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Hummingbird’s Impact on Search Results
We have been through Google Zoo rollouts (Penguin & Panda) the past couple of years that drastically affected SERPs for many websites. It has taken a while to recover from the effects of those changes. To improve the quality of its search product, Google rolled out Hummingbird a few weeks ago. This is the first time since 2001 Google has implemented a completely new algorithm. Fortunately, the immediate visual impact of Hummingbird roll out in search results has been less significant compared to Penguin updates last year. Expect to see the full impact of Hummingbird in the coming months.
How does Google plan on using Hummingbird?
Google’s intent for introducing Hummingbird was to introduce new search capabilities & to deal with complex, long-tail queries. This is also a step towards handling voice-activated queries that have been popular on mobile devices, more effectively. Google is also going to make use of its Knowledge Graph, with a better understanding of search query phrases and results users are looking for.
Why is Hummingbird a significant move for Google?
Google’s long-term goal is to provide users better search experience. In this process, Google is trying to improve its search product that can answer conversational queries (voice-activated) on mobile devices. This is expected to be popular very quickly, since so many of us using voice-activated search queries on our smartphones now. This is a big push from Google for going Mobile.
What does Hummingbird mean for SEO?
- Search is going Conversational; Google is going to provide better search results to long-tail queries, this will encourage users to use voice-activated conversational queries & long-tail queries
- Focus on Content, not Keywords: Long tail phrases in the search query will force marketers to focus on content to accommodate for those phrases, hence making content more useful
- Fragmentation: SEO will rely on the device data to determine intent. If the search is from a mobile device, then you are more likely to be searching for someplace close by, Vs. from the desktop you are at home or office.
- Quality content on Google itself, not third party sites: Google is going to collect all the data and display it in search results, without the user having to click on a third party website link. So, users will be exploring results without leaving Google
- Socializing Search; Google can answer user questions similar to Facebook’s Graph Search feature and Iphone’s Siri
Businesses running SEO campaigns should focus on quality content on their websites, optimized with long-tail related keywords, and accessible across devices. SEO campaign success is not based on keyword ranking only, but also on how the content is received by the visitors. So it is time to revisit the content and ensure you are delivering useful content that can influence the answers Google gives users.
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