Posted by The Marketing Team,
Dec 19, 2013
Giving you a more conversational and sociable search experience, Google continues to refine its algorithm to deliver more natural results.
When some people hear the name hummingbird, their first thoughts may turn to cake, but it is in Google’s latest attempt to give us more accurate answers of search queries. Just like its winged namesake, Hummingbird is precise and fast, being more able to understand the meaning behind the words we use when searching. This way it can give us more relevant and direct search results with the aim to save us time when browsing through dozens of search results.
Google are well known for announcing updates here and there, but what took people by surprise with this one was that it wasn’t an update but a brand new search algorithm (something that hadn’t happened since 2010). Another surprise was that it had been running for almost a month and no one seemed to have noticed!
So what exactly does Hummingbird do?
Google has improved its ability to take into account context, time of day, conversational search and the searcher’s location. We have already seen this happen when we look for things like ‘coffee shop’ and get a list of businesses local to where we are, with a map, and calculated distance – all very handy! There will also be further improvements made to the knowledge graphs, helping us get instant answers without having to click on a link and Google those organisations out there that take advantage of social platforms including Google+,Youtube, Hangouts, Facebook and Twitter will also see benefits. It’s important you send out social signals from regular sharing and engagement to show that your site is alive and growing!
Why did this happen?
With so many people using smartphones, local and voice searches have also become used more , meaning Google has to focus more on the meaning behind what is being said rather than picking out certain words. A bonus for Google (whether intentional or not) is that vocally inputting search queries will keep users on their search results pages longer, increasing exposure to sponsored ads, ultimately leading to improved ad sales and revenue.
What does this mean for SEO and our clients?
Don’t fret! This doesn’t mean the end of SEO, like always it’ll just require a bit of adaptation to make the most of the changes, and continue adhering to best practice guidelines. Hummingbird will continue to rely on link analysis, so credible backlinks are just as (if not more) important. Previous Panda and Penguin updates will remain but it would be wise to expect further adjustments to how The Mighty Algorithm derives value from links and content. As Hummingbird still uses the same techniques to evaluate a page’s reputation and authority, guidance on how to rank highly remains: have original, high-quality content!
Written by the SEO Team from Total Media
The SEO team have a passion for search. They love cups of tea, chocolate biscuits and all things online.