Google has overhauled its search algorithm to better deal with the evolution in web users’ queries, launching its “Hummingbird“, a revised algorithm which is now affecting around 90% of Google searches. Amit Singhal, VP of Search, told that the 15 year old company wants to keep pace with the new trends in Internet usage and a modern search engine has to understand concepts rather than keywords.
“You should not be spending your time searching, you should be spending your time living”, Singhal said.
A focus on meaning
That is the driving force behind Google efforts: being able to better process complex queries and understand the exact information need in order to provide more relevant and accurate information quickly. While the past was keyword-centered, big G wants to become smarter, more friendly and conversational, and be able to analyse and satisfy queries like: “Tell me about…” or “Give me pictures of…” etc.
What changes for us?
How can we exploit the Hummingbird Effect to improve our online reputation? What should we be aware of in order to thrive in a post-Hummingbird web? Although such advice was good even before the advent of the new algorithm, there are some aspects of our content creation and promotion activity that we need to focus on and improve in order to gain credibility, recognition and business for us and for our clients.
#1 Forget keywords
What the Hummingbird says is simple. As search engines become smarter and smarter, keywords will no longer play an essential role in the spreading of content and information online. This does not mean we should not think about what people search and understand their needs, but rather that those needs can be met in a more elegant and efficient way. Information and concepts lie at the heart of this new paradigm, so forget keywords and think about meaning.
#2 Provide useful information
Since more complex queries will be processed, people may end up feeling more confident about more in-depth searches. If Hummingbird will transform what we can expect from a search engine, new trends may emerge and we may need to face in-depth queries about our company, service or product that we didn’t expect. In this case, providing the type of information users are searching will be vital for our identity management.
#3 Think long-term
The new algorithm also teaches an important lesson on the speed at which the Web evolves: only 15 years ago Google was born and several micro-revolutions happened since. Their mission is clear, i.e. providing users with what they are looking for. No matter what the next evolution will be, our job will always be the same: to give them what they want, and to do it well. As long as we do on a consistent basis, no algorithm will be able to surprise us.
How do you think Hummingbird algorithm will change the Web?