What Does Google Hummingbird Mean for SEO Going Forward?

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    Aug 21, 2014
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What Does Google Hummingbird Mean for SEO Going Forward? Photo by James Mcinally

Google Hummingbird broke new ground by becoming the first Google algorithm change in years. Although we will never know the true content of this algorithm, we know it has refreshed 90% of searches on Google. It is something we need to take into account whenever we decide to launch a new SEO campaign.

Using the help of SEO agency Xlweb.co.uk, we have listed the main changes heralded by Google Hummingbird.

The Future is Mobile

The main change is more and more people are using their mobiles to search for things. Some estimates predict mobile use is now responsible for 50% of all searches. Whether this is true or not, what we do know is Google are actively penalising websites that do not function correctly on mobile devices.

It is why your SEO company will tell you it’s time to invest in a responsive website. Responsive websites are websites that automatically adjust themselves according to the device they are accessed on.

Complex Searches

Previously, we might have searched for keywords alone. This is why most websites will have keywords that are about two to three words long. Google has discovered the increase in mobile searching means more and more people are using voice activation to complete daily tasks. This means they are now using queries that are more complex when they search.

As a company, you have to understand that all this means is it promotes worthwhile content directly targeted at customers. You cannot replicate these queries through keywords. Instead, you have to try to direct your content at specific niches. This is why Google told us to write for the end user not for Google, and Hummingbird appears to reaffirm this.

Semantic Search

Hummingbird has confirmed semantic searches will grow in prominence. The reason for this is Google’s search engine is becoming better at being able to understand the context and the intention of the searcher.

Another sign that Google wants to prioritise semantics over direct keywords is the removal of the keywords feature from Google Analytics. In the future, we could see a time where conventional keywords are no longer relevant. It is no coincidence the average digital agency is going deeper than simply coming up with a list of keywords.

Bad News for Irrelevant Content

As we described above, Google is becoming better at understanding intention and context. This means you are not going to get irrelevant context on the first few pages of your search engine results any longer. Instead, you are going to get results that match the query.

In the past, websites were able to appear for a range of queries, but this will no longer be the case. It is why your content post-Hummingbird will need to answer a genuine question. It needs to be targeted and direct.

Overall, Hummingbird is a landmark for Google. We understood this after both Panda and Penguin, but Hummingbird goes further. It is an example of Google making serious alterations to the SEO landscape. There has never been a better time for your business to review its short-term and long-term SEO strategy.

Author's Profile

XL Web is an SEO company and digital agency specialising in helping customers achieve their goals. They are constantly changing and adapting to the SEO alterations put in place by Google.

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