We have probably all heard the old saying, “The early bird catches the worm.” Well, in the world of search engines the early bird is the new search algorithm released by Google on its 15 anniversary in the Fall of 2013. Google’s Amit Singhai explained at the anniversary event that while it is possibly the largest change to the algorithm since he joined the company in 2001, most of us didn’t even notice that it had changed. In fact the change was fairly seamless.
So what is this new program and how can it help you and your business? In short, Hummingbird is the new “recipe” so-to-speak that helps Google sort through information it finds during a search to “provide a more direct and precise answer”. According to Search Engine Land, “Hummingbird allows the Google search engine to better do its job through an improvement in semantic search. As conversational search becomes the norm, Hummingbird lends understanding to the intent and contextual meaning of terms used in a query.” So some pages may have a better chance of being found for certain queries now. This does not mean that page rank is dead just merely that it is one of over 200 “ingredients” that go into the Hummingbird recipe. Think of it as taking out an old car engine, (that might run perfectly fine) but replace it with more power and better technologies.
For example, most of us type a question or key phrase into a search engine hoping that the algorithm brings us to a link that is related to our question or search. With the intelligence of Hummingbird, Google Search will take a question and look at the context rather than just seeing the words within the query as separate entities. This deciphering of the context will provide better accuracy and speed in search engine results, thus the name Hummingbird after the speed and accuracy of the tiny bird.
So what does this mean for your business? You know that content of your website is king so continue providing specific, relevant and accurate information for your viewers. This new algorithm will question whether your content truly addresses the specific wants and needs of the searcher. Is your page an authority? Does it provide more in-depth scenarios and answers about your products and services? Does your content stand out in some way to Hummingbird? As usual, know your audience, what they need or want in your products so when they come searching for you they will easily find you. Be the early bird in your company and keep the content fresh and dynamic. Remember, the bird’s the word.