality and incoming links from sites that Google could deem “spammy”. (Note: The vast majority of these links were do-follow CommentLuv links that once had been to legitimate sites.) At the same time I discovered that a replytocom issue (that I thought I had rectified) may have been causing Google to detect duplicate content on my site.

      Basically, Fruition.net served as the impetus for me to dig further, find the root problems and work to rectifying them (including submitting a request to Google to disavow 4 sites that were linking to me). I haven’t totally recovered from the loss of traffic yet but I have “stopped the bleeding”.

      1. Thanks for the extra detail, glad to hear that you have stopped the bleeding. Google sure do like to server you a curve ball – do we know when the next major update is planned?

  7. Hi Sherryl

    Hummingbird doesn’t seem to have affected my main blog at all but it have me a 99.2% positive change to my niche blog.

    The traffic to my niche blog has been very erratic over the past few weeks; sometimes lots and then it’s like a ghost town. I’m guessing it must be to do with all of the changes Google have been putting through just lately.

    1. That’s good news Tim – especially about your niche blog. This has been a bad year for this site when it comes to Google’s algorithm changes. The only positive impact that they’ve had on my site (other than last January) came from the “In-Depth Articles – Deeper Research – Original Long Content” update in August and that’s the one that I’ve heard the least about.

  8. Hi Sherryl,
    This is excellent article. I taught Google webmaster tool is the only way to check the Google penalty pages. Now i got another one option 🙂

    Other two sites you mentioned here also useful. Thank you for sharing this article 🙂

    Regards,
    Agriya Olivier

  9. Pingback: #SharingSundays Recap 2013 Volume 22
  10. In addition to the new Hummingbird update we apparently got a Penguin update over the weekend, on Friday I believe. Google is rolling out updates faster than I can keep up with. I know they are trying to get rid of spam and lower quality in the top results, but I think they need to work on that more yet. On top of that some of the results I see are not as relevant anymore, and quality is debatable. I also see a lot of top 10 results that only contain four different sites. One site gets the first 4 positions (1-4). YouTube gets 4 positions (5-8), and two other sites get the 9 and 10 position. I am not so sure that it should be that way. It depends on the search phrase to some extent, but I still think there should be more variety.

    I also check fruition occasionally. Some of the updates it tells me positive impact, and others negative. It’s like one is favorable, and the next not. A combination of ups and downs in other words.

    1. Those are great observations Ray. I’ve been frustrated with the results that I’ve been seeing lately too. Sometimes, I’m so frustrated that I just go to Bing and search. The results are definitely different.

  11. I was not impacts with the Hummingbird update… I\’ve actually done extremely well on the last 3 Google major updates. I keep hearing a lot of people whine about it but its obvious when I see their posts, pages, and design what went on. This past one was on buckling down on more accurate search and emphasizing more social search too… which Google has been telling us for the last few years to be aware of. These are new news… we were warned about it.

    1. That’s wonderful that you weren’t impacted negatively. For some reason, I was and Kim Castleberry got whacked too. For me, it was a good reminder to do some necessary house cleaning. I had a lot of links left over from CommentLuv comments that needed to be removed. As for Hummingbird, I see it as a step in the right direction.

      Thanks for dropping by and for all your efforts on Facebook like your #SharingSunday and #FanPageFriday events.

  12. Good shares. Hummingbird hasn’t touched any of my sites as far as I can tell, which works for me though it might still be a bit early to really know. Then again, I’m someone who hasn’t ever really cared what any of those animal updates do. 🙂

    1. Hi Mitch,
      Thanks so much for dropping by. You have a healthy attitude when it comes to the “animal” updates. I’m finally over the shock and disappointment of being hit so badly by P&P. It’s hard to ignore them when I realize where I was last year as compared to now. For now, I choose to be cautiously optimistic that Google’s Hummingbird is going to get back on track. 🙂

  13. For my two websites the impact of Google’s different algorithms makes them go positive – negative – positive on a continouos basis. according to Fruition. And the odd thing is that the percentage up and down is different for my two sites. Makes me wonder how accurate Fruition is. Read somewhere that someone who works for Google said that such sites cannot measure what impact their algorithms have. Not sure if that’s correct or not?

