Hummingbird – Redefining SEO Strategies

The days of robotic or jumbled queries have come to an end. The newest algorithm from Google gives users an advantage and a better search experience. Hummingbird promises results that focus on meanings of words, effectively answering questions rather than offer a list of websites that simply have certain words in the query.

Years ago, all SEOs need to do is to think of possible single keywords that their target users are more likely to type in when looking up information on the internet. Sentence construction and word relationships are not taken into consideration. Hummingbird now is more human, taking whole phases into the equation. The shift for SEOs is to build or plan long tail keywords, less on single words but more on phrases that users are likely to use or “ask”.

How is the Hummingbird update different from previous algorithms?

As usual, the Google team was vague on the details but based on the examples given during Google’s presentation, here is how it Hummingbird differs from the previous updates:

Example Query 1: How to pay bills through citizens bank and trust bank
Previous Result: Ranking high on the search results would be the homepage for Citizens Bank.
Hummingbird Search Result: First page would be full of informative web pages about paying bills.

Example Query 2: Pizza Hut calories per slice
Previous Result: Result pages would be filled with pages that have the words calories and pizza (or any site relating to both words) but none from the Pizza Hut website.
Hummingbird Search Result: Page one SERP would have a list of pages that answer the question including that of the Pizza Hut official website.

How does this affect website owners?

Google has always urged webmasters and site owners to create share worthy content. What that means is that webpages should offer information, useful facts, interesting content, all written in an engaging manner. If you have been doing this already, there is nothing to worry about. Just tweak the content a little and make sure that your content has phrases that answer conversational queries.

The idea is to focus on probable complex queries and incorporate that on the content. Ask yourself what your target consumers are likely to ask. For instance, if you are in the business of selling personalized gifts in Sydney, a possible query would be “where to buy personalized gifts in Sydney” or “where to find corporate gift stores in Sydney” so your content should have a matching answers to these questions. You can make use of Google’s comparison feature by clearly defining each of your products to answer possible searches that compare one item to the other.

In a nutshell, Hummingbird update is not a call to change but a strengthening of good SEO strategies - strategies that help users find their way to information they need, whether it is solely to feed their curious minds or find the best possible product or service available to them.