Webmasters, and the wider SEO community, are starting to get their heads around Google’s newest high-profile algorithm update: Hummingbird.
It is the latest in a series of changes from the world’s most powerful search engine. Like its predecessors, the main aim of Hummingbird is to improve the user experience of searching online; and to provide better search results every time.
But with earlier updates, some claim Google has effectively waged war on poor quality content and shallow link profiles. As a result, search engine optimisation is considered as challenging a prospect as it’s ever been.
Challenging - but far from mission: impossible.
In fact Stuart Brandwood, an SEO expert working right here at HitSearch, sees the Hummingbird update as a change in tact from Google. It’s not the latest offensive against bad content; it’s a reward for the good.
Stuart explains: "Over the past few months, webmasters have been focussing on the fall-out from the Google Penguin update and the perception was that this was a punitive, negative measure. More recent updates, however, provide prove that the search engine isn’t taking an "All stick, no carrot" approach.
"Google is actively seeking to engage with those who are looking to promote and improve their websites in the right way.
"From what we read Google Hummingbird will interface with unique, well-written copy much more readily than it ever could with keyword stuffed, spun content.
"Engaging with things like Google Places, Google Circles and (our old favourite) Google Webmaster Tools will bring a much wider, eye-catching presence across Google search results. In turn, the SERPS will be richer, and more nuanced, than ever before."
Rather than simply matching primary keywords from a search to the words in a block of on-site text, Google is paying more attention to every word in a query, and the context of the phrase as a whole. It does so to better understand what the user is hoping to learn.
The search engine then attempts to connect these users with the information that is most useful to them. This is an incentive for websites to provide helpful content so that they are selected as one of Google’s primary sources of information.
Some commentators joked that Hummingbird was Google’s attempt to be more like "Ask Jeeves". In reality it is simply an attempt to meet the user halfway. Innovative search technology, like Siri on the iPhone, encourages users to search the web with a natural question-like request. Google Hummingbird brings the search engine closer than ever to doing the same. They’re right on time too, with the Google Glass on the way.
Stay tuned to the HitSearch blog to remain up to date with the latest changes at Google and the other big hitters of the search world, such as Yahoo and Bing. We’ll also regularly provide free advice for improving your online marketing strategies; based on the findings of our expert team.