Google’s Hummingbird Algorithm
Since approximately 2001 till the end of last year, Google has used the same algorithm to generate search results. Besides a few updates (Penguin, Panda, Caffeine) nothing compares to Hummingbird.
Let’s review key changes found in the Hummingbird algorithm, with better hopes enhance your SEO strategies.
What is an algorithm?
Algorithms are the procedures a computer takes to get a task done. When you enter in a search query into google, a series of processes are enacted to render your results. At the most basic level, we execute algorithms everyday:
Brushing teeth algorithm:
1. open drawer
2. grab toothpaste
3. unscrew toothpaste lid
4. pick up toothbrush
5. hold toothpaste over your toothbrush
6. squeeze toothpaste
Google’s Hummingbird Algorithm in a Nutshell
Google decided to label the new algorithm “Hummingbird” because it is “precise and fast.” While developing Hummingbird, they didn’t toss everything aside. Google has combined new techniques with older algorithms, including PageRank. PageRank uses the web’s vast link structure “as an indicator of an individual page’s value.”
Google describes the change in Algorithm as
“a new engine built on both existing and new parts, organized in a way to especially serve the search demands of today, rather than one created for the needs of ten years ago, with the technologies back then.”
Hummingbird –the best of two worlds
The Hummingbird algorithm combines a handful of their older search protocols with key changes. “Conversational Searching” is one of those. Instead of analyzing a search query for simple keywords, the new algorithm scans the entire search phrase –for example, “What is the Capitol of Chile?” You might argue that Google has been doing this for years, and you are right. The major difference is that the new algorithms find meaning in the keywords searched, thus yielding better results.
Another key change is Hummingbird’s ability to search every word in a phrase, as oppose to only a few. Google hopes these changes will broaden its ability to search webpages for context– and finally answer its user’s query.
Two words: “Knowledge Graph.” Google collects a lot of information. The Knowledge Graph is where Google keeps all of it’s precious information it has been storing over the past few years. When you enter a query on google, Hummingbird has all the Knowledge Graph at its fingertips. It boils down the most valid information into “information cards,” or blocks of information on the margin of the page. When I searched, “Who is Joe Lavano?” This is the information card I received on the right-hand side of my browser:
Hummingbird has been up and running for a few months now –Since about August 2013. As a small business owner, blogger, or web enthusiast, analyzing the results of your past 2-3 months of SEO efforts may give some valuable insight into how Hummingbird has changed your website traffic.
If your traffic has gone down:
Take a hard analysis of your site’s content — is most of it original?
If not, you might consider writing fresh, unique content–Remember you are competing with the Knowledge Graph now!
Set your blog on a weekly writing schedule
Join Google+ and start posting articles
Explore making YouTube videos for your site (it’s Google owned, you know)
Interview Experts in your field for Q & A articles
And what about the importance of keywords?
It still exists.
Keywords are still important, though with Google’s “conversation searching” you might consider adding long-tailed keywords into your vernacular. For example, the simple keyword “Shoes” would produce really broad results. “Red high heel size 9,” a long-tailed keyword, is more valuable to a shoe store owner. The latter is more likely to make a sale. Below is an infographic to demonstrate.
taken from Moz.com
Google’s new Hummingbird algorithm’s are sure to improve user’s search capabilities. Knowing your content inside-and-out, and emphasizing long-tailed keywords are the best ways to deal with the change. Check back for more information and updates as they come.