With the emphasis on social search lately, it may not come as much of a surprise that Google has been working on yet another algorithm change to focus on this more conversational search method. Google officially announced the release of their new update Hummingbird on September 25, 2013. For anyone running a website or blog, it’s time to sit up and take notice to ensure your site makes the most of the search changes.
In a nutshell, Google Hummingbird is all about getting answers to questions. Google aims for this algorithmic change to help searchers find answers by asking actual questions in a natural format such as “what are the best restaurants in Raleigh, NC.” The move is designed to mimic the new conversational search trend becoming popular on mobile devices such as Android and iPhone. Instead of asking users to enter a key phrase or keyword, they can enter a full question and see results that best answer the question.
As usual, Google isn’t giving out too many technical details at the moment. However, Google did state that the last time their algorithm changed this drastically was in 2010 with the Caffeine Update. While it’s being touted as an update, it’s actually a full replacement of Google’s search algorithm. Elements of Panda and Penguin, which we’ve all dealt with in recent years, are still a part of Hummingbird. Essentially, Google’s upgraded to what it believes is a much better algorithm designed to give users better results.
What This Means For You
Until Google releases more details, it’s difficult to understand what you may need to change to continue ranking high or climbing the ranks. Google isn’t getting rid of PageRank any time soon, so that’s still something to focus on. The search giant stated that nothing has really changed concerning SEO and that site owners and bloggers should just continue writing useful, grammatically correct content.
Though it was just announced, the new Hummingbird algorithm has been in place for a few weeks now. If your site’s views or rank hasn’t changed much, then continue with the same approach. For best results, keep crafting your content and site design based around what humans would want to see, not just search engines. As Google shifts to finding results based around the meaning behind a search query, writing more conversational, people friendly content is more important than ever.
Since this is a major change, you can likely expect some major updates to go with it as Google continues to tweak it to get the desired results for searchers. Of course, Google makes minor, unannounced changes on a regular basis. For now, don’t panic and keep an eye on your site’s analytics to see if Hummingbird actually affects your site at all.