As discussed in a previous blog post, Google has officially launched its new search algorithm, Hummingbird, a semantic search designed to focus on the meaning of an entire query, as opposed to only separate words, in order to create more accurate, well-matched search results. Hummingbird has been running for about a month, and it is interesting to start evaluating it from an SEO perspective.
Some Insights so far:
- In the month that Hummingbird has been running, search results have not drastically changed. It is a tool of refinement and for those already engaged in SEO best practices, it shouldn’t have any negative impact.
- Hummingbird is a natural progression in the SEO world. Top strategic SEO professionals have already moved away from focusing only on keywords and towards a holistic approach that also includes customer intention and engagement, through social media and other strategies.
- Effective content is also critical for success. For example, in analyzing data like bounce rate on a page, Hummingbird creates more emphasis on not only matching what keyword brought a potential customer to a page, but whether they found what they wanted. Your content needs to deliver the answers customers need, as well as engage them with high quality, shareable information.
- As searches become more precise, it will bring standards up across the board. When irrelevant SERPs are weeded out, the best ones can gain an advantage.
The key takeaway so far is that it is vital to understand and adapt to semantic search, if you haven’t already. Position your site as a provider of the answers that your potential customers want, not on isolated keywords, and your site will be on track to succeed. For those already engaged in comprehensive internet marketing strategies which encompass SEO, social media, and targeted content development, Hummingbird should have no downside at all, and possibly an upside as low quality sites drop out of the search landscape.
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