There are two big news items now being discussed in the SEO community: a new Google search algorithm called “Hummingbird” and the encryption of all search data that Google recently announced.
The Hummingbird algorithm will better focus on the meaning behind the words. However, it still uses PageRank along with other factors like whether Google believes a page is of good quality, the words used on it, etc. Penguin and Panda also stay intact. Hummingbird is a brand new search algorithm, though it continues to use some of the same parts of the old, like Penguin and Panda. This means that the SEO guidance remains the same: build quality websites with unique informative content and receive natural backlinks.
Earlier this week Google confirmed that it would be encrypting all search data, regardless of whether a user was signed in or not. Back in October 2011, Google began encrypting searches for anyone who was logged into Google. Googlers say they do this to protect users:
We added SSL encryption for our signed-in search users in 2011, as well as searches from the Chrome omnibox earlier this year. We’re now working to bring this extra protection to more users who are not signed in.
However, you still can view terms at the Google Webmaster Center, but only the top 2,000 terms per day and only going back for 90 days.
And one more news item from Google. They’ve rolled out a new “more unified design” of displaying search results for mobile devices, including smartphones and tablet devices.
This new, more unified, design offers the results clustered on cards. This is optimized for touch interfaces and provides a cleaner and simpler feel.