Hummingbird is the latest update to the Google algorithm. As the name suggests, it is designed to be fast, nimble, and accurate. Unlike previous updates, the Hummingbird update is a complete overhaul of the coveted Google algorithm. This means that many business owners will need to reexamine the way they approach SEO.
Fortunately, if you’ve been providing your audience with consistent high-quality content, you will not have to change much. As is always the case with Google updates, it’s only detrimental to those sites that have been trying to work around Google's system instead of with it.
There were several changes that every website owner and blogger should be aware of:
Decreased Keyword Emphasis. Don’t misunderstand this: keywords and links are still the main way Google is going to rank sites. However, Hummingbird has introduced a handful of other factors. Two of the most surprising factors in search results are search history and GPS location. That’s right, Google will use your previous searches and where you are to deliver results. This dramatically alters the keyword SEO paradigm of simply ranking for a specific keyword.
What it means for you: You absolutely must ensure that your content is not solely written for search engines! Every blog post and article should be written for readers. However, you should still do proper keyword research. The right keyword research will help you drive your content creation.
Conversationally Driven. Google became the standard search engine by always reacting to its audience. They noticed that people were searching questions, so they increased the focus on conversational searches. For example, you might search ‘how tall is the Eiffel Tower?’ Every word of that search will be parsed to find the most relevant website. Then, if the next search is ‘how tall is it?’ Google will assume the ‘it’ is the Eiffel Tower and deliver those search results.
What it means for you: Your content and website should aim to answer the questions your audience is asking. You should strive to be an authority in your industry, not simply a number one search result. Research your audience, learn what they’re asking and use this to drive your future content. However, you should still optimize your content for Hummingbird.
Context Search. While not necessarily new (it was enacted in Panda and Penguin), context search has been intensified. Context search means Google is not only looking for the keywords in question on your site, they’re looking for what words are around them. How are the keywords being used? This further helps Google enhance its conversational driven search by understanding which type of content most accurately answers the question.
What it means for you: Quite simply, do not keyword stuff your content. This practice should have died long ago, however, many outdated SEO efforts still believe using keywords repeatedly will enhance their results. Instead, research the right keywords and use them to direct your content. A keyword only has to be mentioned a few times to be important.
As with most Google updates, if you are focusing on your audience this update will not dramatically impact your site. Google always aims to provide their users with the most accurate results possible. If you aim to be authoritative, truthful and high-quality – you will make it through any Google updates.