2013: The rise of Hummingbird, Death of Link Building (again) & Other Big Inbound Happenings

We all know that the two biggest stories of this year were the advent of our Inbound Hound (Reuben) and the much coveted Geek of the Week prize.

Inbound News

However, to close 2013 I thought that perhaps we could have a look at some of the other stories that made it big in the world of Inbound Marketing, SEO and general geekery during 2013.

The Year of the Hummingbird

I think it is only right for us to kick things off by reviewing one of the most significant Google updates this year. Deployed at the end of August & called Hummingbird because it is (supposedly) ‘precise and fast’; this was not just an algo update but a real overhaul, a replacement. Danny Sullivan over at Search Engine Land described it like this:

“When Google switched to Hummingbird, it’s as if it dropped the old engine of a car and put in a new one.”

Hummingbird, the first algorithm rewrite in approximately 12 years, still uses a lot of same parts and filters of the old algorithm but is now ‘organised in such a way to serve the search demands of today’.

For more on what Hummingbird means for SEO’s why not take a peek at this news post from Dan.

Bye Bye Link Building?

It feels like every New Year we are only days away from the death of link building (it seems to be taking a long time to croak it?). In Eric Enge’s incredibly popular ‘interview with Matt Cutts’ post, Matt speaks in length on the topic of link building and sums up where things are headed:

“No, not all link building is bad. The philosophy that we’ve always had is if you make something that’s compelling then it would be much easier to get people to write about it and to link to it. And so a lot of people approach it from a direction that’s backwards. They try to get the links first and then they want to be grandfathered in or think they will be a successful website as a result.


Their goal should really be to make a fantastic website that people love and tell their friends about and link to and want to experience. As a result, your website starts to become stronger and stronger in the rankings.” – Matt Cutts

2013 has been the year of ‘link earning’ following an awesome pre New Year Whiteboard Friday from Rand over at Moz. I think we can safely say that link building is not dead, simply evolving.

Not Provided

Back in 2011 Google caused a furore amongst SEO’s when they started to block the keyword data of any users who searched whilst logged into their Google accounts. The icing on the cake came in September 2013 when Google decided to encrypt ALL keyword search data. All except for clicks on Ad’s that is! The official line from Google was that they wanted to ‘protect’ user data. The more cynical of us (and those living on planet Earth and not planet Google) simply saw it as a move to increase ad sales.

Check out the increase of (not provided) data on this chart from notprovidedcount.com.

Not Provided

Read & watch what the team had to say on the rise of (not provided):

Google Makes The Internet A Little Bit Worse For Everyone – News Post

Measuring Success With Not Provided – Inbound Debate Video

Doing it For the Girls

Women in Tech

Both Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook and Marrissa Meyer of Yahoo caused a stir in the online world this year. Sheryl, the COO of Facebook, found herself listed as the 6th most powerful women in the World according to Forbes. Very well known in tech circles, she was thrust into (or thrust herself into perhaps) the worlds eyes when she released her book ‘Lean In: Women, Work & the Will to Lead’ in March 2013. The book sold 150,000 copies in its first week has been a non-fiction best seller all year. Read more about Sheryl in my ‘Sexism in Tech’ blog post from April.

In April 2013 Marissa Meyer, CEO of Yahoo, became the first women ever listed at number 1 in Fortune Magazine’s annual list of ‘Business Stars Under 40 Years Old’. In the same month she updated Yahoo’s maternity leave policy so that there was a longer maternity allowance and cash bonuses provided to new parents. In May, she led Yahoo to acquire Tumblr in a $1.1bn acquisition. By September it was being reported that Yahoo’s stock price had doubled in the time that Marissa had been at the helm.

Meanwhile at Inbound:

Sophie went to visit Unique Home for Girls in India:

And…the team collected food for Leicester Charity Link as well as running a 5K Mud Run for Rainbows Hospice:

Food Drive

Mud Run 2

Mud Run1

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

Vicky