Hummingbird is here, so now what?

Chris Sams, October 18, 2013

Recently Google celebrated its 15th birthday.  As a way to share this momentous occasion with the world, Google released the largest algorithm update since 2001 with the Hummingbird.  Affecting 90%  of searches, Hummingbird aims to filter for “Fluff” or irrelevant content  that has been soley created to nab search engine optimization.  The goal of this overhaul is to weed out the fluff, and provide higher quality search results base on relevant content.

So, how does this Hummingbird work exactly?  Well this new update works in two ways, the first  is it uses conversational searches, instead of tradional keywords.  What does that mean?  It means that Google now uses words and phrases that are common in our everyday lexicon to ensure that the search results delivered are for products/services that the consumer is really looking for.  The second  is Google now displays the search content right on the pages, making  the information much more accessible and easy to find for consumers.

What brought on this innovative change?  According to President and CEO of Webimax, Kenneth Wisnerfski “The main reasons Google created the Hummingbird update revolve around the nature by which people search more frequently….Conversational search has become a large driver of the type of searches people search for, and the update provides a better result display to accommodate those requests.”

In short, the way in which people have been searching for products and services has evolved over time into longer, more specific phrases.  This new agorithm seeks to predict what the consumer is searching for by adapting to conversational searches.  By doing this, it levels the playing field , removing the company with generic search results, and raising the ranking of a company with more specific search results.

Now with this evolution in search results, comes with it an evolution in strategy.  .

“Now, your content really has to answer something. This should move content strategy higher on the list of business marketing objectives; it’s now even more important for desktop and mobile SEO.” says Bill Sebald , owner of Greenlane Search Marketing.

Companies will now have to rethink how the consumer is searching for a specific product or service.   They will need to make sure that every page on their site is relevant and answers the questions of the consumer. It requires a bit of foresight, but companies will need to adjust their content, keeping it fresh, relevant and informative.

All of this is exciting new, but there is a downside to this latest update.  As stated before, Google will now display search content right on the search page. So for example, if you are looking up how old Harrison Ford is and searched the term Harrison Ford Birthday.  Google would bring up the organic search results as normal, but now on the right side of the screen it will also display  a link to IMDB, with the information readily available. Sounds great right? Well it is if you are the consumer and just want the information. But for business, who rely on you clicking the link to visit their site it is bad news.   Now, Google will be adding relevant display images that link to their own sites, taking traffic away from other websites.  So, what is a business to do?  Adapt.  Businesses will now have to adjust and give consumers a reason to visit their site.  It is not desirable, but it is the way it is.


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