Google hummingbird

Making it more like Siri? The buzz about Hummingbird is that it’s the most significant change to Google’s search function in about 10 years. Unlike algorithm updates such as Penguin and Panda, Hummingbird is more of an addition. Although Google’s Search Chief, Amit Signai, labels it a “replacement,” Hummingbird is an interface that does a better job at matching complex web queries to targeted web pages.

Hummingbird tries to reduce the reliance on keywords and put more importance on the intention behind the search. This becomes incredibly important when you consider the projected increase in users searching with mobile and voice.

For years Google has emphasized the fact that they are moving to a more semantic style of search. In short, with semantic search, Google intends to build trust in its search results by weeding out irrelevant sources and manipulative web pages designed only to rank without providing useful information.

For an SEO strategist, it’s becoming increasingly important to position yourself as the provider of answers that people are seeking. The good news is that if the foundation of your SEO initiative has been built on creating unique, relevant content, then nothing in your overall approach should change. In fact, Hummingbird might actually be the update needed to filter out the shadier, spammier marketing services from the more legitimate agencies who have been doing it correctly all along by focusing on increasing traffic organically.

Google quietly rolled out the Hummingbird update sometime in late August, perhaps hoping few would notice. So if you’ve seen your ranking and traffic increase over the last 30 days, then the chances are good that Hummingbird is your friend. And that’s really what Google wants: to be your friend! But if your rankings are decreasing, it likely means you’ve been doing a little to much on site keyword stuffing or haven’t been paying enough attention to offsite efforts.

Google is now making it easier to be polite and respectful when doing a search. Instead of yelling into your phone mic, or slamming a few terms into the search field, such as “stanley cup,” then wading through tons of search results just to find who won a certain year, try it as a complete sentence: Now you can search “who won the Stanley Cup in 2006” and even follow it up with “who was the MVP” and Google won’t treat it as a separate query, but understand that you are talking about the 2006 Stanley Cup.