Well, Google has done it again. They have updated their search engine in an effort to provide more accurate results for complex search queries. The update just rolled out and it’s called Hummingbird and may dramatically affect how we approach SEO from here on out.
This latest update is actually slated to be the biggest modification to the search engine since 2010. At that point in time, they upgraded the search algorithm to something called Caffeine. Hummingbird rolled out about a month ago and it was actually announced at a press event in the house were Google was founded and got its start. That’s pretty cool. And since today is the 15th anniversary of the founding of Google, the timing of all of this feels apropos.
The changes won’t be apparent right away. Search results will look largely the same. However, this changes are designed to make it so Google can better handle complex search queries. Any think about it: people are using voice search more and more. This means they are phrasing queries not in the form of selected keywords and phrases that traditional SEO optimizes for, but rather in the form of actual, detailed questions. This is more information for Google to process and requires new mathematical formulas to keep on track.
The algorithm update focuses on increasing rank for site relevance by using their Knowledge Graph. In case you’re not familiar, Google’s Knowledge Graph is an encyclopedia containing 570 million concepts and relationships. Forbes magazine uses an example of the Eiffel Tower. According to Knowledge Graph, Google knows that the Eiffel Tower is a tower, that it’s located in Paris, that it has a specific height and dimensions, and so on. The Knowledge Graph is aware of certain facts about different subjects which makes it easier for Google to then predict and anticipate which facts you want to know about on a specific subject. It’s vital for optimum SEO, where relevancy wins the game time and time again.
As search queries become more natural, it’s important for Google to update its algorithm to reflect these changes. Hummingbird will provide for more accurate search results, even when people input increasingly complex search queries. It works by focusing on the key terms within the search query and then accessing the Knowledge Graph to figure out what the person is asking and providing the most relevant answers available. In reality, the more terms a person uses when searching, the more Google knows about what they are looking for. The more complex the query, the better information Google can provide. So long as SEO specialists update their strategies to reflect this, Hummingbird should be a major success for the average search engine user.
The end-user experience is the focus here and even though SEO experts are trying to make it so their sites rank better, Google is still in the business of providing the most relevant results possible. So long as your strategies are in line with what Google is trying to accomplish, you should see positive results in ranking based off of this new Hummingbird update.
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