• Hummingbird is a move away from simply best-matching the keywords of a search query towards understanding the “meaning” behind the search.
  • “How”, “How-to”, “Where”, “Why”, and “When” queries will see more accurate results.
  •  Over time, search queries are becoming longer and more specific, partly driven by the increase in voice-powered searches.
  • Authority, reputation, and quality of content are still king.
  • If you haven’t been affected by the update already, the likelihood is that you won’t.

What you need to know:

On its 15th birthday, Google announced its biggest search algorithm overhaul since 2001 – Hummingbird. Google search is becoming less of a search engine and more a wise, all-knowing guru that holds the answer to your daily struggles and nagging questions. People are regularly enter lengthy queries instead of a few keywords on a topic. This is becoming more common as people enter searches by voice on mobile devices (Google Voice vs. Apple’s Siri). This is the search trend that Hummingbird is addressing.

With this update, Google have announced a move away from a keyword-based search to one that is trying to understand the user’s “intent and meaning”. What does this mean?

Roughly 70 % of searches are “long-tail” searches – phrases that are specific to the user’s situation and problem i.e “where is the cheapest place to buy an iphone in New York” as opposed to “cheap iPhones”. The likelihood is that “niche” websites and businesses will benefit from this update. “How”, “why”, “when”, and “where” search queries will see more relevant results as Google learns how to answer the search question better rather than just showing the result with best-matching keywords.

For a more detailed breakdown of the update,

A must-read is Danny Sullivan’s FAQ: All About the New Google Hummingbird Update

What does this mean for your SEO strategy?

Everything that was rewarded before – authority, reputation, and quality – will remain the key ingredients for success. Here at Mindvalley, we have always focused on creating rich content pages that inform and engage potential customers. Now, the twist will be to answer questions and to educate first in order to become an authority in the respective niche.

The update was pushed out over a month ago so, if you’re a small business and you haven’t seen a drop in traffic already, the likelihood is that you won’t be affected.

Share your experience and thoughts on the update in the comment box below.
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