What is it, and how does it affect you?
Google have always used ‘fun’ names for their updates, with the most notable being among the Android OS spectrum; Vanilla, Cupcake, Ice Cream Sandwich etc..
The Google search engine is no different, with updates being named after animals. Recent updates have been named Panda and Penguin. The most recent, however, and the one being talked about and fretted over is Hummingbird.
Apparently Google chose “Hummingbird” for its speed and precision, with its main focus being on the meaning behind the search words and phrases. The semantics of a search.
Hummingbird is paying more attention to each word in a query, ensuring that the whole query — the whole sentence or conversation or meaning — is taken into account, rather than particular words. The goal is that pages matching the meaning do better, rather than pages matching just a few words. This is something that any reputable website design agency is going to be all over, to make sure that you are given the best start possible.
Google Hummingbird is designed to apply the meaning, or semantic, technology to billions of pages from across the web, in addition to Knowledge Graph facts, with the intention of serving up better search results.
End result for the user (your prospects)
Put simply, the end user is served much better results. With content being connected, or curated, with the help of Hummingbird and the knowledge graph, much more meaningful content can be delivered.
The location of the user is now taken into consideration, as well as the device being used (mobile, or desktop for instance) and the search history of the individual concerned.
The end result for the person, and ultimately the business, creating the content in the first place is much more pronounced and noticeable.
Following on from what this means for the end user, with regards to the device being used, more searches are being carried out via mobile phones. The unveiling of Google Now for Android phones, and Siri (regarded as Google Now’s poor cousin, and with reason) for iPhone before it, has made voice search even easier and more ‘natural’.
When queries are spoken rather than typed, they tend to be more conversational, taking the form of whole questions rather than just a few keywords. It’s not just voice search, though – even typed searches on desktop are becoming longer and more conversational.
What this means for business
The implications for business are huge; if your content is not of a sufficient ‘standard’, then it just isn’t going to rank – regardless of how well you manage your keywords and phrases.
Text content in particular is going to have a tough time in rising to the top, particularly if it is not put together in a manner that is eye catching to the Hummingbird algorithm update.
There are many people out there in the wild, that will advise business owners and content writers to ‘ignore’ the search engine algorithms and concentrate on making the content appealing for the one person that matters – the reader, your prospect.
The internet is awash with that kind of advice, and while it is not ‘bad’ advice – it is not entirely helpful either.
Hummingbird is looking for content that ‘connects’, and has genuine meaning while answering a specific question. For example, take two posts that discuss the importance of not opening the oven door too early while cooking souffle.
The first post does a great job of explaining why you should be careful, and how to ensure that the souffle does not collapse. There is even a section that gives recipe ideas.
The second post is similar to the first, with some notable exceptions. There are several images that accompany the post, and has it’s meta data altered to match the post and website.
A paragraph has been added too, explaining what a souffle is and where it originated. In addition, there are several links – pointing to other relevant sites; Links to a wikipedia entry for souffle, a link to a page dedicated to the home town of the souffle, a link for more recipe ideas and a YouTube embedded clip explaining one of the on site recipes.
Which of these two sites do you think would provide more information for the person searching for help with their collapsing souffles?
The major difference between these two posts, is that the second provides meaningful connections – and that is the post that Hummingbird will put priority on when it comes to serving up the search results. A professional copywriter, from a professional website design agency, will always take these things into consideration.
One thing that should be remembered, is that the same old tired information about a topic should not be marched out with its hands tied behind its back; produce fresh ideas and information. Google’s love of unique content still stands, and it always will, and adding new information to your subject of choice is giving that Hummingbird, and Google, exactly what it is looking for.
With Google’s reassurance that there’s nothing new or different SEOs or publishers need to worry about, you are on the right track if you have original, high quality content being created already. Having relevant websites linking to your own, and your website linking ‘outward’ to other relevant sites is still going to help you rank well. Signals that have been important in the past remain important; Hummingbird just allows Google to process them in new and hopefully better ways.