What does Google Hummingbird mean for business? Google Hummingbird is the most significant upgrade to Google search in over a decade. This is not your typical Panda or Penguin update to the already existing algorithm. Rather Hummingbird is a complete overhaul, and actually replaces Google’s previous algorithm.
Google Hummingbird is based on the idea of semantic search. Previously search relied only on keyword match, which would bring up webpages containing the keywords in your search query. With the Hummingbird upgrade, Google has gone from strings to things. That is, your search queries aren’t treated only as a group of keywords, but rather Google attempts to understand the meaning of your query. Hummingbird is trying to answer questions and not simply match keywords with documents.
Google Hummingbird for Business
So what does the Google Hummingbird upgrade mean for business? Actually, according to Google, Hummingbird has been in effect for about a month now. Although it was officially announced on September 26th, 2013 in conjunction with Google’s 15th Birthday. Most businesses have been engaging in the recommended best practice of producing helpful high quality content, and for these businesses Hummingbird will have a mostly neutral effect on traffic.
Google Hummingbird, because of it’s semantic nature, presents businesses with the opportunity to display expertise or authority in a particular field. This kind of expertise is what Google is positioning itself to understand with semantic upgrades like Hummingbird. Expert content will perform better, that is gain better exposure, than content with low expertise. Part of this is because highly authoritative content will perform better in the social web which is an integral aspect to the semantic web.
As part of Google’s move toward the semantic web they have removed access to keyword data. This is a signal to businesses that keywords are taking a back seat, and this provides opportunity to businesses. Using Google Hummingbird for business, companies will have to become more involved on social media to find out what their customers are interested in. Building trust between businesses and potential customers becomes key to Online success.
How Different is Google Hummingbird
Because of the significance of this upgrade, many SEOs are asking just how different is Google Hummingbird? This upgrade is certainly different, but Google has not thrown the baby out with the bathwater completely. There are still significant similarities between this upgrade, and the previous Google search algorithm.
Page Rank (PR) is still a major factor Google takes into account when ranking content. That is the number of authoritative links to a particular site will continue to be a big part of why a website ranks well. The more authoritative links you have to your website, the better chance your content will have of ranking. Now, however, Google is taking into account all of the words in your search query, and not only paying attention to the keywords.
Google has given some specific examples of how search results look different now after the Hummingbird upgrade. For example, a search for “acid reflux prescription” used to return a list of drugs, but now you’ll see informational results. Another example given is that previously a search for “pizza hut calories per slice” would return results from third party sites. With Hummingbird, Google is smart enough to know that Pizza Hut will have the most authoritative information, and will show you results from that website.
Google Hummingbird for Business: Where Does it Leave Us?
Given that the Hummingbird upgrade has been active for about a month now you’ll likely know already if your business has seen any negative effects. Generally speaking, most websites with good practices will continue to rank as they always have. Google continues to give the same guidance for ranking well that is to produce high quality helpful content, and provide a great user experience. You can find more information here on Google’s search blog.
This video will help you better understand the relationship between your business and Hummingbird, which is semantic search. Semantic search must be understood as an integral part of business, and no longer can search engine optimization simply be outsourced.
Building an Online reputation, building trust and authority are at the heart of semantic search. For your business to succeed with the new Hummingbird upgrade it will have to build this reputation as well as trust and authority.