Some weeks have passed since the public announcement about Hummingbird and a lot of blog posts have been written about the changes that have been taken place. Too bad that a lot of conclusions are made that, in my opinion, make no sense at all. It goes without saying that a lot of people hadn’t notice the changes Google was making in the way they presented their search result pages.
In the garage where it all began fifteen years ago, Google held a press conference on September 26 (Fifteen years on—and we’re just getting started) where they made public that they had made the biggest change to their algorithms of the last twelve years. The launched a completely new algorithm! During the past years we have seen numerous influential updates to the algorithm including Caffeine, Venice, Panda and Penguin. Most of them had direct impact on the search result pages. These update were extensions or adjustments to the algorithm directly, while Hummingbird is rebuilt from scratch. During the press conference, Google dodged all technical questions: what the actual changes are compared to the previous algorithm remains conjectures. However, all patents assigned to Google are publicly available and some of them clearly reflect the changes Google has made. Who is browsing through the patents of Google, Yahoo and Yandex regularly? I bet not many SEOs are doing that. Google did had one clear statement:
“Hummingbird is focused more on ranking information based on a more intelligent understanding of search requests, unlike its predecessor, Caffeine, which was targeted at better indexing of websites.”
Majestic 12, the UK company behind the World Wide Web’s link intelligence crawler, Majestic SEO, has announced its intention to imminently expand in the search space with a new product, called Search Explorer™.
Since Google has the biggest market share in Europe, we tend to only watch their developments. Don’t forget we have other search engines too: how are Blekko, Yandex, Baidu, Sogou and other “foreign” engines developing? First have a look at the current (average of 2013) market shares of search engines in Europe and World Wide, source Statcounter:
Looking at these graphs, it definitely is not a strange question to ask: what other search engines are there? In the search engine landscape, there are just 5 countries / regions where Google is not market leader in terms of number of searches per month. If you are going to look at the number of page views, there are some more countries in which there are bigger players operating but as a SEO I’m more interested in the usage statistics.
Since Google is only tracking 40 search engines by default, a lot of organic traffic is ending up as referral traffic. Especially if you are dealing with international SEO campaigns, it is important to have data available from country specific search engines. As a world wide e-commerce website you really want to be able to filter your data per country specific engine because there are a lot of differences between them. That will also mean that the value of that traffic will be unique. Enough reasons to configure your Google Analytics tracking code in the right way.
Since negative SEO by creating certain link profiles became more and more popular during the last years, it is important to have a possibility to monitor day to day changes in your linkprofile. Commercial providers of link data do share day to day insights, but without any analyzing options. Getting a warning in the updated Google Webmaster Tools is often too late, so I started thinking about a solution. The system needs to be scalable, so I can use it for tens of websites at once and I want to get e-mail notifications when there is something suspicious happening.