A lot has been said already about Google’s recent Hummingbird SEO update, more than any one person could be expected to process. So, to make it easier to get up to speed, we’ve rounded up relevant articles from industry experts and we’re sharing them here, allowing you to learn what you need to about Hummingbird in just one sitting.
Here’s what we can tell you about the update itself
Hummingbird takes into account the phrasing and context of questions asked, so that the results pulled in a search speak more fully – and with greater relevance – to the searches made. It forces the engine to consider the questions a person has asked previously, the places where the questions originated, and a person’s intent in asking those questions. It’s partly a result of Google’s desire to better serve voice-activated search queries.
And here’s what others have to say
- Hummingbird is more than an algorithm. Writing on Moz, Gianluca Fiorelli says “We can affirm that Hummingbird is also an infrastructural update, as it governs the more than 200 elements that make up Google’s algorithm…Hummingbird has not meant the extinction of all the classic ranking factors, but is instead a new framework set upon them. If a site was both authoritative and relevant for a query, it still will be ranking as well as it was before Hummingbird.”
- The update has far from killed SEO, as some had feared initially. Rather, as Joshua Steimle writes on Forbes, it has simply brought content to the forefront: “If you have original, high-quality content, and you have high-quality and relevant websites linking to your own website, then your website is still going to rank well.”
- Moving forward, the content you offer ought to be thorough and speak to the “long tail, semantically related keywords” today’s buyers use, says David Towers of MEC, on EConsultancy.
- The update promises to do B2B vendors in particular a world of good, writes Harrison Jones for Search Engine Land. It will lessen the need to compete for a limited, expensive handful of relevant, service-oriented keywords (an example: “industrial automation”).
- Hummingbird is geared, in part, to mobile and voice search. So, advises Paul Hill on the Content Marketing Institute blog, be clear in the words you use and how you structure sentences.
- Keywords aren’t going away, but relationships between concepts are becoming more important, says Paul Sanders of Brandpoint, writing for MarketingProfs.
- Despite its emphasis on conversational searches, the update won’t kill link-building; the white-hat version will keep its place among SEO practices so long as quality is put before quantity. Read what else Kaity Nakagoshi thinks, on Business2Community.
- The questions people ask of your sales and customer service teams are the questions your content should answer. If you aim for this already, Hummingbird isn’t a big change for you, says Gini Dietrich in a story on Social Media Today.
- If you’re primarily a video marketer, make sure to mark up your individual video landing pages and submit video sitemaps maps via Webmaster Tools, says Carla Marshall of Reel SEO (a site for video marketers).
- In the long term, queries will be defined by long tail human desires and needs, not keyword strings. Eric Enge of Stone Temple Consulting, writing for Copyblogger, has more.
- A healthy website is constantly expanding in breadth. The easiest metric to review is the number of unique entrance pages used by users to get to the website, says Adam Stetzer of HubShout, writing on Search Engine Watch.
- Digital marketers need to pounce on this opportunity to be more relevant to their target audiences and dial down the keyword optimization approach. The result will be a stream of branded content that is more relevant to search engines and the target audience, says Aaron Aders, writing on Inc.
And Michael Cottam writes about keeping Penguin in mind as well as Hummingbird, for Act-On: Google’s Angry Birds.
“Hummingbird” image by Jason Paluck used under a Creative Commons 2.0 license
“Angry Birds” pumpkin, and image, by Michael Cottam of Visual Itineraries, used by permission.