Although many in the Internet marketing world were already expecting changes from Google this year, the giant search engine still made quite a splash when it announced its latest effort they dubbed as Hummingbird.
Launched on Google’s 15th anniversary, Hummingbird, referred to by some as pretty-bird-update, is the latest shift in Google’s search algorithm.
What makes this very significant is that it is not just an update like what they did with Panda and Penguin, two previous updates that modified part of the algorithm only. Rather, Hummingbird is an entirely new algorithm, the biggest change Google implemented in 3 years.
This search algorithm improvement comes after the search engine announced that all searches in the future will be made secure and that keyword data will not be made available any longer.
Google also verified talks that Hummingbird focuses on ranking information founded on more intelligent and naturalistic searches. What this implies is that the search engine aims to have a better understanding of the relevance and the relationships of words and phrases rather than merely take a group of individual terms into account.
What this means for website business owners
As a whole, the Hummingbird update has retained the guidelines based on Penguin. Essentially, the previous update required content to be entertaining, informational, sustainable, and ethical – a requirement that remains unchanged today.
One distinctive improvement, which is now more important than ever, is the implementation of semantic search. This method makes use of “conversational” or naturalistic search terms and they are also inclined to be long-tail in nature.
More importance is now given on the collective meaning of search terms and less emphasis on individual keywords. As Google stated, nothing is massively different in terms of SEO.
For website business owners, one of the immediate implications is that SEO methods will need to be more focused on longer, semantic search terms. For site owners who adhere to Penguin updates, especially in their content marketing and SEO techniques, very little change can be expected. Basically, Hummingbird will have quite an impact on these areas: choice of search terms; the likelihood of new conditions to enable faster indexing of content; and the human factor aspect.
What website business owners should look into
With long-tail keywords evidently holding significance in the Hummingbird update, there is now more magnitude in building SEO techniques around the right long-tail search terms.
While the technique of incorporating the right keywords has benefits in terms of better ranking, keyword density will also need to be considered, taking care not to carry it too far. More importantly, the overall SEO practices for the entire website will also have more impact now.
Regardless of the number of updates Google will implement or plan to implement, the fact remains that the chief goal they intend to achieve with all the algorithm changes they periodically launch is to provide useful, targeted content to users through a better, clearer understanding of user search intent and behavior.
For business owners with websites that conform to SEO best practices and hold online ethics to a high standard, Hummingbird and such changes will not necessarily be their downfall.