There has been a big news recently in SEO where we have seen the release of a new Google search algorithm named ‘hummingbird’. This means that it is very likely some of the processes Google uses to sort and rank webpages within its search engines has changed from what it used to be. For some time we have typically seen Google match a query up webpages that are relevant to some of the keywords in the query. This new update to the Google algorithm will try to not only interpret the meaning of the query better but to also match as much of the query as possible with a relevant web page within its index.
This update to the Google algorithm is fairly new due to it only being announced in September 2013. From what we gather the search engine is designed to be more intelligent at interpreting queries by users searching their index to display even more relevant and quality results. Rather than working out pages that match certain keywords of the query they appear to be getting more interested in the meaning of the whole search query. By doing this there is hope to find better pages that match more of the sentence/keywords/question searched rather than just small parts of it. Conversational search results (which has been available for some time now) is a good example of what might well benefit from the implementation of hummingbird from Google.
By Google being able to study the actual meaning of the whole query better this should help users to get a better quality of webpages when they search within the Google index. People who manage SEO strategies for websites will find that this could have an impact on their website. For example if you have meaningful and in-depth unique content you might find you rank better for long-tail relevant keywords. The update is in a sense hopefully an improvement to semantic search – where the search engine better understands the meaning of the query.
Depending on the nature of your SEO strategy you will either logically do well out of the hummingbird update for your website’s presence in the search result or in some cases possibly do worse. Creating natural content and a natural all-round presence online you should not need to worry about this new update but more embrace it. People who are targeting specific keywords but doing unnatural on-site optimisation and link building might find that it works less effectively as Google progresses to make an even better algorithm that values natural SEO strategy rather than unnatural. The Google algorithm is becoming constantly better at detecting natural quality content and duplicate spun content.
If you do not have mobile optimisation for your website then you might also be impacted in a negative way in the future. Typically mobile searching is associated with conversational search so making sure your website is optimised for mobile SEO is a good way to try and obtain more favour from Google in the search results in align with the new algorithm update.
Making sure you mark-up your website code in align with projects such as schema.org helps Google better understand what your webpage is about and identify the meaning of the content. We think this could be good for the hummingbird update as it helps Google better understand data. This in theory should also bring you better quality/relevant users to your website from Google.
Getting into the mentality that firstly you need to understand what your target market/audience online wants could be crucial in align with the hummingbird update we think. Rather than placing a focus on ranking for certain queries you should perhaps instead think about what your users really want and create your website content around this – also improve the user experience will help to improve the performance on page from your users. By doing this you are hopefully in a better position to obtain more traffic from relevant long-tail keywords in Google. Google has a good understanding of what natural content is and content which is full of keyword plants and over optimisation for specific keywords. A natural approach we believe is going to be more valued than an unnatural one going forward. So we believe this pushes webmasters/SEO people to create a more natural approach to their strategy online in order to obtain the best possible/relevant positions in the Google index to queries that relate to their type of business.