6th December 2013

The Effect of Google Hummingbird (Part 3 of 4)

Go back to Part 1: Keywords should not be the main focus of organic search
Go back to Part 2: Google Changes, Results “(not provided)”

What Effect Does Hummingbird Have on Search Results?

Previously, a search query weighed almost all words equally. Hummingbird tries to figure out what a user’s intent is. So if you’re searching on a particular subject, it will take the words and try to work out what you’re trying to find by analysing the way the question is structured.

Let’s imagine I’m looking for bedroom furniture.  If the question is phrased as “where can I buy bunk beds”, Google previously focus on finding matches for words. So the website owner may have optimised the keyword “bunk beds” or to try and get a better result for that search query they might try to get that entire phrase into a page(s) as an exact match, we would then refer to “where can I buy bunk beds” as the keyword or keyphrase. The focus was all on matching the actual words or phrase rather than the meaning.

Now that Google is figuring out what the intent of the content on your page is, it’s less important to match the exact words, more important to answer the question.

Google say that Hummingbird pays more attention to ensuring that the whole query — the whole sentence or conversation or meaning — is taken into account, rather than particular words. The goal is that pages matching the meaning do better, rather than pages matching just a few words or a specific phrase.

Conversational Search

Siri

This is how search is changing.  Think of how different a typed search might be compared with a search done using voice recognition software (e.g. Siri on an iPhone).

Using the above example I might type into the search bar “bunk beds” and expect some relevant results.  If I do the same search using Siri I might say “where can I buy children’s bunk beds”, “where can I buy a kid’s bunk bed” or “where can I get bunk beds from” depending on how I’m feeling! Hummingbird tries to work out how I’m feeling what I mean regardless of how I might phrase the question differently on a different day, and deliver the relevant result.

Read part 4 for Optimising After Hummingbird

6th December 2013

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