As we’ve all been hearing, a new algorithm was introduced to the Internet world during Google’s 15th birthday. This algorithm goes by the name of Hummingbird. Unlike the black and white Panda and Penguin updates, this colorful algorithm is an actual replacement of Google’s current computing engine. What I personally found interesting is that Google has actually been using Hummingbird for a couple of weeks now. So what exactly is Hummingbird, you ask? Let’s dive in!
Hummingbird is designed to make Google search results more relevant and useful based on the search query entered. Rather than just typing in a few keywords, Google will now take the entire entry into account and attempt to understand the meaning before producing results.
For example, instead of typing in “New Jersey Used Cars,” we can now make the query more conversational such as “Where can I buy a Volkswagen Jetta for the lowest price?” Google already knows our location so the (paid search) results will be places around your area. Pretty cool, huh?
It will now be easier for users to find links that match more to what they are looking for in the first place rather than scrolling through search results that just have matching phrases. What does this mean for businesses in particular? We already know keyword strategies for websites help users find a site based on phrases in the content. And organic ranking on page one results is still the number goal– that hasn’t changed. However, Hummingbird will help Google understand the meaning of the content based on the search query rather than just matching up words in bold font.
The new algorithm will have the capability to comprehend longer queries compared to the short keyword phrases currently being used. This will calm the panic of Google’s other recent announcement to make search term data 100% ‘not provided,’ meaning that Google plans to have all data in analytics read ‘not provided’ and you will not be able to see the keywords people used to get to your site. Hummingbird shows that keywords will become less relevant and more focus will instead be on the actual meaning and intent behind them.
If you have a smart phone, there is usually a feature where you can talk to your phone either through Google Talk, Siri, or another talented computer feature. Typically, when talking to your phone computer generated friend, you ask a question such as “What time does Target close?” However, when typing into Google, you may write something like “Target store hours.” See the difference? Hummingbird is moving away from the matching game of keywords to results, and making the effort to have the search habits of the internet and mobile interact. Although this may take some time getting used to, I think it will be beneficial to users and businesses alike. Users can search in the same conversational manner in which we speak and businesses’ content can be understood rather than just have matching words.
More and more people are using their mobile devices when browsing the web with conversational search queries. Your content and keyword phrases will be read and understood by Google with the new algorithm. However, without a mobile friendly site, that means nothing. Here are some pointers to be sure your site mobile friendly so you aren’t left behind:
- Be sure your current website is mobile friendly and the content is readable on a mobile device.
- Create a mobile app to download for easy on-the-go use.
- Be sure all buttons on the website are visible on mobile device and the design is responsive.
Now that you have an understanding of Hummingbird, we’d love to hear thoughts and concerns on the update. Let us know by tweeting at @PCGDigital or leave us a comment on Facebook.