With the latest changes to the Google search engine, many marketing execs and business owners are wondering: how can I optimize my website for Google Hummingbird? While the change itself has been gradually taking place for some time now, it was officially launched at Google’s recent 15th anniversary party.
Hummingbird is not about ranking penalties like Google Panda and Penguin Updates were. It’s goal is not to reduce spam. Instead, Hummingbird focuses on shifting search results to favour contextually driven results instead of merely keyphrases. Google has not merely adjusted their existing algorithm, they have completely replaced it with a brand new one.
Essentially, Google is striving to make their search pages more comprehensive and relevant to long-tail and voice queries. Since the English language is complex, the relevance of search results does not stem from words alone, as words can have several meanings. The shift is moving from evaluating words and phrases to semantics for finding the right content to display in searches. It seems Google’s looking for more meaning, and they’re digging deep.
Studies have shown that people search differently when using text as opposed to voice search. As Google strives to make their search engine as intuitive as possible, Hummingbird demonstrates a move towards artificial intelligence as it’s been described in many popular sci-fi movies, where people speak to computers as if they were human beings.
With the number of searches being conducted on mobile phones growing exponentially, Hummingbird will be the answer to an increasing number of colourful questions rolling off the lips of curious commuters in “hands free mode”, busy workers, and eventually, Google Glass supporters into the vast resources of Google Search.
Hummingbird is designed to evaluate based on context, but in addition, to evolve, like we have seen with other elements of algorithms-past. It is common knowledge that Google considers “user experience” when evaluating the quality of a website as it decides which one to position first. In order to determine “user experience” the search engine must monitor the actions visitors take on websites and judge them based on a pre-determined set of criteria in order to give the site a digital score. That’s nothing new. What is new is that now Google has added another layer of learning, or artificial intelligence, to the search engine. Google is now evaluating which subjects or concepts get searched together most often to verify the context of their results.
For Example: If I searched “show me more about the latest violin case” looking for a story I’d heard in the news, Google would need to evaluate if I meant to search for the news, or a case for my violin. The more data the search engine collects about queries, click through and bounce rates (among other criteria), the more frequently the correct contextual answer will begin to appear to searchers.
So, back to our original question:
What is the best way to optimize a website for Google Hummingbird?
Wisdek reviews Google Hummingbird:
As long as there is an algorithm, there will be SEO.
By Courtney Dale