29 November 2013 ~ 2 Comments

What’s The Fuss About The Hummingbird Change And How Would It Affect The World Of SEO?

Here we are once again on the offset that marks a huge change in Google Search Algorithm, wondering how it will impact the world of SEO and the way we, as internet marketers who sincerely believe that we deserve to rank highly, try to please Google.

If we all knew the ins & outs of how Google ranks content and if we knew which factors they use and the exact weight each carries in ranking, then we wouldn’t really have to bang our heads over optimizing search engine rankings, on the contrary, we would have steady traffic pouring in from high search rankings. However, Google doesn’t work that way.

To explain further,

To state a hard-hitting fact about Google

Google makes limited and brief notifications about its updates in search algorithms. It doesn’t share much about its algorithms.

But, do you think that’s unfair? I don’t think so…

We are in a constant quest to know how Google manages to come up with the search results that it does so very often. But in the process we fail to realise how lazy and impatient we are getting.

We want to achieve maximum gains with minimum pain.

However, the irony is that while we are in this endless quest to know how Google ranks pages the truth has always been right in front of us: Take the pain to understand the requirements of your customer inside out and prepare the right good quality content to make them stay on your website and become loyal fans.

To state the fact, Hummingbird isn’t about you and me or the content creators or the off-page optimizers, but it’s about the customers.

Where is Google heading to?

Imagine 15 years down the line, may be you are on a trip to Agra and you take out your smartphone and ask Uncle Google, “Tell me about Shah Jahan”

“Why?” comes the reply.

You blink and rub your eyes. “Did you just ask me ‘why’?”

“Yes,” comes the reply.

“Okay. Because I have come to Agra to visit—”

“And you want to know about the Taj Mahal and its history?”

” … eh. Yeah. Exactly.”

“And so you probably also want to know about other famous monuments to visit in Agra, right?”

“Yeah, yeah. Right.”

“And would you care to know about famous Mughal Emperors  from the mughal era, too?”

“Eh, yeah, that would be great, too.”

“One moment please …”

That, my friends, is Google Search. In the year 2028. It is a prediction that might not be too far from now if the release of Google Hummingbird is any indication of where search is going.

Alright then, let’s clear the air about Google Hummingbird

Hummingbird is Google’s latest change to its Search Algorithm. Notice I said change, not update.

Hummingbird is unlike the previous updates Panda and Penguin. With Hummingbird, Google has begun to completely overhaul search as we know it.

So what makes Google Hummingbird so special?

It’s supposed to be faster and more precise (hence the name “Hummingbird”). But eventually what it’s trying to do is achieve perfectionism in Conversational Search.

In essence, it’s not about the words that are used while searching but the meaning of those words and the context in which they are used.

And why is the Hummingbird change so important?

Google claims that Hummingbird change, unlike in the past, would focus more on user content than on individual search words. In the past Google Search looked at, for example, “football in Mumbai”, as a string of 18 characters in a particular order that resemble the words “football in Mumbai”

From there Google had to interpret your meaning which can be sort of dealing with a toddler.

“Ball,” the toddler says, kicking his right foot in the air.

“Oh, does baby want to play with bat and ball?”

He shakes his head no.

“Baby lost the ball?”

He shakes his head no.

“Baby want to play football?”

Baby bobs his head up and down like a maniac. “Ball!! Ball!”

It takes one smart parent to ask the right question. And it will take one smart search engine to do the same.

In this new series of updates in its search algorithm, Google Hummingbird promises to look at your search queries as conversations. It will analyze your search queries from the past in hopes of uncovering what you mean when you search “play football in Mumbai” or “ tell me where to buy footballs in Mumbai.”

How Search used to be sometime back…

A couple of years ago Search was reigned  by people who would upload short but keyword-dense articles to rank highly for particular phrases, because that was the way Google was set up.

For example, when you searched for “playing football in Mumbai”, Google flipped through its index looking for articles that fit that profile and then delivered those web pages — with the most keyword-dense (but not necessarily quality) articles on the top.

It would be immensely painful, reading through all such articles, wherein you keep stumbling upon the same keyword phrase “playing football in Mumbai” every now and then but not really leading you anywhere and eventually leaving you with other articles to read up.

Quality wasn’t important. Only quantity. Quantity of keywords and quantity of links pointing to that page. Panda and Penguin updates vaporized those sites. Then authorship mark-up and Google+ introduced another important element to quality content: visible, authoritative online writers.

Why? Google understood that it’s probably pretty important to get a page from a recognized authority in ‘football in Mumbai rather than some sport-goods shop owner in Thane who wants to capitalize on selling footballs to just about anybody. So, if you wish to optimize keywords specific to your industry then you can hire SEO Agency Mumbai which will do the work for you.

And now, with Hummingbird having already kicked in, how are things going to be?

What Google is aiming for with Hummingbird is Conversational Search.

In a perfect world Google would love to be able to discover your intention when you type the words “playing roulette” into their rectangular little search box. Are you doing research on ways to kill yourself? Or do you mean the casino game?

Had it been in the past Google would’ve leaned towards the casino game since the suicidal variety was usually modified by the word “Russian.” And so they would have served up articles on casino roulette.

But what if you did want to know how to kill yourself (because you were a journalist covering a recent suicide) — and didn’t realize “Russian” should’ve been included. The spate of casino articles might have confused you.

With the advent of Hummingbird, that guessing game got a little better; by looking at your search history and location (if it was enabled), Google could make better guesses.

If your search history contained numerous sites on gambling and none on suicide then Google is going to consider the words “playing roulette” as entertainment. But if they find “suicide prevention” and “different kinds of suicide” in your history, then it might think you are interested in the fatal game of chance.

This guessing game on context is what is supposed to be improved with Hummingbird.

One way Hummingbird does this is by predicting that a search for “playing roulette” on a mobile device located in Las Vegas should render up nearby casinos while the same search on a desktop is interpreted as a signal that you are looking for tutorials on the casino game (especially since you have a history of visiting roulette game sites).

In other words, Hummingbird is getting closer to the heart of semantic search: search results based upon meaning and context, not words.

If you are still confused with Hummingbird update and don’t know what to do next, then relax and consult an experienced SEO Company in Mumbai.

2 Responses to “What’s The Fuss About The Hummingbird Change And How Would It Affect The World Of SEO?”

  1. Vishakha 30 November 2013 at 6:45 am Permalink

    Very nicely written. Creatively explained the technical content in an interesting manner

  2. Jonson 3 January 2014 at 8:42 am Permalink

    Good piece of work!

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