Google has a thing for animals, at least when it comes to naming changes to its search engine algorithm – the virtual machine that sorts through the web to get you the results you want. First there was Google Penguin and Google Panda. Now there’s Google Hummingbird, which was recently announced on September 27, Google’s 15th anniversary, by the world’s biggest search engine. So what is Google Hummingbird, and what does it mean to you? Here is what you know about it, especially if you are interested in performance based SEO:
Hummingbird is more than a tweak to the algorithm – it’s a whole different animal
Search Engine Land compares it to changing the car engine of an old car. It says that while Penguin and Panda were tweaks to the system, Hummingbird is a major change. And a ‘brand new engine’ the site says, “though it continues to use some of the same parts of the old, like Penguin and Panda.” The name “Hummingbird” is due to it being “precise and fast,” according to Amit Singhal of Google.
Conversational search is a huge part of Google Hummingbird
Google now can respond in a more conversational way when it comes to searches. What that means is that it can search for what best answer a question, and not just focus on keywords. As mobile becomes more and more important, people are searching more by literally asking questions and speaking to their phones, a la the way Apple’s Siri can answer questions. So Google is answering the questions in a more natural way. And the searches will answer questions intelligently, knowing what the important words are in the question..
Knowledge graph is bigger than ever
Google’s massive knowledge graph, which was introduced last year, is becoming more important with Hummingbird. ‘Things, not strings,’ is how Google describes the concept. And Google is expanding on this idea, making the company more of an answer engine than a search engine. For example, search on ‘butter vs. olive oil’ or ‘earth vs. Neptune’ to see the comparison charts that show up in Google.
You can also search for things like “Tell me about Impressionist artists’ and get a plethora of information at your fingertips, especially if you are making the search on a mobile phone.
Followup questions work differently
If you ask Google about the Washington Monument, and then ask ’how tall is it,’ the search engine can now understand that you are asking a followup question about the Washington Monument, or something else.
So what does this mean for you?
If you have a website, and want to attract traffic and are interested in performance based SEO, you need to focus on answering important questions, and not simply having keywords that people can search for. This makes web quality more important than ever. The more your website has quality information, and answers to questions that people may be interested in, the better it is for you.
To learn more about performance based SEO, visit Blueflyweb.com.
Lisa Swan writes for a variety of Search Engine Optimization sites.