Google’s Hummingbird improves the quality of search results

Hummingbird, so named for its speed and precision, is Google’s latest search algorithm update. It was designed to improve the quality of search results by finding the meaning behind our queries rather than simply matching keywords.

by Meg - 21.11.2013

How Hummingbird affects you and your website

The way we search has evolved, the increase in voice searches on mobile devices means that requests are more question-based, with typed searches becoming more conversational. Hummingbird can interpret these questions and using Google’s knowledge base, provide intelligent and relevant answers.

This new semantic way of searching also takes into consideration our previous searches, geographical location, current trends, etc., meaning that the same search does not necessarily return the same results to each of us.

Google speeds up searches

After you enter your search, Google looks at and scrapes information from various websites. The results are displayed on the right-hand side of the page in the Knowledge Graph and include images, descriptions and suggested links – lots of useful information without having to search any further.

Good news for Google who keep you on its site for longer; further inducement to stay is the provision of links to sites such as Google Play, YouTube, Picasa, and other... Google sites (say no more!).

Tips for website owners

  • Whilst quality content remains vital, keywords no longer dominate. The entire search query/sentence is read and each word is considered, so the true meaning behind the question is found. The removal of keyword data from Google Analytics was an early clue to this shift in priority.
  • Google values links to your site from other sites that have content relating to yours. This helps it understand what your site is all about. Bit like checking out references of job applicants. Spammy backlinks will damage your reputation, eliminate them immediately.
  • Your website will have to go deeper with regard to the information shared, because the Knowledge Graph already displays basic answers following a search. You have to provide more detailed and specific content, blog posts, analysis, opinions, and expertise - answering conversational queries.

Hummingbird aims to better understand searchers questions and provide them with relevant answers. It learns and remembers, drawing upon Google’s rapidly expanding knowledge. But the guidance from Google remains the same, create original, high quality content.

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