A little over a week ago Google announced that it had introduced a new search engine algorithm called Hummingbird – reportedly named because it is fast and accurate. Hummingbird is the biggest single change to the Google search engine in over a decade. Perhaps the most telling feature of Google’s announcement is that it was made a month after Hummingbird went into operation.
For a web design & marketing specialist like Autus, keeping abreast of all changes to search engine optimisation (SEO) is vitally important for ourselves and especially for our clients. Now we have had he chance to take stock of the changes Google has brought in with Hummingbird we are delighted to say we welcome them without reservation.
Google say the reason behind the changes is to give a more accurate response to the intention behind every Google search. This is a philosophy Autus endorse. If a home owner in Essex wants to find a builder in Essex, that is what they should find – simply and easily – without having to scroll past pages of irrelevant and often misleading websites. In internet-user terminology, Hummingbird represents another step towards ‘Content is King’.
In a nutshell, Hummingbird focuses on six main areas.
Synonyms: Web users, customers, internet surfers – call them what you will – do not always use the same words for describing the same product. As much as we might like to call a spade a spade, other people might (mistakenly) use the word ‘shovel’. By identifying synonyms within web content text, Hummingbird is able to gauge the relevance of the website to what the user is looking for.
Co-citations: A key part of Autus’ SEO marketing strategy has always been to link between customers who share common areas of business. Co-citations reinforce the relevance of the web content and this relevance is picked up by Hummingbird, ranking these pages higher on Google.
Universal Search: To give Google users the best answer to their search query, Google will select from all their search options – web search, images, video/youtube – all at the same time. From an SEO perspective, Autus will continue to provide links directly to photographs, pictures and videos, as well as text content, on our clients’ websites.
Use Structured Data Markup: Well-managed websites maximise their presence through the use of a series of keyword and coded markers. Rich snippets are the few lines that appear under every search result, identifying the primary content of the webpage. They can include microdata, microformats and HTML tags such as RDFa. Structure Data Markups help to differentiate between products and events, businesses and reviews, allowing Hummingbird to identify and reward optimised web-sites.
Anchor Texts: Anchor texts are those words that are usually highlighted when linking between one web page and another. A feature of the Hummingbird algorithm is not only to identify keywords and semantically linked text in the anchor text itself, but also to find related content in the sentences that surround the anchor text. Content really is becoming king.
Conversational Queries: One of the strongest motivators behind the move to Hummingbird is because of changes in the way we use Google and other search engines to find what we are looking for. Increasingly web users ask questions, rather than input a series of key search words. This is partly the result of voice searches on smart phones and handheld devices. (“Where can I find an air conditioning maintenance engineers in Liverpool?”) Web sites and web content that directly answers these questions will be picked up by Hummingbird giving them a higher rank on the search page.
Autus has a long history in designing websites, webpages and web content that is accessible, informative and relevant to our clients and to our clients’ customers. We will continue to use all available web tools to maximise our clients’ presence on the internet. We would like to welcome Hummingbird to the web.