Website Review: Google Hummingbird Algorithm Explained

What?s the Latest on the Google Hummingbird Update? Here?s our Take for a Website Review

Google is in the business of helping people who are looking for information on the internet find the things they are searching for. To grasp the importance of this for your business, you need only imagine what your average hunt for specific product information would be like if sites like Google did not exist. But how does it work?

When you enter a search query into Google, the computer mechanics behind the scenes attempt to interpret your entry and return information that addresses your question. Those behind the scenes ?computer mechanics? are called algorithms; sophisticated filters that sort through the internet’s content to see what matches what you entered.

Looking Beyond Keywords

Google’s original algorithm approach employed a very simple principle of looking at what searchers Website Reviewentered into a query, and then trying to determine what results to show the user based on identifying keywords from the entry itself. For example, if you entered ?how do you cook an apple pie?, Google took cook and apple pie as the keywords and tailored a search result to those two terms.

While that is still an important element in all of Google’s search algorithms, they have now begun a process of making adjustments based on the evolution of the searching public’s behavior along with changes in the technology of the internet. And two things have changed a lot since the original algorithm was designed:

  • Users have become more sophisticated in their searches ? and search entries have lengthened as a result
  • Google voice commands now let searchers ask for results in full spoken sentences

Google’s Hummingbird algorithm is an update to their original model that attempts to take into account these changes to now consider the entire query being typed or articulated, and interpret the crux of the question. It relies less on keywords and more on contextual meaning.

Understanding Intent

In 2013 Google introduced what it calls its Knowledge Graph in an effort to move beyond mere keyword recognition and grasp conceptual relationships in-order to deliver more precise, accurate results. This would serve searchers by delivering results from businesses providing quality content related to those concepts. And by doing so, Google hopes to encourage businesses to present better content versus simple keyword rich, sales-based web pages.

Google developed Hummingbird in an effort to accomplish both of these goals. Hummingbird changes searching in several interesting ways, which include:

  • Recognizing the relationship between seemingly unrelated searches like: ?how tall is the Empire State building?? and ?when was it built?? Hummingbird realizes the second question is related to the first.
  • Adding a comparison component which can return a more relevant and precise result to an entry like ?what’s the difference between butter and margarine??
  • Enhancing the Knowledge Graph by delivering results to queries that do not have simple answers, like ?tell me about the causes of World War One?

Hummingbird relies on what Google terms conversational search in an effort to see queries as a real interaction between two intelligent beings. In a manner of speaking, it brings thinking to its search results, as though you were asking a librarian where to find information on a subject not reducible to a simple keyword.

The important take away for businesses in designing their websites is that they need to develop content that establishes them as a legitimate resource for quality information in their field, versus just advertising their products. And conducting a website review with this in-mind is the essential first step in making Hummingbird help your business as opposed to missing it entirely.

If you believe your Google results are being hurt by Hummingbird, get a free website review to assessment your digital marketing. This will reveal the gaps in performance, like rankings, to give you a better understanding where stand and where you need to go.

Marketing Matters Inbound?is an inbound marketing firm specializing in online conversions, content?strategy, PPC campaigns and traditional media placement. Our experience in?B2B digital?marketing?and?traditional media?allows us to deliver results through a strategic media mix. We believe in?aligning and merging marketing and sales/operations for optimal return on your marketing investment.

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