Google Hummingbird isn’t just an algorithm update, but it is a complete overhaul of how a search is processed. This marks the biggest change in Google search since 2001. Instead of getting search results back that are focused on certain keywords, now Google will give you content that is “more human”. Matt Cutts is a software engineer at Google and head over Google’s Webspam team. Matt said that this new search algorithm affects 90 percent of all searches to a small degree. Now instead of focusing on data gathering, your searches will come back focused on the user experience.
Google Hummingbird now interprets user intent and the contextual meaning of search terms. Instead of the actual keywords now results will be based on a semantic search. The variation of words, synonyms, general queries, and natural sounding language are important. The Google Hummingbird update will allow Google to give better content especially for people that are using long tail key phrases. Short tail key phrases won’t be affected as much. As an example, if you search for “pizza near my house” you would have previously gotten a result that contained pizza articles, recipes, and maybe even some articles that had results or songs based on “my house” content and leaving pizza out altogether. With the improvement made by Google Hummingbird, your intent is now recognized by Google and a list of pizza restaurants will now be provided close to your house (if you provide Google with your location).
Google Hummingbird update was actually launched 1 month before it was announced and no one noticed. A seamless change that provides more natural search results is what Google was after. Whether you noticed or not obviously the search results are different and you need to learn to adapt.
Why the change?
One of the reasons Google made this change was to accommodate mobile traffic. Very often when conducting a search using a mobile device, people will enter in shorter phrases and will get different results. After the Google Hummingbird update, now Google will pay attention to your location, device, previous searches, and social connections to give you better results in your search. This change also handles the issues involved when someone speaks into their smartphone in order to complete a search. Google wants the best platform for handling conversational queries and speech patterns.
What Google Hummingbird means to you
Quality content is king and keyword stuffing will now become a thing of the past. It will be quickly de-indexed and recognized as spam. A smart content creator will take advantage of these changes and now focus on intent and context. Basing your content around a theme instead of a keyword will provide the end user with what they want and improve your rankings with this new change.
The world of SEO is changing. Content and context is even more important now than ever before. In order to benefit from Google Hummingbird you need quality content that will answer your customer’s questions. Helpful content that is knowledge driven should be your focus. Of course in bound links and social shares are still important but themed content that provides value to your customers will get you found by Google.