If you read marketing publications on a regular basis, you may have seen the extensive coverage on Google Hummingbird. Unless you’re an SEO pro though, you probably glanced at these articles, wondering what they really mean for you.
Here’s a quick guide on what you need to know.
A new Google search algorithm
Hummingbird is a new search algorithm. So unlike Penguin or Panda (which were updates to an existing algorithm), this one’s more significant. What does it exactly do? Danny Sullivan provides the following helpful explanation:
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 5s” 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.
In particular, Google said that 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.
Hummingbird is an expansion of Google’s efforts to move towards semantic search, focusing more on user intent rather than individual search keywords.
5 marketing tips in light of Google Hummingbird
With this new search algorithm now in place, what can marketers do to ensure their pages appear on Google? Here are some basics you should keep in mind: