Google’s new “Hummingbird” search algorithm designed to find answers to questions
For all the noise Google’s Panda and Penguin search algorithm updates made in the internet marketing world, they were small potatoes compared to Hummingbird, an entirely new search algorithm that has dramatically changed the way Google search processes queries. Experts believe Hummingbird will affect 90 percent of search queries, so it’s important to make sure your website’s SEO strategy interfaces well with Hummingbird.
A New Search Algorithm for a New Kind of Search
The better search engines got at finding the information users looked for, the more specific users made their requests. Eventually, there came a point where consumers were actually more likely to type an entire question into the search box instead of a keyword string. Hummingbird is Google’s response to this change in user behavior. Instead of treating questions like any other keyword string, Hummingbird can recognize a question and attempt to determine the context behind that question, based on other searches an individual user has made or similar searches made by other users. With so much attention being paid to finding answers to user questions, it stands to reason that incorporating more questions and answers into your SEO content will help drive traffic from Hummingbird.
3 Ways to Respond to Hummingbird
Do Market Research
In the context of Hummingbird, it is just as important to understand the types of questions users are likely to be asking about your product or service as it is to identify the keywords that will be incorporated into their queries. Therefore a smart SEO campaign should be based on both utilizing keywords and addressing trending topics.
While there’s no need to redo your entire website in a Q& A format, you can and should begin to create content that answers common questions users will be posing in Google. Make sure your site has a detailed FAQ section as well as tutorials and how-to information as appropriate. You can also start mixing in blog posts that use questions as titles.
Continue to Create Rich Content
One feature of Google Hummingbird that has SEO managers worried is the information card feature. This is basically a sidebar that presents quick answers to user questions right on the results page. This feature is already live in Chrome and will probably be making an appearance in other browsers soon. You won’t have to worry about this feature poaching traffic from your site if you make sure to present really robust answers and detailed content within your web pages. Users will want to click through to see this kind of content!