What’s the Word, Hummingbird?

Precise and Fast

Over the past couple months, Google has been rolling out a new search algorithm named Hummingbird. This name was chosen because hummingbirds are precise and fast, which is what Google search intends to emulate. The benefit of this update is to improve the answers that are “asked” to Google’s search engine. Google is moving away from keyword based search results, and more toward human-like answers (results).

Historically, Google focused heavily on keywords. You would search, “where can I buy cheap car parts in Kenosha.” Google would provide results based on those specified keywords. The old method might return results for the words “cheap,” “car,” “parts,” and “Kenosha.” The top results would be keyword stuffed sites with little or no content to offer. This has all changed with Hummingbird.

Now when using Google through the Hummingbird algorithm, the results will be focused on content to answer your specific questions. Top-ranking sites will provide concrete information on “where you can buy cheap car parts in Kenosha.” Information will be new and relevant, while being well structured and mobile responsive. As before, Google will continue to consider your location and previous browsing data to present search results that are more relevant to the user.

Hummingbird is a positive step for consumers and businesses. It will help Google users find more relevant and accurate results and will reward the businesses that develop SEO friendly websites that focus on quality content.

What about SEO?

Now, before keyword experts have a panic attack, we want to assure you that not much has changed in the SEO world. If you have a well-structured site, with good, original, high-quality content, you will not be affected by Hummingbird. In fact, Hummingbird will most likely benefit you.

A major difference in the Hummingbird update is the removal of keyword reports in Google Analytics. You will no longer be able to see which keywords are drawing users to your site. This may seem like a negative, but it really isn’t. If you are producing updated, relevant content on your website, the traffic will continue, and probably improve. An important note is that AdWords customers will continue to have access to keyword reports. If your business already runs an online campaign, no need to worry. If you are interested in creating one, Dooley & Associates can help you develop and manage your own tailored campaign.

Google continues to be on the hunt for “black hat” websites. These types of websites provide little content and are usually jam-packed with keywords. The sole purpose of many of these websites is to reach the top of search rankings so the ads on their sites excel. They don’t care about the user experience. “Black hat” websites aim to get a large amount of hits which in turn will earn them more advertising dollars. With the launch of Hummingbird, these sites will be quickly banished to the corners of the search result world which no humans will ever visit. With some of these “higher-trafficked” sites being eliminated, search results to your website will improve! It’s a win for all small businesses.

Our Final Thoughts

John Hogan, Director of Digital Media - Hummingbird is a logical continuation of where Google, and search engines in general, have been transitioning toward – a greater emphasis on context and intention, as opposed to keyword-type queries. Continuing to put more emphasis on page content and page usability will help your site in search engine rankings.

Matt Glaman, Director of Web Development - Google wants to be your buddy. They want to communicate with you like a friend, instead of a machine.

Johnny Puntillo, Digital Specialist - I believe Hummingbird is a great thing. As long as you are running an honest website, this update will only benefit you.