Google celebrated its 15th birthday last month with a present for everyone: Hummingbird.
The search engine’s latest algorithm is not nearly as controversial as its predecessors Panda and Penguin. In fact, Google Hummingbird had been in place for about a month before the company even announced it without anyone noticing.
The main goals of the algorithm are to improve search retrieval functions and provide more data for searches. Basically, Google wants to increase the amount of time people spend on its site instead of directing them to other sites.
Google no longer wants to be a search engine, it wants to be a knowledge engine. It has decreased the value of SEO-friendly keywords and is instead retrieving websites based on the meaning of their content.
Google realizes that people search for something with a question, not specific words. The websites that provide answers through their content will be rewarded, while those that focus strictly on keywords will slip in the rankings.
Bikini Marketers must adapt to this change by creating content that encourages reader interaction and can be easily shared on social media. This can include Q&A sessions, how-to posts, FAQ posts and even webinars or YouTube videos featuring interviews with thought-leaders in your industry.
The Move to Mobile
Another major change in the Hummingbird algorithm is the heavy push to mobile. One of the most common uses for smartphones is to find information quickly while you’re out and about, and Google wants to cater to that idea. A Siri-style format combined with the most relevant search results showcases the efforts Google has made to stay on top of the mobile search field.
How it Ties into Google Plus
Unlike Panda and Penguin, which filter out search results they deem unworthy, Hummingbird is an algorithm. When a person types a question into the search box, Google will analyze content from relevant sites to find the ones that answer the question best.
Like I said earlier, Hummingbird looks for sites that have interaction and shares. Google Plus provides an outlet for interaction and shares.
See where I’m going with this?
Establishing and maintaining a reputation as a thought-leader in your industry on Google Plus is the best way to familiarize the search engine with your name and, more importantly, your content.
At Social Media Weekly Los Angeles 2013, Google employees said the search engine is influenced by Google+. Getting accustomed to sharing and interacting on Google Plus now will save you a lot of trouble in the future.
How Hummingbird Affects Content Marketers
Compared to previous updates, the Hummingbird algorithm is relatively mild, but it has the ability to seriously impact your website. Taking the initiative to change your style of writing and actively promote interaction and sharing is your best bet to coming out of this on top.