October 25, 2013 Jaclyn Bickerton
Google’s new algorithm is changing how search engine optimization works in a big way. The update from Google affects 90% of searches; now using intent and semantics to deliver results instead of traditional keywords. This change is to address that fact that user searches have become longer and more specific in hopes for more relevant results. The change will give users search results that are more in line with what they are looking for and even display search content right on the search page itself. Let’s talk about the Hummingbird Update.
According to this Mashable article, Hummingbird, the search giant’s largest search algorithm update since 2001, aims to filter “fluff” content and instead deliver better, higher quality search results. Traditional keywords that people use to search do not always reflect what they are actually looking for. For example, if I go to Google and simply search “SEO” looking to find out what search engine optimization is, my search results are cluttered with companies in my area that specialize in SEO. However, if I make my search conversational, asking “what is SEO?” my results vary greatly. We have changed the way we search for content, and Google’s update is to reflect that.
Mobile users need search results faster, and they need them to be instantly relevant. Over the past few years, Google has been focused on making it easier for you to pull out your phone, ask Google a question, and get your answer as quickly as possible. Hummingbird is just an extension of that. The new algorithm will now focus on users’ intent by answering questions that they are asking in their searches.
Although the changes are beneficial for users, there is one big elephant in the room. Having information from the websites displayed right on the search results page promotes a Google-only experience; something that has SEO experts crying foul. Google is essentially “stealing” content from websites. Traffic driven from Google to sites will be withheld by Google. What Google is doing is trying to keep you on their properties for as long as possible. Businesses are going to have to offer something else to their visitors to make it worth the click for them to go to the site. Is this Google’s big move? Anyone upset by this update? Share your thoughts with the Ravens!
Jaclyn Bickerton, Raven5 Ltd, Oakville, Ontario October 2013