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Yes, it’s true – last week to celebrate their 15th birthday, Google once again announced a change to their algorithms – so having gone through Penguin and Panda, they’ve now given us Hummingbird – apparently as this latest update is focused on being ‘precise and fast’.

Although the announcement was only made last week, the algorithm changes were actually made around a month ago and, according to Google, it is aimed at returning better search results.

So what does this mean to businesses that hope to get found on page 1 of the search engines?

Well some of the thinking behind the new algorithm is that as more and more people undertake searches by speaking into their smart phones rather than typing keywords, and as such “Conversational search” is one of the biggest examples Google gave as the reason for the update.

People, when speaking searches, may find it more useful to have a conversation.

For example “Where’s the closest good place from my home that I can get Italian food?”

The old algorithm would have searched on the keywords (Italian Food) but Hummingbird will search through all of the information provided in the search.

The new algorithm should be better at understanding the search term used, it should understand what you mean by ‘closest to home’. Of course this will only work if you have shared your home location with Google in the first place.

It should understand that by place you mean a building rather than a geographic location, and as such that ‘food’ means restaurant. It should also understand that ‘good’ means they have positive feedback scores too.

In particular, Google said that Hummingbird is paying more attention to each word in a query, ensuring that the whole query — the whole sentence or conversation or meaning — is taken into account, rather than particular words. For businesses, this means that pages matching the meaning do better, rather than pages matching just a few words.

On Google’s own words they explain it as:

“We keep expanding features of the Knowledge Graph so it can answer more questions—even those that don’t have a simple answer. Let’s say you want to get your daughter excited about a visit to the Met. You can pull up your phone and say to Google: “Tell me about Impressionist artists.” You’ll see who the artists are, and you can dive in to learn more about each of them and explore their most famous works. If you want to switch to Abstract artists, you can do that really easily with our new filter tool”.

Whether this is true or not is difficult to know, we have to rely on Google to let us know that this change is returning better search results.

All we do know is that it points to websites having great content – something we have written about many times before on our blog.

So if you haven’t yet developed your content marketing strategy, it’s certainly about time to do so.

And if you need help with that then just give JCK Marketing a call.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jo Stickings

Jo has worked in the media industry for over 20 years. She has worked with businesses of all sizes - from corporate companies and the public sector, to owner managed SMEs and micro businesses. She loves helping clients with their customer attraction and retention strategies particularly when this involves a multi-media approach. She has a down to earth, no nonsense approach and a 'let's get on with it' attitude which keeps clients coming back for more.

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