Much has been said about Google’s Hummingbird algorithm update. Even before it was announced on September 26, 2013—coinciding with the search engine giant’s 15th anniversary—the SEO world has already been abuzz about it and treating it as the beginning of the end of SEO.
Some even went as far as saying that SEO is dead. This latest update is huge, and is being touted as the biggest to hit Google since the 2010 Caffeine update. The Hummingbird Algorithm update is said to affect 90% of queries, and that has gotten many SEO practitioners worried.
Intelligent understanding of search queries
As it turns out, the biggest change effected by the Hummingbird algorithm update is that search questions we pose now get direct answers. Google apparently understood that many of its users pose more detailed questions when searching for something, so decided to accommodate what is now being called “conversational search”. The main difference between Caffeine and Hummingbird is that the former targeted improved indexing of websites, while the latter focuses more on ranking search information based on intelligent understanding of search queries.
Knowing search user intent
So how does the Hummingbird algorithm update affect content? With this new update, Google is basically stressing that knowing search user intent is more important than keyword searches. At its very basic, Hummingbird and Google now acknowledges such concepts as context and timeliness, among other things. Since it’s all about intelligent understanding of search queries, content developers will have to come up with content that is deep, rich and relevant enough to answer complex and more comprehensive queries and not just rely on keywords or key phrases. If your site has that type of content, then you have better chances of ranking well with this update.
Importance of authorship
It also appears that authorship is bound to become an even more vital aspect for optimization with Hummingbird. That is why you need to make sure that for any piece of content you publish, make sure that Google can easily attribute it back to its author. To do that, create profiles for your content, and promptly update and attribute them.
With its aim of understanding and knowing search user intent, the Hummingbird algorithm update is clearly indicative of Google’s drive toward making the phrase “content is king” as true as possible. While it has not really made that much of an impact on search results since its release, Hummingbird could basically change search in the long run, and hopefully for the better.