Sometime during September 2013 Google’s Hummingbird update took place. Like all major updates, especially ones that get their own name like Panda or Penguin, this makes web site owners nervous.
Site rankings did seem to jumble around for a few weeks but that is normal and usually rebound within a few weeks of the update. But what put most people off guard is that originally what was being reported about Hummingbird indicated it was supposed to be like Caffeine and was to affect the infrastructure speed and processing, but it certainly seemed to be much more. Search Engine Land has confirmed it was in fact an algorithm update along with infrastructure like updates as well.
In the end the comforting fact is that if your site conforms to Google’s Guidlines than your site won’t be affected. However, some interesting things have started to pop up in the rankings that weren’t as prevalent before Hummingbird and that is the intertwining of Google Authorship and Rankings. Now don’t get me wrong it was showing on some occasions, but since Hummingbird a lot more seem to be showing up in the top ten. What Google Authorship looks like in the rankings is when a Google+ Profile is linked with your website content or blog postings and then your Google+ profile photo and name are displayed with the search result. Below is an example of how this looks:
The short story, is these major updates keep coming along with thousands of little updates never fully reported. Ensuring you are complying with all of Google’s Guidelines is absolutely crucial!