The world’s leading search engine Google released the Hummingbird algorithm at the end of September and if you’re confused about what the update means for your SEO strategy, then read on…

Hummingbird, the name given by Google as it means ‘precise and fast’, is the biggest algorithm update since they made the “caffeine update” in 2010. Unlike Panda and Penguin, which were just updates to their old algorithm, Hummingbird is new, affecting 90% of searches and described by search engine guru Danny Sullivan as a ‘1950s car with a new engine’.

Why did they launch it?

The way that people are searching for information is changing and there has been a shift from keyword search to ‘conversational’ type search (semantic search). This is largely due to the change in how people search with more and more using their mobile devices and search tools such as Siri and Google Voice to speak their search rather than type it in. For example, in the past someone may search “Starbucks coffee” whereas today, search has evolved and users are using longer, more complicated search queries such as “where is my nearest Starbucks coffee?”. The new hummingbird algorithm takes these new longer, conversational type search queries into account as well as placing much more emphasis on the collective meaning of words to provide the user with more relevant and accurate results.

What does it mean for my SEO strategy?

I think the key message is don’t completely change what you’re already doing and start to panic. The ‘Content is King’ principle still applies so ensure you’re producing high quality, engaging content to your readers. If you do review anything, take a look at the conversational phrases that people are using to reach your website and try to tailor your website to answer these questions. Building customer engagement by responding to comments on your website, adding a FAQ page, hosting interviews, utilising your blog by addressing conversational type questions are all great ways to satisfy the hummingbird update.

If you would like further information on this update, get in touch.