How Google Hummingbird affects you
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How Google Hummingbird affects you
11 October 2013

Hummingbird is a game changer. If your site isn't optimised to cope with the change, your business could struggle to get found.

Hummingbird is the biggest Google algorithm change since 2001. It's a dramatic overhaul based on how our own behaviours and technology has evolved. Unlike refinements ie; Google Penguin and Panda, this new search algorithm will transform the way websites, and therefore your business, is evaluated for SEO based on how people actually seek information.

Conversational and question based search is a significant feature of this new algorithm, stemming from the way people can search online; including the devices they use to access the internet. It's common to just type a question into a search engine versus entering keywords, this also naturally caters for voice searching on devices eg; Google Voice Search, Siri etc.

For example; when asking or typing in “What’s the closest motel to me?” a traditional search engine would focus on finding matches for words — returning a page that says “motel” or “closest motel”, regardless of where that motel is physically located. Hummingbird focuses on the meaning of the question, so for this example it would assess your location in context, and return a webpage of the nearest motel to you.

Hummingbird pays more attention to each word in a query, ensuring that the whole query or meaning is taken into account, rather than individual words. The goal is that pages matching the meaning do better, rather than pages matching just a few words. This is only one part of the new Google algorithm, but perhaps one of the most critical.

Let's look at the Google zoo and what they addressed:

Google Panda

  • Initially introduced in 2010, on-going changes as they get better at tweaking the code
  • Change to Caffeine algorithm geared towards penalising low quality sites
  • High quality content is advised to be essential, if rankings fall this is typically because the quality of content is poor, or it’s of the cut and paste variety
  • High penalisation of sites with derivative content, scrapped or duplicate content

Google Penguin

  • Released in April 2012 Penguin focused on penalising unnatural, manipulative inbound link profiles coming from poor quality sites
  • Applies to sites that aren't topically relevant to your niche or business
  • Paid links
  • Keyword rich links
  • Links where the anchor text is overly optimized (i.e. exact-match anchor text)

Google Hummingbird

  • Released last month, a dramatic engine overhaul based on how our own behaviours and technology has evolved
  • No longer sole emphasis on keyword, though this began changing with Penguin and Panda, heavy quality content focus moving forward from Penguin and Panda
  • Question based searches vastly improved
  • Conversational search to focus on search meaning
  • Higher focus on images and video meta data
  • Complete focus on string of queries rather than individual wording

So what does this mean for you?

Quality content remains king and standard SEO essentials are still important including the basics; research based keyword selection, page titles, short URLs, internal linking using keywords, and specific external links to relevant and reciprocal sites.

Good advice and assessment by an industry specific SEO expert is crucial, and with the launch of Hummingbird, now is the time to perform an Analytics audit. It’s also critical to review your SEO strategy or establish one if you don’t have a strategy. Our SEO experts can take care of all of this for you; we have a range of SEO care packages designed to get you results online. 

Let us take care of it all for you, contact us today on or +64 7 541 1111 to find out more.


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