New Google Algorithm: Hummingbird

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Hummingbird is a new Google algorithm (unlike Panda and Penguin which were updates to the existing algorithm) which was launched about a month ago but Google only announced the change at a press event on 26th September so any effect on rankings due to the change have already been felt.

 

The new algorithm is designed to enable Google to interpret the meaning of entire phrases or questions and return relevant results, rather than looking at the individual words in the query. Knowing the intent behind a certain search query should help Google go beyond just finding pages with matching words.

The aim being that pages/websites matching the overall meaning of the query will rank better, rather than pages matching just a few words. This appears to be an extension of Google’s on-going strategy to become less dependent on individual keywords on pages.

 

So essentially nothing has changed in terms of what it takes to be successful with SEO – provide interesting, relevant, informative content that has value to potential visitors, something that has been part of Google’s SEO guidance for some years.

The emphasis on interesting blog posts and page content on a website will continue to be an important factor for successful SEO; as will the quality of links from external pages with relevant content. Genuinely informative sites should continue to gain better visibility in the way what we are already seeing with individual blog posts ranking well for certain conversational search phrases (the long tail search queries).

The increasing use of mobile devices also means that Google’s interpretation of a searcher’s intent may be different depending on their location so, depending on the nature of a particular website, there may need to be increased focus on optimising for mobile searches.

 

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