Google’s Hummingbird – What’s the Fuss All About?
Hummingbird – What’s the Fuss All About?
In the past week (last week of September 2013), you might have heard the word ‘Hummingbird’ being associated with Google. Or at least seen the Google homepage with the hummingbird graphic.
Well, Hummingbird is the latest search algorithm developed by Google and is aimed towards improving the quality of online search results.
Google announced its launch on September 26, 2013 on the eve of its 15th birthday. However, it was revealed that the new algorithm had actually been rolled out a month ago and has also started affecting searches on all platforms.
So, why the name Hummingbird, you wonder?
Google says that the name was chosen to associate its new algorithm with the tiny bird for its precision and speed. Google reveals that the new algorithm has already started affecting 90% of the worldwide searches.
So what’s new with Hummingbird?
Hummingbird is said to be the most dramatic rewrite of search algorithm by Google since 2001. In fact, it is said that earlier additions like Panda, Penguin and Caffeine, were just updates.
Hummingbird is also a major benchmark in ‘Artificial Intelligence’ research. This is because:
- Instead of picking up certain words from the query, Hummingbird takes the whole query into account
- It focuses on the meaning behind a search query, with the idea that pages corresponding to the meaning of the query would be more relevant than pages matching just a few keywords
‘Answers’ instead of ‘Results’
Using a semantic approach, Hummingbird’s prime focus is to analyze the intent of the user and attempt to provide ‘answers’ instead of ‘results’, therefore taking the concept of ‘conversational search’ to a new level.
For instance, suppose you type, “dell laptop servicing near home” The traditional algorithm might return pages with the words “laptop” or “Dell”. However, Hummingbird understands phrases like, “near home” and displays service centers close to your house.
Does This Affect Your Existing SEO Efforts?
No. If you have been doing the right thing all this while, Hummingbird will not affect your search engine rankings. Moreover, since the new algorithm has been in use since the last month, if it had affected your page rank, you would have known by now. Experts say:
“Websites with original, unique content and high quality links will not be negatively affected by Hummingbird. If anything, their page rankings might improve.”
On the other hand, websites having poor quality content or those that follow spamming to boost their page ranks would see their site rankings fall. In fact, such websites might even be penalized.
What should be Your Approach to the New Algorithm?
Simple. Websites should now improve their content to provide ‘answers’ to what potential visitors are seeking. The focus should move from targeting specific keywords towards actual users.
Hummingbird provides a great opportunity to differentiate your business from your competitors. Original, informative and engaging content is still the key to success!
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