You might not think that something as small as a hummingbird could cause much of a fuss but with Google’s latest search algorithm having landed on a widely unsuspecting internet this autumn, it’s time to talk about Hummingbird!
If you’re sitting there thinking, “Um…search algorithm?” don’t panic. A search algorithm is just a fancy way of describing how Google defines which information is a good match for your search query.
So, back to the ‘bird: what does it do – and what does that mean for your website?
Hummingbird is an entirely new algorithm – not just an update on an old one – that’s designed to respond “quickly and precisely” (hence the name!) to search engine queries.
Over the last few years, the way that internet users search for information has changed. We’re more comfortable with our computers – we don’t think twice about pulling up Google on our phones, tablets and laptops for even the tiniest search. We demand better information at higher speeds. We don’t want to wait.
Our comfort with technology has extended so far that we expect to be able to get the results we want without compromising our communication style. So one of the things that Hummingbird does in order to meet these requirements is prioritise “conversational search”.
Rather than just snipping out the words in your query and pinging them off into cyberspace as short-tail keywords in the hope of finding a good match for you, Google is now concentrating on understanding the meaning behind your words.
This is a great opportunity for businesses to really optimise their content marketing – and it also makes it harder for unscrupulous web users to use “black hat” SEO techniques to nab those Google top spots, exposing web users to piles of poor quality content.
21 Digital’s Technical Director, Michael Cain, commented:
“Hummingbird isn’t something that’s going to impact many sites at all in terms of their links – Google introduced the new algorithm quietly a couple of months back and only announced it a month after everything had been put in place. So, if it was going to have a negative impact on your site, you’d already know about it!
“What Hummingbird will do is offer businesses a great opportunity to maximise their online presence through content marketing. Google has created Hummingbird to be able to answer questions based on search intent – for example: ‘What’s the best way to update my website?’.
“Previously Google may have returned results based on the keywords: ‘best’, ‘update’ and ‘website’ as a phrase. Now, though, we can start to expect more accurate results.
“In short, what this means is that creative interesting, engaging and relevant content on our blogs and websites is more important than ever. Content that is useful to people stands a far better chance of ranking than content that is stuffed with keywords in a bid to somehow out-smart Google.”
21 Digital offers a range of SEO services and content marketing that can help businesses to maintain their search engine ranking through quality digital content.