The Impact of Googles Hummingbird Update
At its 15th anniversary event, Google announced an update, called “Hummingbird” to its search algorithm and informed participants that it would impact more than 90 percent of searches worldwide. Amit Singhal from Google later said it was perhaps the largest change to the algorithm since he joined the company back in 2001.
Hummingbird dramatically improves what Google call the “semantic search” and provides a greater ability for people to perform searches using normal conversational language. As the trend for conversational search becomes the norm, the “Hummingbird” update lends understanding not only to the intent but the contextual meaning of terms that are used in a query.
It appears that with Hummingbird, Google now has the ability to better answer those long-tail queries even if a certain page is not optimized for them. This means that some pages may have a better chance of being found for certain queries.
Search Engine Land’s Danny Sullivan explained: “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”.
The Need to Concentrate on Quality
Google has had a tendency to bemoan poor quality sites and advocates the introduction and use of high quality content on all websites. This latest update can be seen as simply another step by the search engine giant to make sure they offer the most relevant pages in their search results.
All website owners need to make sure that their website is built on quality. This benefits not only search optimization campaigns, but also online business in general. A websites conversion will increase, average sales value will also rise and bounce rates will drop.
Your Content Marketing Campaign
With the Hummingbird update, Google is trying to ensure that the content of a website is placed front and centre. The search engine is effectively promoting those sites that have on offer a general and well-rounded approach to a particular topic. If you provide this level of content, it will help ensure the best results for your site.
It has never been a secret that Google considers the authority of a page (and even the authority of a page author), to be highly important. Authority will become even more relevant and pertinent with even greater emphasis placed on page content.
The purpose of Hummingbird is to ensure that Google delivers users to the most appropriate page of a website, whereas previously it was more likely to take visitors to the site’s home page. With this in mind, every single page should be closely targeted to the needs of your potential visitors. This not only helps improve conversion rates as part of a conversion rate optimisation plan but will also help to drive traffic to the pages of a website via Google results.
To Help Hummingbird, Social Signals Play an Important Role
The key to getting your organization or business to place high in Google search results is to make sure it is influential in many social media networks. The number of followers and likes connote social proof. This is evidence that people think what you say really matters. Believe it or not, it’s just as your mother said: there’s nothing more valuable than a spotless reputation.
The social network of choice for Hummingbird is Google+
It’s hardly surprising that Google would design its new algorithm to privilege its own social media platform, which is Google+. Hummingbird is going to place you higher in its search results if you are able to demonstrate some degree of influence in the Google network. Given this, the sensible move is to put some energy and thought into your profile(s) on Google+.
Over the next decade, we can only expect the changes heralded by Hummingbird to become even better. With each new update, we can expect that Google’s algorithms will become increasingly more intelligent when assessing the quality of content. Content is king and by having original, high-quality content on your website, along with high-quality and relevant websites linking to your website, you are giving yourself the very best chance to rank and are guaranteed good conversion rates.
If anything, Hummingbird represents an opportunity for those businesses willing to invest the resources into quality content, because your sites rankings will improve. Less professional rivals will find themselves out ranked and out classed.
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