Hummingbird Google Update: Better answers to your questions

October 7th, 2013 in SEO 2 minute read

As Google revealed its latest update Hummingbird on its 15th anniversary, the worry about its effect on rankings spread and many feared that it would be the biggest algorithm update Google had released so far. Although it might be the biggest algorithm change to date, it did not have the type of negative effect many experienced after the Penguin update on May 22 this year.

So how does Hummingbird compare to its larger animal predecessors Panda and Penguin? Well, the update is different in the way that the Panda and Penguin updates were amends to the existing algorithm, whilst Hummingbird is a new update in the sense that the majority of the algorithm was rewritten with the remaining areas discarded.

The background to Hummingbird lies in the way that people are interacting with search engines. Traditionally we are used to typing in separate keywords that are as specific as possible to find what we were looking for, but more and more we rely on Google to give us an answer to a question. With smartphones and tablets and voice activated search, Hummingbird is trying to reflect the modern way of searching. This includes taking into account prepositions and “useless” words such as ‘in’, ‘the’, and ‘at’, which means that you can be much more specific in regards to what you are looking for.

As Hummingbird’s purpose is to reflect human verbal communication in search, the update takes context and synonyms into account. This includes using previous search enquiries in a way that replicates human communication, where a conversation is on-going, and returns answers based on previous questions asked. Because of this, Hummingbird will also help bring long-tail keywords into force (as you can read more about here).

To sum up, the Hummingbird update is different to Panda and Penguin as it does not seek to penalise websites for wrongdoings; it is an update made to improve Google’s accuracy to reflect the modern way of search. So far, there has been no evidence of Hummingbird effecting any websites in a negative way. What will be important for websites going forward is to keep focusing on high quality content. Content that ‘answers’ consumer’s questions will in turn reflect in positive rankings.

Here at Zeal, our main focus is content. High quality content. As content marketers we know it is, and will be, the most important factor for a successful place in the online community and the number one key to a successful online business. If you have any further questions or want to ask us what we can do for you, please don’t hesitate to call the office on 0113 887 3070.

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