Google’s Hummingbird Update and its Implications on SEO

Google-HummingbirdAfter Google’s Panda and Penguin updates to its indexing algorithm sent to millions of websites tumbling out of SERP rankings, Administrators and search engine optimization (SEO) professionals have developed a sense of dread whenever an update is announced from Google to its search algorithm. So when Google announce that they have implemented the biggest update to its search algorithm since 2001, it was enough to make website owners and administrators wary.

The message from Google was – there’s nothing new or different SEOs or publishers need to worry about. Guidance remains the same. Have original, high-quality content. Signals that have been important in the past remain important, Hummingbird just allows Google to process them in new and hopefully better ways.”

With conversational searches now becoming more prevalent, Hummingbird is Google’s effort to deliver better and relevant search results that are more on point by taking into account each word used in the search and trying to match the result with the query rather than just keywords. As user queries become more and more specific, the keyword based search result grew inefficient, add to it the spectrum of ever increasing searches now coming from portable access devices such as the smart phones & tablets, voice based search is pushing this natural progression towards conversational search queries.

Its implications: 

Google Hummingbird update’s idea is to better understand user created search and deliver results that are relevant. The businesses which have used the long tails phrases and generic content may get higher rankings on search results and increased traffic due to this. Hummingbird makes the keyword seeded content less relevant if it is not providing any information asked in the search query.

This will give the small business that actually creates original rich content to get better results as those without such efforts. The Keywords field is dominated by big brands that spend fortunes to buy out the keywords on the search engines and ad placements, thus a more natural search with long tails phrases with ”what”, “where” & “when” will level the playing field for the niche content providers.

Another major benefit is for the local business in searches. e.g. “A confectionery producing cakes and pastries in San Diego, Gas Lamp Quarter, however good, is not a relevant search result for a young woman looking for wedding cake in New York”.  This will bring customers to your doorstep thus adding to your underline.


While all the correct noises are being made for Hummingbird, this is a serious effort from Google to stay abreast from competition, like Yelp & Wolfram Alpha and Apple Siri with regard to search relevance and semantic search results.

Since the Hummingbird update effects more on per query basis, it is still a very opportunity for the business owners and website operators to distinguish themselves early from the hordes and benefit from the new opportunities opened up by this change.

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