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Google Hummingbird

Google Hummingbird was one of the major updates to affect the SEO community. Released in August 2013, it was unlike any other update Google launched as an addition to the pre-existing algorithm. Hummingbird, instead, was the complete revamp of the core algorithm that contributed to Google’s endeavors in providing more accurate search results.

Google had started using the Hummingbird a month prior to its official launch date. The name was derived from the bird, Hummingbird which is meant to be quick and precise. The update did justice to its name and made search queries results more relevant and quick. However, unlike Panda and Penguin, it did not have any adverse effects on the search rankings and web traffic. It was only meant for bringing a favorable change in the accuracy of the search engine. In order to have a clear idea about Hummingbird, let us know more about the features it had the most impact on, the semantic search and knowledge graph.

The Semantic Search and the Knowledge Graph:

Knowledge Graph:

It was launched a year prior to the release of the Hummingbird update. The aim was to enhance the search results and provide cohesive information gathered from the different sources. It is one of the SERP features, which is not organic or a traditional result.

With the advent of knowledge graph, the users are able to process quick and concise information about a place or person.

Semantic Search:

The maddening upsurge in the use of the web has made the users more intelligent. The queries which were only restricted to being ‘keywords’ in the search bar have become more conversational. The semantic search is Google’s attempt to provide valuable and intelligent responses to the users.

The maddening upsurge in the use of the web has made the users more intelligent. The queries which were only restricted to being ‘keywords’ in the search bar have become more conversational. The semantic search is Google’s attempt to provide valuable and intelligent responses to the users.

Semantic search is a data searching technique which not only focuses on keywords but also the contextual meaning and intent of the words being typed in the search bar.

Must Read: A Guide to GS1 Smart Search Schema markup

The intent comes from the user who is looking answers for a particular query. Context involves everything that encompasses a search. By driving a connection between the intent and the context, the search engine is able to process the search request in an efficient manner.

For instance, when a user types ‘cheesecake’ in the search bar, the search engine considers his implicit intent and provides the results for the cheesecake recipe, top restaurants for cheesecakes nearby the searcher’s location, and the general information about a quintessential cheesecake.

Another example of the semantic search is the results a user gets in response to a query ‘best places for Italian’. The semantic feature allows the search engine to recognize the ‘intent’ of the searcher and concludes that the ‘places’ are the ‘places to eat’ or restaurants rather than the best spots in Italy for the Italian residents.

Google has been advancing its ability to recognize the intent behind a search query. With its increasing semantic search mastery, the world’s leading search engine has been able to provide highly relevant results to its users.

What is the Impact of Google Hummingbird?

Matt Cutts, the former leader of the webspam team at Google had predicted that Hummingbird would affect 90% of the searches on Google. Nearly 3.5 billion searches are handled by Google every day which means Hummingbird algorithm affected around 3.15 billion of them. It did not have any adverse effects on the rankings or traffic; however, made an already competitive market even more competitive.

Hummingbird aimed at Pleasing Users, not the Websites

Contrary to common perception, Google updates are not meant to make the life of SEO community difficult rather, are meant to make the user’s experience more valuable and relevant. While the algorithms like Panda and Penguin down-ranked numerous websites, Hummingbird challenged them in a different way. The introduction of knowledge graph and semantic search eliminated the need for the user to go ahead and explore a website which might have spent enormous efforts to advance in the SERPs. Earlier the websites were competing among themselves; Hummingbird gave them a tougher competitor, the search engine giant itself.

The crux of the matter is that Google constantly thrives to enhance the user’s experience, not the website’s profitability. This, however, does not mean that Hummingbird did not bring any favorable effects for the marketers.

If a website indulges in ethical SEO practices, provides high-quality original content then it can propel in the rankings. As long as the content is worthy to appear in the top results, the website will not face any negative impact accredited to Hummingbird.

Is Google’s Voice Search an Implication of the Hummingbird?

With the search queries becoming more conversational, Google had to develop its ability to understand the user’s language. Fast-forward a couple of years, and conversational searches have been replaced by voice searches. The voice search is not only about deciphering the keywords and providing the best results based on those keywords. It further attempts to decipher the intent of the user, which was made possible with the launch of Hummingbird.

How to Know if your Website Took a Hummingbird Hit?

As mentioned earlier, the update did not have any noticeable adverse effect on the rankings and web traffic but the local businesses suffered temporary issues. Their local search visibility was reduced owing to ‘one-box’ results for the local searches. If your website has suffered either in terms of ranking or traffic, then it might have been due to any other algorithm change.

How to Make Your Content Hummingbird Proof?

Hummingbird is the Google’s endeavor to provide its users valuable and relevant content. In order to bring an upsurge in your rankings, you need to generate the content which answers the users’ queries in an effective manner. It is a barefaced fact that all the updates by Google, be it Panda, Penguin, or Hummingbird are meant only for one purpose; prompting the web publishers to generate meaningful and pertinent content. The marketers who keep this in mind are able to advance in the SEO race whereas people resorting to unethical web practices are left behind.

If a site endures a Panda or a Penguin hit then it is penalized and demoted intently by Google. In order to recover, the site needs to remove its plagiarized content and replace it with high-quality user relevant content.

Must Read: Google Panda Update: A Complete Guide

It needs to disassociate itself from spamming back-links. By doing this, it gains its place in good books of Google’s algorithm. However, if a site has suffered some ranking shuffling accredited to Hummingbird, there is no definite way to jump back on the ladder. All a web marketer can do is improve his content-quality, make it more user-oriented, original and relevant to the subject-matter of the topic.

In order to propel in the SEO demesne, a digital marketer needs to keep himself updated with Google algorithms on a regular basis. There is no cheat sheet when it comes to dealing with these updates but only the perseverance and hard-work to rely on.

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