“Just when you think you have all the answers, I change the questions.” -Rowdy Roddy Piper
Google’s next leap forward in digital interaction has lead to the birth of a brand new search engine algorithm called “Hummingbird.â€ This differs from upgrades like Penguin or Panda in that Hummingbird doesn’t seek to upgrade an existing system but instead changes the entire dynamic of results delivery. The aim of Hummingbird, so named because of the bird’s speed and accuracy, is to give Google the ability to deconstruct whole questions and circuitous search requests.
According to Google, Hummingbird will focus on the intent behind search terms rather than specific words. Why is this important to Google? Because they believe that the increasing use of voice-based mobile searches will lead to more conversational searches (ex. What movies are playing near me? How do you change a tire? Who is Bob Dylan?).
Search results will answer questions rather than providing pages based on keywords. For example, in the past, if you were to type in “pay your bills through citizens bank and trust bank,” you might be directed to the Citizens Bank homepage. Now, you would see the Citizens Bank bill pay page.
The Hummingbird Paradigm
With the implementation of Humingbird, SEO professionals must adapt their strategies for the new paradigm. Long gone are the days of blackhat SEO techniques like keyword stuffing, invisible text, or fake pages.
The adage “content is king” has never been more true. The key to attaining high ranking status now is to think about your website not in terms of what you have to offer, but what your potential customers are looking for. What questions do they have about the services you provide? Once you determine that, you can begin your SEO process by making sure you answer them clearly.
Adding high-quality content to your site will help boost your standing. Make sure that you use subjects that are clearly identifiable by users and search engines. Insert links to relevant sites. Demonstrate your authority over the subject matter.
Hummingbird returns relevant, “valuable” results. How does it determine the merit of your site? The algorithm favors “entities.” Entities can be people, events, movies, television shows, places, etc… The common denominator is that all of them have deep roots on the web. Users have commented on them, shared their information, re-tweeted them, and checked in at their locations. The more that users interact with an entity online, the more important it becomes.
Google has said that approximately 90% of searches will be affected by Humingbird. Savvy SEO pros have already been implementing many of the methods necessary to succeed with the new algorithm. Important components of SEO for Hummingbird include:
- Devising a well-rounded content marketing plan with a mix of pre-planned event-based messaging, highly produced long-term informational content, real-time reaction and interaction, and ongoing output.
- Finding ways to communicate to users about multiple aspects of your sites’ subject.
- Integrating new content into your social media platforms.