Yesterday, Google announced an algorithm update dubbed “Hummingbird”.  Its purpose is to help deliver better search results to users. We want to keep our customers informed, so we have some answers below

What is it?

Google uses a myriad of factors to deliver search results.  Freshness, quality of content, location, keywords : these all make up a part of what Google considers when it delivers back results. Hummingbird equips Google to better answer complex questions, rather than picking apart keywords from a search. Search Engine Land summarized it nicely:

What’s the closest place to buy the iPhone 5s to my home? A traditional search engine might focus on finding matches for words, finding a page that says “buy” and “iPhone 5s” for example.

Hummingbird should better focus on the meaning behind the words. It may better understand the actual location of your home, if you’ve shared that with Google. It might understand that “place” means you want a brick-and-mortar store. It might get that “iPhone 5” is a particular type of electronic device carried by certain stores. Knowing all these meanings may help Google go beyond just finding pages with matching words.

How will it affect SEO?

More than likely, this will allow Google to better understand a page’s purpose, versus keywords. Google has begun its transformation to semantic search, where it finds meaning beyond just keywords. If you write great content for users, it seems that Google will now be able to see that. It seems that every other signal for SEO will remain the same.

Should I be concerned?

More than likely not.  Google rolled the change out a few weeks ago, they just announced it yesterday.  Any fluctuations that would have came as a result of this have probably shaken out.  If results were negatively affected, it may be a result of Hummingbird, but more than likely a result of Google’s ongoing tweaks and changes.

One Comment

  1. I love how they don’t update us about things until the day that it actually comes out! Weird. Nice post, though!

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