Google Hummingbird Update and How It Affects SEO – Alchemy Interactive

Google’s Search Algorithm Update – Hummingbird

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Google Hummingbird Update

Recently Google announced a new update which they called Hummingbird. Google’s announcement of the new update also mentioned that they had actually started using Hummingbird some time ago, and that it potentially impacts around 90% of all searches.


What is Google’s Hummingbird Algorithm update?

Hummingbird is a complete replacement to the old algorithm and uses new techniques to sift and rank websites. Although it is completely new, it still utilises some of the old techniques such as PageRank, as well as quite a few others.

Whats the difference?

In simple terms its designed to optimise searches for a more natural ‘conversational’ type search, mainly in the form of questions. (as searches are usually question based).

Google has been moving towards a more natural language based algorithm since 2011 which started when trying to detect fake online reviews. In 2012 Google hired a language expert Ray Kurzweil who has an extensive background in speech recognition so it’s no surprise that one of the major impacts at Google is another step closer towards conversational search.

Why Optimise for Conversational Search?

It’s a step closer to natural language – the ultimate challenge is being able to talk to Google / computer and mistaking it for a human (see the Turing test for examples of computer intelligence – it’s not easy). So Google will become more like a helpdesk which you call for help rather than a computer screen you type a query into.

And as mobiles are taking over from desktop based searches, it makes sense that Google will be moving towards optimising results that arise from a more natural AND ‘spoken’ based input device using mobile microphones to ‘speak’ your search query rather than a typed based one.

Whats the Impact of Hummingbird on SEO efforts?

As far as I can tell, there’s no real impact on current SEO, therefore there’s no changes to make. That’s if you’ve already been optimising your site to the current recommendations which address:

  • Content
  • Speed
  • Mobility
  • Usability
  • Accessibility
  • Social

Want to know how to optimise your site and manage your own SEO activity? Contact Alchemy Interactive on 020 3078 6725.

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