Hummingbird Algorithm and What It Means to SEO

By Tinuiti Team

Google’s done it again. In the ever-ongoing quest for a better search experience, Google launched its newest search algorithm: Hummingbird. So named for the hummingbird’s unique features, the two biggest qualities the new algorithm anchors itself around are its quickness and precision. Unlike its animal predecessors, Penguin and Panda, the new Hummingbird algorithm isn’t an update to an existing system. Hummingbird is a complete overhaul with only some of Penguin and Panda’s aspects reworked into the algorithm. 2001 was the last time the Google algorithm was rewritten in such a dramatic fashion.

So what does the Hummingbird algorithm mean for SEO? In all truth, it doesn’t mean too much. It should actually improve the SEO experience, but only if you’ve been doing it right the entire time. The Hummingbird update is the hidden opportunity that can give you a leg up and further divide you from the other competition. The advantage is rewarded to those SEO experts who have been creating content that provides real and substantial value to their customers. With more users moving to mobile and phone search, Hummingbird was devised to answer those lengthier questions. The new Hummingbird algorithm has been sending shockwaves throughout the SEO community, but Google maintains its stance that nothing has changed. After all, it’s already been a few months since Hummingbird’s quiet launch.

How to Make Sense of the New Changes and How It Affects your SEO Plans

To talk about the new changes for SEO, we have to backtrack and review the type of goals Hummingbird wants to accomplish. In short, Google not only wants to answer your questions naturally, but better answer the longer, complex questions that may be phrased in natural language. In turn, Google is placing a higher emphasis on user intent, and anticipating the question’s answer to provide the best answers for the user at a higher speed. This will lead to more accurate and personalized answers since the search results will churn out pages that match the meaning instead of just matching a few keywords from the query. Before, Google used to rely on matching keywords for the results. Now, Hummingbird’s algorithm is more sophisticated, intuitive and intelligent. Google is becoming more perceptive and keyed into the needs of their users and is seeking to further improve the user experience. Understanding some of Google’s new changes is essential in moving forward with your SEO efforts.

It’s no longer about focusing on singular objectives, like organic keywords, but having all aspects of the site collaborate and support one another. Google’s guidance has been consistent in telling SEO to provide original and high quality content. Content is still king in SEO’s virtual landscape, and fresh and original content remains one of the most vitally important signals today. With Google moving towards semantic search and tapping further into Google’s Knowledge Graph, SEO needs to continue to position client websites to be the conclusive website that will provide the authoritative answer that people are searching for. To stay ahead of the game, SEOs needs to refine their strategies and begin identifying people’s intent for the website to address. As long as the business is positioned to give the best answer to search queries, your website will flourish and continue gaining genuine rankings and advancing further in SERPs.

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