blog home Google Updates What is Google’s Hummingbird Update?

Google Marketing ManagementEver wonder about how your website is reviewed and ranked by search engines like Google? Search engines use bots to “crawl” your site, gather data, and then plug that data into a search algorithm, highlighting what is important and what is spam, resulting in rankings for various key phrases used in web pages.

However, these algorithms are continually updated, which means websites are facing more and more scrutiny to make sure they have relevant content that Internet users are looking for.

Google’s most recent update to its search algorithm, Hummingbird, focuses on finding quality content that people are actually searching for, and does so using queries in the form of questions rather than simply picking out keywords here and there. Unlike previous Google updates, such as Penguin and Panda, the Hummingbird update is more of a complete overhaul of the algorithm instead of a simple upgrade. With such a large change, it is expected that 90% of all searches will be affected by Hummingbird.

While the search giant never fully reveals how their algorithms work, or the specifics of what they’re focusing on when ranking pages, Google did reveal that Hummingbird is meant to focus on conversational search. This means that every word of what is written in the search engine bar will be taken into account when finding the best results. And with these conversational queries now being given the spotlight, it will be the task of website owners to create compelling content that satisfies these queries.

The days of getting all of your keywords onto the page are different now. In today’s Internet, your content has to answer questions, and provide the user with useful information. That’s what Google is most interested in, and that’s what Google is going to be looking for as far as website content is concerned. Overall, the goal of Hummingbird is to improve user experience by providing the best answers to questions that are searched on Google.  Websites should continue to focus on providing high quality content that gives visitors the answers they are looking to find.


One possible insight into this shift may be the growing prevalence of voice-activated searches that use mobile technology, like Siri (iPhones) and Google Now (Androids). With these types of searches, users typically speak in full sentences, posing questions like “What is the nearest coffee shop?” instead of merely saying “nearest coffee shop” when searching for something, particularly a location. As technology advances, voice command features on smart phones will become more and more important, and search results will ultimately reflect that.

If you’re designing your site and structuring your content to appeal to mobile device users, chances are you will be on Hummingbird’s good side. But only consistent marketing work and an in-depth knowledge of the best tactics for ranking well can result in a consistently strong online presence. At SLS Consulting, we work to improve the search results of every client, no matter what changes search engines may unveil. Through detailed search engine optimization, quality content, and intuitive design, we help companies rank well and build a strong customer basis. To learn more about how we can help you, call us today at (323) 254-1510.

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