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Three Things Google’s Hummingbird Means for Your Website

By Maggie Hodges

No, Google doesn’t own a bird.

But, it does have a new update called Hummingbird that all businesses should heed.

Google’s Hummingbird is an update to its ever-changing search algorithm; put simply, Hummingbird enhances the way Google serves up relevant pages for online searches. Hummingbird places a special emphasis on understanding conversational search – many times, what users speak into mobile devices when they are on-the-go. As indicated by its name, the update is characterized as being “precise and fast” when providing search results for individuals. Here are five things marketers should do to keep their websites Hummingbird friendly.

Be Mobile-Ready.

Google’s Hummingbird places an emphasis on questions or other complex queries that searchers use on their mobile devices, which is a clear indication that it is pushing webmasters to prioritize mobile devices within their online strategies. Mobile devices are on pace to outnumber desktop usage – possibly over the next two years – and Google is modifying its search algorithm to serve up websites that provide relevant information to mobile users. Ensuring your site is responsive and capable of accommodating nearly any tablet or mobile device is a key component to keeping your site optimized for multi-platform users. Site speed, content organization and responsive nature all play a vital role in the overall mobile readiness of any website.

Look at Content Broadly.

Gone are the days where Google sees exact keywords within a search query and attempts to match them word-by-word to a website. Hummingbird is one more update that demonstrates the priority Google places on understanding a searcher’s intent. Marketers should consider adopting broader content strategies that include answering questions and developing content around central topics that demonstrate expertise – all of which can address specific queries performed by searchers. Websites should be prepared to address multiple meanings of words and queries. Longtail keywords, which often include lengthier, yet tailored and specific search phrases, should not be disregarded.

Make Friends with The Animals.

Don’t ignore Penguin and Panda. That’s right, the importance of Google’s other algorithm updates, such as Penguin and Panda, should not be disregarded now that Hummingbird has arrived. Each algorithm update builds on a previous one, and they all work together to provide more valuable search results to individuals. Marketers should still avoid buying and building links on spammy, disreputable websites, as outlined by Panda. Content relevancy and uniqueness – and ultimately its “shareable” nature – are highly significant. As stated by the Panda update, high quality content will always be rewarded by Google. Keep your focus on building natural links on reputable sites that relate to your industry and develop a content strategy that positions you as a resource and expert within your industry. Answer questions. Guide discussions. Develop resources. Provide solutions.

Google’s Hummingbird is one more chapter in the book of search. Its emphasis on searcher intent and conversations indicates a transition from keywords to concepts, from queries to meanings. By remaining mobile-ready with a high quality content strategy in place, marketers will maintain a website that is capable of performing well in a “precise and fast” online world.