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Google's Hummingbird Update: What You Need To Know
Posted on October 4th 2013
Don’t feel bad if you’ve been lost in the flock of Google updates lately. You’ll want to be in the know in regards to their latest avian themed algorithm update, Hummingbird. This is a complete overhaul to Google’s algorithm which flew in all at once, unlike the previous updates Penguin and Panda. The freshly hatched Hummingbird update refines how search results populate for user search queries and ruffles the SEO feathers of websites across the internet. It’s important that you know the main changes the Hummingbird update brought as you continue to develop your brand’s online presence.
Google is now looking at how you search instead of just what you’re looking for and this is especially true for complex search queries. What I’m getting at here is that inputting a complex question into the Google search bar yields more relevant results than before since Google is looking closely at the descriptive words you’re using.
Simply put, searching is becoming more “conversational” as it’s more commonplace for users to ask their cell phones complex questions via voice commands. Before Hummingbird, inputting a complex question would bring up results that hit relevant keywords in the question and not actually answer the question directly that you wrote. You may not have realized it but you probably caught onto this and tailored your searches in ways to find the answer, not how the question should be asked.
If that still sounds confusing then take a peek at this video from Google which explains this topic a little further.
Overall, Hummingbird appears to be putting less emphasis on keywords and more emphasis on the context of your search. Many users on the internet also see Google’s previous move to make search term data “100% not provided” as putting more emphasis on context and taking power away from keywords.
Relevance and Content
It’s hard to stress search relevance enough and content is becoming a huge focus in the eyes of Google now. Since Hummingbird strives to provide a more natural search environment, content on the internet that is more in-depth and naturally worded appears to have an edge over keyword-rich lines of text written solely for search engines in mind. Sites with well-written, high quality content and pages grouped together which are relevant will rank even higher than before with the introduction of Hummingbird. This shouldn’t come as a surprise since Google has been preaching this for a while now. If you’ve seen any backlash it’s from those who are inundated with “old” SEO tactics pertaining to keywords. Those pundits will soon find those “old” tactics without much value with Hummingbird flying around.
The Future Is Mobile
It’s hard to dismiss the fact that Google showed off and announced Hummingbird on their blog by using mock-ups on mobile devices…not on a desktop or laptop screen. The internet is accessed via mobile devices by users more than ever; that trend doesn’t seem to be diminishing anytime soon and Google is keenly aware of this. The search engine giant wants it to be easier than ever to pull out your phone and find exactly what you’re looking for on the internet. Don’t forget that Google has a large stake in the mobile market with their Android operating system as well.
Hummingbird is the biggest algorithm change that Google has made in a long time but it shouldn’t come as a surprise. Google is really just reinforcing messages that it has been giving out for quite some time. High-quality content truly is king now, and the effectiveness of search queries has been enhanced. Don’t be scared about the Hummingbird update, embrace it and use it to the advantage of your brand.