Google started implementing the zoo of changes since 2011 with the Panda and Penguin updates. More recently (3 October 2013), the Hummingbird algorithm was announced, taking us on a nature walk once more. For the ordinary web designer these would seem like irritations interfering with the run of things on the Internet. However, these changes are not just random changes, but are meant for the direct improvement of all the content on the World Wide Web.
The Hummingbird algorithm changes have targeted content once more. The idea is to make sure that the World Wide Web becomes and remains the place for excellent content. Its target, which is more specific this time, addresses search optimization – again.
What Hummingbird Brought into Play
The Hummingbird change is an added benefit to the existing search engine and is probably going to set off another string of changes. However, according to the info available about it, it should be an improvement on the way search happens on the Internet. One of the major aspects is that it gives your search a context. Thus, you are able to enter a complete phrase into the search box, and that would help your search to be more accurate. One of the “keywords” used for this is “conversational search.”
What is “Conversational Search?”
This has to do with the way in which you would put your search queries to the search engine. Instead of using one or two words, you could now enter an entire question (as a sentence), and the search engine would be able to understand what you are asking. Previously, the search engine would match words, and come up with an answer. Hummingbird allows for an understanding of the words and, hence, gives you a better “search answer.”
The intention is also to place a huge target on the backs of mobile users, so that they can hit the mark much easier. This is especially geared to voice searches too. It definitely has more to do with ranking sites in terms of relevance, for better indexing and for crawling of sites.
How is this done?
You could do a search using two ways of query:
- One way is to make use of the older ways, which means you put in the keyword to find information. An example is: “Bob Dylan”
- Google is able to present you with this info:
- The second way would be to give a full description of what you are looking for. An example is: “Give me the story of Bob Dylan”
- What you get is the following:
What you see is that you definitely get a different set of information and sites on each of the searches. With the first search you get a general set of information around Bob Dylan. With the sentence search you get direct information on your query – that is contextualized to your search.
Mobile and tablet users are moving more and more to voice searching due to the awkwardness of the keyboards. Hence, people would often speak in sentences, which is what Hummingbird is addressing in this Google update. The update makes better searches possible. An example of this is that you are able to ask questions and include a series of queries. That is, moving from your basic query, followed by subsequent queries and end up with a full palette of answers on what you are searching for. An example would be:
- Query One:
This is followed by a secondary question:
- Query Two:
A further search improvement with Hummingbird has to do with doing comparison queries. An example of this is, when two aspects are compared in the search, you will get the comparative information displayed. For example:
A Major Contribution of Hummingbird
Hummingbird brought with it, targeted search, and especially conversational queries, which includes all-encompassing knowledge. This is because it has incorporated the Google Knowledge Graph. This still has to do with the fact that the search queries would now be understood within a context. It is the Hummingbird’s task to expand the search capabilities of any queries thrown at it.
The Implications of the Hummingbird Platform
This is indeed a platform from which Google wants to build upon and implement more changes to benefit search capabilities. At this point, the change has had some implications for the serious content writer. This is in terms of:
These will not disappear completely and, hence, content targeting these are still valid. However, it is still a matter of focusing on quality content, but more so creating content by understanding possible intentions of prospective searchers.
- Long Tail Search:
This type of search would also not disappear completely, as what the person is looking for in the phrase or even in the sentence they use in the search, could contain the long tail keywords. Thus, it would not appear as a keyword string, but as part of the query.
- Semantics is now more relevant than ever:
The focus of the Hummingbird Algorithm for content creators is now on building pages, addressing needs, services, and products for clients. By knowing what your clients needs are you would be able to use the language (semantics) that you know they would search for.
It is a matter of now fine-tuning your language so that you are competitive in your niche market. In other words, you should create content that would provide the best in-depth information and knowledge in the market.