Google Hummingbird – What Does it Mean for SEO?

There has been widespread fear that SEO as we have known it before is dead due to the introduction of Google’s hummingbird algorithm. If that thought had crossed your mind, dismiss it immediately. Yes, there have been major changes in how Google ranks websites but some things still remain the same. Quality content, as well as backlinks from authority sites acquired naturally still play a major role in how your website ranks in the SERPs. The change that we are seeing is probably the return of the popularity of the long tail keyword. This won’t be such a big difference. After all, many of us in the SEO industry were already warming up to it.

What remains the same?

Many of the things that worked for SEO before the introduction of Hummingbird will continue to work.

These include:
• The importance of engaging and original content
• The importance of quality back links. These should still be earned through the proper way.
• Keywords still carry a lot of weight and must be distributed well within the content. Keyword stuffing is still a no-no.

The most notable change with the introduction of the Hummingbird algorithm is the way Google interprets the way we search.

Changes in interpreting search habits

Many of us enter a question of selected keywords into the search engine when making a search. The search engine’s algorithms choose the keywords and bring up websites containing those words. The algorithms don’t search for links that are related to the context of the query made.

In other words, we used trial and error searching. We had to guess where Google was likely to take us and then try to pose the question to bring the search results as close as possible to what we wanted.

The intelligence of the Hummingbird

There have been many intelligent changes brought about by Penguin and Panda that have changed search habits over the past few years. It isn’t therefore a shock to hear that the developers at Google had been working on a way to make search engines much smarter. The developers have been searching for a way to make search engines consider the context of the question presented to them rather than simply picking out keywords within the query.

This research led to the birth of an entirely new algorithm, the Hummingbird algorithm. The approach used by the algorithm to search engine enquiries is a completely new and intelligent approach. It combines the features of older algorithms with the speed and accuracy of new search methods.

The Hummingbird algorithm was first seen in August 2013. Unlike previous algorithms, it will use long tailed keywords in trying to decipher the context of queries made on search engines rather than selecting keywords and searching for websites containing these keywords. The goal of the algorithm is to present the searcher with results that actually answer the specific question.

Collecting information over the years

Google has been around for more than 15 years now. It is certainly the most popular search engine today. It has been collecting information from searches made and probably has one of the largest databases of knowledge that has ever been recorded. It is therefore not surprising that they would put this information to good use.

This large database of knowledge is now available to the Hummingbird. Knowledge continues to be gathered, cross referenced, categorized and stored. All this information makes it easier for the Hummingbird algorithm to do exactly what it was designed to do.

It is therefore no big surprise that the algorithm was developed. With this vast store of knowledge at their disposal and the growing need for conversational search abilities, it was inevitable that the Hummingbird algorithm would be introduced.

That said; remember that this is not the final product yet. It is not 100% accurate and it still returns wrong answers many times but Google seems determined to make it better every new day.

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