From Penguins and Pandas Comes The Hummingbird; Game Changer in SEO?
On the eve of its 15th birthday last week, Google revealed a new search algorithm named “Hummingbird”. Designed to be more precise and provide faster query results, the algorithm is based on semantic search, focusing on user intent versus individual search terms.
Hummingbird has become the most exciting news lately within the Digital Media space as SEO practitioners seem to be excited for this new positive change that makes life easier for them henceforth. The key role of this new algorithm is the Hummingbird is paying more attention to each word in a query, ensuring that the whole query – the whole sentence or conversation or meaning – is taken into account, rather than particular words. The goal is that pages matching the meaning do better, rather than pages matching just a few words.
Hummingbird is a definite expansion of Google’s semantic capability evident at the search interface level that reveals, significantly, two things
- First, Google has increased its ability to deal with complex search queries which means that it also has got better at indexing entities in Web documents.
- Second, it has got a lot better at relationally linking search queries and Web documents which means that its Knowledge Graph must be considerably enriched.
However, from a strategy point of view this opens the horizon for companies and webmasters considerably. From a practical perspective, the need to identify the USP of each business and become authoritative within it is now a key criteria for continued SEO success. The comparison element that has been integrated suggests that semantic mark-up may begin to confer an advantage now when it comes to helping index information in products and services.
When an SEO consultant and president of Archology, Jenny Halasz was asked about his feeling towards this next big change by Google, he replied:
“It’s becoming less and less about the keyword and more about the intention behind it. We see that with all the recent changes, but especially with Hummingbird,” said Halasz, “There’s no doubt that not having keywords provided will make it a little harder to discover customer intent, but there are a lot of other ways to get clues about that, including actively engaging with your customers on social media and such.”
Trond Lyngbo, a senior SEO strategist and partner at Metronet in Norway, is excited about Hummingbird and has been forecasting Google’s the algorithm updates since December 2012.
“It’s a good thing. Google is trying to find the intent behind the queries, and offer a solution,” said Lyngbo, “I look forward to seeing how it evolves as Google’s Knowledge Graph expands, especially how successful Google will be when it comes to local searches via mobile devices.”
As a Digital Marketing Strategist, I personally feel that, this new algorithm “Hummingbird” is definitely a good change because firstly, from the point of a SEO practitioner, I can now focus on how I can make the keywords sensible for the users as well as the services we offer rather than trying to implement the “keyword stuffing” method which has been in practice for years now to rank high on Google. Secondly, From the users point of view, when I perform a search on Google, I will now be able to see the most relevant result to my query instead of a result that makes no sense to what I need but “just happens” to have the words I typed.
Our Founder, Chiranjeevi Maddala says “This is a new beginning for Google. I feel Google has become more intelligent now to give the users a high level experience by providing most relevant results by understanding their intent for search. This will bring a massive change how businesses and agencies are doing the SEO now. We need to focus on creating quality content that answers the user questions than just filling the pages with ‘keywords’.
We are glad that we have been following these principles since the inception of SWEET and we have been seeing good results with our practices. Our strategy to avoid meaningless practices like unnecessary directory submissions, so called social bookmarkings etc and focus only on producing quality content and sharing it on social space.
I believe hummingbird update will force many SEO agencies to rethink their current practices and adapt to the changes to get benefit out of search engines.”
Now its just a matter of time to see how this new algorithm creates a new evolution in the world of SEO and what the “new era” SEO practices will look like henceforth.