Everything You Need to Know About The New Hummingbird Algorithm

We relay important information about Google’s search engine methods

Google’s Hummingbird algorithm, introduced in 2013, handles keywords differently to earlier versions. We explain why website owners need to brush up on this new search protocol.

Google recently updated its search algorithms, telling webmasters during September 2013 that a new algorithm was going to be introduced which would have an impact on more than 90% of Google searches worldwide. It was called Hummingbird, and is supposed to be one of the most significant changes to the search engine since the start of the Millennium. The main reason for introducing this new algorithm is to make the search engine retrieve better results for users, improving its ability to search for keywords and similar phrases, known as ‘conversational search’, and ensuring that context is not lost when customers are searching for a particular website. If you want to improve your search engine rankings, then you need to know more about this algorithm and how it might affect your search presence.

Keywords still feature strongly

Although the heads at Google have placed an important emphasis upon natural phrases in websites, saying for example that ‘people communicate with each other through conversation…not keywords” (Singhal, 2013), and big wigs have suggested that Google wants to move away from keyword-based websites, your keywords still have an important role to play in the optimisation of your website. The main change is that you will have to start concentrating more about the overall content of the website, rather than upon the use of keywords. You may need to change the arrangement of words in a phrase, or the placement of keywords in a paragraph, in order to meet the demands of Hummingbird.

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The role of conversational searches

Google placed a lot of emphasis upon conversational searches, but some website owners might not be familiar with this term. Essentially, the difference between traditional searches and conversational searches is that mobile use means that people are more likely to put full questions into the search engine, rather than keywords. Traditional searches will focus upon the most important phrases in a sentence, so that ‘where can I buy mobile phones near my house?’ will offer less specific results based on ‘buy’ and ‘phones’. Hummingbird is more likely to offer choices which relate directly to the meaning of the whole sentence, so users will be offered a list of mobile stores close to their home.

There is more emphasis upon mobile users

With the introduction of the Hummingbird algorithm, there is an increased reliance on the role of mobile-friendly web pages in the rankings of the website. This means that you will need to be able to make changes to your content, which allows your website to be viewed easily by those on mobiles. Mobile optimisation is now almost as important as website optimisation in the new algorithm. It seems likely that in the next decade or so the majority of your customers will by using mobile devices such as tablets or phone browsers to search and to navigate online, and this means that making your website more user-friendly requires that you focus upon the interaction between mobile users and your website.

SEO is the most important part of any website

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The introduction of Google’s Hummingbird algorithm brings with it more emphasis upon the contextual content of searches, rather than specific keywords, but this doesn’t mean that webmasters don’t need to pay close attention to optimising their websites. When it comes to generating more exposure for your business online, there are a lot of boxes to tick, but with the help of specialist SEO consultants, website owners should be able to transform their traditional SEO practices to ensure their search campaign is well and truly in tune with Hummingbird.


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