With around 70% global market share, Google is the most popular search engine.
There are nearly one billion searches every day on Google. In order to maintain the standards of popular search engine, Google tries its best to make sure it gives best results to its users.
Google makes around 500 to 600 changes (data refreshes and updates) every year to provide better results to users. While, most of the changes are minor, some are really big and have great impact on search engine rankings like Panda, Penguin, Caffiene, etc.
These major updates create a lot of anxiety among website owners, especially among small business owners. One such major change by Google, “Hummingbird”, is making a lot of buzz these days. If you are a small business owner looking for some clarity on Hummingbird, then this article is for you. In this article, we discuss what Hummingbird is and what small business owners should know about it.
Google announced Hummingbird on September 27, 2013 on the occassion of its fifteenth anniversary. It, however, got rolled out a month before its announcement i.e., in the last week of August 2013. Hummingbird got its name because it is “fast and precise”. It is the biggest change in Google since 2010 (Amit Singhal, SVP, Google Search). It is an entire replacement of search algorithm retaining earlier features like Panda, Penguin, etc.
Things small businesses should know about Hummingbird
• Hummingbird affected 90% of search results and is more effective on long and complex queries. Google’s little bird is smarter and can answer your complex questions too.
• Hummingbird considers all the words of the query and understands the meaning behind them. It understands the concepts and the relationships between the concepts. It uses knowledge graph for this purpose. Earlier, Google displayed results to users by matching keywords or key-phrases of the users’ query with that of webpages.
• In order to understand the working of Hummingbird, small business owners should first understand what Knowledge graph is.
Whenever a search query is entered, Google summarizes all the content and facts related to the search and displays the information along with the images and suggestions related to the query. For example, If you search for “Albert Einstein”, you can see all the information about him (along with his images) on the right side of your screen – when he was born, his education, inventions, achievements, etc.
• Hummingbird gives more importance to quality content. Content on the website must be in-depth and should be able to resolve all the questions or problems of the users. Along with rich content, authorship also matters.
• Signing up for Google Plus is advantageous.
• Hummingbird makes searches more natural and conversational. It can understand the sequence of queries and displays results accordingly.
• Hummingbird is more helpful to searchers who search on mobile phones. Mobile search and voice search are two important features of the hummingbird. Optimize your website for mobile with large and clear fonts with relevant images enabling users to see and understand the results on mobile screen.
• Using Hummingbird, two objects can be compared. Hummingbird has a comparison tool that can compare two given things like dog breeds, celestial objects, oil and butter, fruits and vegetables, etc. It is said that Google is adding more data to this comparison tool.
Effects on SEO
Not only Hummingbird, all major updates like Panda, Penguin, etc., penalize websites that are spammy, low quality and are using black-hat techniques to manipulate the search engine. There are many false assumptions and misleading rumors that SEO is dead after Hummingbird. Do not fall into the trap. SEO is not dead and Google itself has confirmed this.
Google’s webmasters guidelines remain unchanged. Quality content, natural link-building, user friendly website and good social signals are still the pillars of SEO.
The important thing that small businesses must keep in mind is to provide quality content. The content must be in-depth and should answer all the questions of the users. Also, the more the number of webpages on the website, the better; so keep updating the website with fresh content. It makes easy for the web spiders to crawl over the pages and find the information quickly. Make sure you interact with your customers on social media. Also, see to it that your website is impeccable, not just good – in terms of usability and navigation.
So, optimize your website in such a way that it serves the needs of the users and you will surely get rewarded by Google’s Hummingbird.