Google Hummingbird – It’s already Landed on a Computer near You

Google Hummingbird – It’s already Landed on a Computer near You


Hummingbird is Google’s ‘new’ algorithm, although it’s not that new any more – and never really was. There were whispers about it long before it was announced last September, by which time it had already been running for a month – largely unnoticed.

There were many fears about how it would change the Google Search engine and the impact it would have on the established tenets of SEO. But how much difference has it really made?

You Talk; Hummingbird Listens

Hummingbird has been designed to improve the semantic search ability of Google, allowing it a greater insight into how we think and talk. After all, we don’t talk in keywords or Boolean search terms; it’s easier to ask Google about something in the way that we would ask a friend, and Hummingbird should enable it to understand us better when we do so. A greater ability to grasp the context of our query and recognise what we’re really looking for has improved Google’s understanding of longer queries (and the chances of pages less optimised for those queries, appearing in results). This should be good news, but many are still concerned it’s a major change they’re not ready for.

The Winds of Change

Yet it’s really not so complex. This change from keyword reliance had already been in the wind for some time, so for those who had heeded Google’s advice to move away from heavily keyword-based SEO, there should have been no need for panic or a radical new strategy.

Fundamentally, much remains the same – Google’s algorithm continues to use a complicated combination of factors to judge the status of a page and its relevancy. It’s still vital to ensure relevant keywords are included in a webpage, as they help to signal pertinent, quality content. Google puts great store in links and grouping, so don’t discard links and retain your Google+ presence. Continue to supply as much information as possible to search engines about the content of your page, and remember that your rich snippets can greatly improve your click through rate. If the page hit is the sign above your shop, then rich snippets are what you’re displaying in the front window!

The Future for You and Your Users

Increasingly, your users are using mobile devices to access your web content, so staying on top of mobile optimisation is a must.

It’s also vital that you know who is finding your web content, and who isn’t – but should be. Who are your users, and what do they want? What kind of query did they have, and how did they phrase it? Send out surveys and monitor social networks to get a better understanding of these concepts, and then use that knowledge to make sure you are providing engaging, quality content that not only drives traffic to your site but provides the information or products that they want.

The message is clear. If Hummingbird is thinking more about the user and what they really want, rather than ranking – then so should you be.