    According to Allison’s article I’m doing fine, even though I’m sure I have spelling mistakes now and then. Who hasn’t?:-)

    1. Catarina,
      When I look at my organic search results in Google Analytics, the data does correspond to the impact reported by Fruition. I find it a good tool and a lot of the bloggers that I follow rely on it. Their Google Penalty Checker Tool made the short list in the Innovation category of the 2013 US Search Awards: http://bit.ly/1bVf9Ij

      I made a spelling mistake in my custom title tag once. That was a big oops!

  14. This Friday Finds is pretty good, as always 🙂

    There’s been a lot of chatter about this Hummingbird update so thanks for explaining and posting some good links to explore more on the topic. Will read them right away!

    I checked the fruition tool last time your blogged about it and i am loving it, using it ever since. It says Hummingbird update had 93% positive impact on my English site (the one you know) and 82% no impact (yellow) to my non-English blog – but i guess that makes perfect sense because that blog is 3-4 years odl and has hundreds of posts already, while my English one is just a baby (sine March this year) so it fits the “small site” description, i guess.

    And the SMM post in your Friday Finds – it is great, will share it on SM! All 6 strategies to avoid are really advice. I particularly hate when people end their tweets with “Please, RT!”. And i am sometimes guilty of the spelling mistakes one. No matter how many times i proofread, there sometimes is a typo that sneaks in. In this relation – can’t wait for FB to launch their new feature of editing updates (not just comments).

    Thanks once again for the great finds, Sherryl!

    1. Thanks Diana. I’m glad that you find this series of posts helpful.

      For me, Google’s “In-Depth Articles – Deeper Research – Original Long Content” update in August (that Fruition reported as a probable positive impact of 88% on this site) was the first glimmer of hope I’ve had in almost a year (as far as organic search traffic from the big giant goes). Since Hummingbird did not hurt me and knowing that it incorporated many of the previous updates leads me to believe that Google is trying to reward original content. That would be good news for all of us here.

      I liked the SM post too. It was a good length and an easy read. I’m sure your followers will appreciate that share.

      As always, thanks for taking the time to add to the conversation!

  15. I didn’t realise how badly your site got hit by the updates Sherryl. Hope things are getting back to normal. I checked Fruition and it showed my site as 93% positive impact from Hummingbird but not likely to affect traffic. I think this Google change plus the fact they are not longer providing keyword data means many will have to go back to basics and one way is to understand your customers and go from there.

    1. Hi Susan,
      Thanks for dropping by. (I need to visit your site but there’s been a lot of personal stuff going on and I’m in catch-up mode right now.)

      I think you’re right on about going back to basics. After I got hit so badly, I did a massive cleanup and then I decided to not dwell on it. I do need to try to stay on top of the broken links and bad neighborhood comments but I’ve always known that none of us should let ourselves become dependent on Google. Besides, the visitors from organic searches often don’t revisit and (most of them) probably aren’t ever going to be loyal readers. I’m back to concentrating on building awareness while building meaningful relationships. At least that is something that I can control.

      As for Fruition, I hadn’t checked it recently but I revisited it when I was writing this post and I was pleasantly surprised. Even if Google’s latest algorithm doesn’t have a positive impact, it would be a pleasant change from having a negative one.

  16. My traffic was definitely hit by something this summer. I did stop posting as frequently for a while, but when I returned to regular posting it should have gone up, but it didn’t. My traffic is about what it was last year at this time, so all the progress I made last year just disappeared! My blog really isn’t a business though, so I’m not sure how much it really matters. It’s still a bummer.

    I’m going to go off and read about hummingbird. It certainly sounds less scary than wooly mammoth!

    1. Hummingbird appears to be the best algorithm change (from a small business/serious blogger’s point of view) that’s been released in over a year. Hopefully, those of us who had been hurt will start seeing our traffic rise again. I lost a lot of ground and I know I’m not alone.

      Your comment about hummingbird sounding less scary than wooly mammoth made me smile Heather. That update was a beast! 🙂