Editor’s Note: The following is a guest post published by permission of its author.
At the end of September, Google unveiled the biggest upgrade to its search algorithm in 12 years – Hummingbird. Whenever big news like this comes out of Google, website and business owners scramble to find out how they’re supposed to adjust so they don’t get penalized. If you’re interested in knowing what you need to do about Hummingbird, the first thing you should know is that Google itself said that there’s nothing new or different website owners or publishers need to worry about. Whew, right? If you have been doing what you should have been doing all along – creating original, high quality content and linking your site to quality, relevant websites – you don’t have anything to worry about with Hummingbird.
What is the Purpose of Hummingbird?
Google says that the new algorithm Hummingbird is designed to return better search results. Panda and Penguin, the two latest updates to Google’s algorithm, were changes to portions of the old algorithm but not entire replacements of the whole. Core to what Google is doing with the brand new algorithm is a shift in focus away from keywords and towards intent and semantics, which are both much more relevant to online searchers.
The ‘old’ Google focused on delivering search results based solely on queries. With Hummingbird, Google is drawing insights from a range of other signals like location, social connections and even previous searches. This means that stuffing your website with SEO-friendly keywords just isn’t going to cut it any longer.
Hummingbird was released because Google knows that the way people search online is evolving and changing. Keyword search is being replaced with “conversational search” as search queries are getting longer and more complicated. For example, in the past, someone would be likely to search for “Seattle Taiwanese Food” whereas today that same person is more likely to search Google for “find a Seattle Taiwanese restaurant”. Hummingbird allows Google to better understand longer search queries and intent by taking words like “find” into consideration.
Google is also endeavoring to make voice search more accurate due to the fact that an increasing number of people are using their smartphones to search for information. For instance, you could ask “what’s the nearest shoe store from my home?”. The traditional search engine will focus on finding matches for your keywords like “shoe” or “store” and then point you to a website that sells shoes but which may not be close to your home. Hummingbird doesn’t look at just keywords but instead prompts Google to look deeper and focus on the whole statement or question.
How Hummingbird Affects Your SEO
Everyone involved in SEO has long dreaded Google’s updates because they believe that they would wreak havoc on the rankings they’ve worked so hard to attain. But Google says that as long as you’ve been following their one main rule which is to create original, high quality content, there’s really nothing to fret over since Hummingbird was created to process information differently.
As an Account Executive at Wpromote, Megan is responsible for assisting clients with their search engine marketing needs. While helping clients become recognized in search engines is an integral part of her job, she is also a regular contributor to the blog. In her spare time, Megan enjoys Dodger games and trying out new recipes like chocolate chip cookie dough truffles! Learn more about Wpromote at TeleVox.Wpromote.com