On September 26, 2013, Google announced that it had revamped and updated it’s search algorithm, the formula it uses to sort through all the information on the web and return to you what it believes to be the most relevant and authoritative results. The nickname for the new update is Hummingbird, which is said to be because it allows Google to return results quickly and precisely.
Why Google Hummingbird Matters
Algorithm updates are nothing new, but Hummingbird represents (arguably) the largest change since Google’s last update in 2010 dubbed “Caffeine.” So, why the update? One of the goals is to allow Google to better respond to longer and more complex queries. When people first started using search engines, it wasn’t uncommon for them to enter single word queries.
Need a plumber for your Denver home? Back in the early 2000’s, you probably searched, “plumber.” Today, you might search, “top rated plumbers serving Arvada, CO 80002.” When search becomes voice-driven, you might say, “which plumbers in Arvada, CO have received the best ratings for sewer line replacement services?” The Hummingbird update has been engineered to better handle the increasingly more complex questions being presented to Google—whether via traditional search or someone speaking into their smartphone.
What Hummingbird Means for Business Owners & Marketers
As search queries get more question-answer oriented, complex, and conversational, the content on your website should evolve accordingly. For years, Google has told us to focus on providing a great user experience. This was easier in an era where all searches and web visits happened on desktop computers. With the explosion of devices used to access the web, the context in which people are searching and visiting websites is far more complex.
The needs, with respect to your website, are often much different depending on the device being used. Business owners and marketers looking to maximize their website’s performance must become increasingly adept at anticipating and adapting their website(s) to these changes in context and visitor behavior.