Taming Google’s Latest Animal: The Hummingbird Algorithm

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Last week, I posted a beginner’s guide to Latent Semantic Indexing. If you didn’t take the opportunity to learn about LSI at that time, you should really consider it now because Google just officially boosted semantic searching with its latest algorithm – Hummingbird.

Google’s Hummingbird is More for Search Intent, Not Content

The web content industry has treated keywords as the cornerstone of optimization for nearly two decades. While keywords are still important in today’s search optimization, they’re no longer the priority when it comes to ranking on the search results.

Hummingbird confirms this new method of SEO by focusing on semantic search. Semantic search is understanding user intent rather than just picking out keywords. As Google’s algorithms have gained more power, the search engine has been able to better understand exactly what a user is searching for rather than just looking to see how many times certain words in the query are used on a page of content.

By using the semantic search approach, Google hopes to connect users to more relevant content that answers their query. While Penguin and Panda algorithm updates penalized pages for keyword stuffing or poor content, Hummingbird seeks to improve Google’s own performance by optimizing the methods by which it determines the relevancy of a page.

Hummingbird Changes How Search Queries are Answered

Google has been slowly altering the way it looks at search for a while, but never went public about it until the Hummingbird announcement. Over the past few years as Internet search has gained more and more ground as a preferred way to find information, the search analysts have noticed that people are now searching more in phrases rather than just pure keywords.

One of the biggest catalysts for the change to semantic search is the growing popularity of voice search which Google implemented in its mobile site and web apps. Users with smartphones can go to the Google website or app and use their phone’s voice input feature to speak their query rather than type. This lends to more in-depth requests – “florist in Cleveland” may become, “Where can I find a florist near the Cleveland Clinic main campus?”

Hummingbird will no doubt place more emphasis on relevancy of content when it chooses which web pages to return as results to a query. Synonyms and use of the core keywords in the page title, meta description, and headers will continue to be an important part of SEO. Of course, quality content will never be knocked from its position of being the number one goal of writing for the web!

Complying with Hummingbird – Let Us Help You!

Our SEO team was ahead of the game in preparing content for the Hummingbird changes. Months ago we implemented less of a focus on specific, repetitive keywords and a stronger focus on synonyms. While we’ve always paid attention to our page titles, meta descriptions, and headers, we continue to ensure our content is fully compliant with the latest optimization practices.

No matter what animal Google throws at us, we’ll help you tame it. Give us a call at 888-521-3880 or fill out our contact form to find out more about how Hummingbird may impact your business’ search rankings and what We Do Web Content can do to help!