Where Are You On Google – Will The Hummingbird Find You?


A recent post on Google Voice Search was written before all the furore that has recently developed about a new Google algorithm, Hummingbird, that has been operative for just over a month. The reason why this new algorithm was needed was exactly the same as that for better Voice Search. Essentially it’s now more and more a Mobile world. If you or your business could be found on Google before, is that still true? What is important now?

Well we have only limited information but here is one view of some of the ways Google’s Hummingbird will shape future SEO and content marketing.

  1. The Future Is Mobile
  2. Mobile Will Lead To Greater Voice Search
  3. More Natural Language and Complex Queries
  4. Semantic Search To Deliver Accurate Results
  5. Content Must Be Helpful
  6. Prediction And Knowledge Building
  7. The SMO (Social Marketing Optimisation) of SEO
  8. Links Can Actually Be Negative In A Social World
  9. Content Must Have Authority
  10. Google Plus Is The Future

Many others have tried to analyze what may be involved in Hummingbird and where Google may be taking us next.  We will summarize and group these varying concepts and discussions into three main topics.

Gist Search

Clearly if you’re on the go and want to get information on your mobile device, be it smartphone or tablet, there’s not much room to either phrase your query or see possible answers. Working on a desktop PC, you have more space and time to precisely define your question and peruse the possible answers. However if the mobile search process is satisfactory, why not then use it whatever the device. That is the basic philosophy behind Hummingbird.

As you question your smartphone, your queries may well be more complex than if you were tapping away on a keyboard. They may well include nuances of language as you try to home in on what you’re trying to find. The Google Hummingbird algorithm must extract the maximum information from what is said and develop a response that is appropriate. To use an excellent word that Matt Cutts of Google used in a recent video, what is needed is to extract the gist of your questioning.

Although Hummingbird is a completely new algorithm, it still includes some of the concepts involved in the Panda and Penguin updates to the previous search algorithm. That means backlinks are still an important consideration in determining the authority and relevance of individual web pages. Eric Ward has set down his views on how Hummingbird will impact links.

The two main impacts are that voice queries are much more likely to include words that specify the type of query such as How or Where. Also searchers may often be looking for videos that help them understand the appropriate responses for these more complex queries. Backlinks that target satisfactory responses like this will have much greater weight in rankings. These are the backlinks to work on.

Social confirmation

Google knows well what searchers are doing and where they are going. It knows what web pages may be well received by searchers and which get the thumbs down. For local searches, reviews can also be a useful indicator of the good and the bad. Any black marks will certainly keep the corresponding web pages out of the results pages.  This is an aspect you need to work on for good visibility.


To keep the spam websites at bay and out of the running, the new concept that brings power to a website is the authority of its web pages as evidenced by those involved as Authors. Google Plus is where Google will identify those individuals with authority and those who have little. Such authority is undoubtedly an important influence on which web pages appear in those Query reports. Again this is an important aspect to work on for best search rankings.

The Bottom Line For Hummingbird visibility

In summary, if your website is to be found in this new post-Hummingbird world, it must score well on the three dimensions we have discussed:

  1. It must deliver the information content that responds to what searchers ask for.
  2. It must be well received by visitors and not get too many negative assessments.
  3. It must have outstanding authority as compared with other competitive web pages.

In a way, this is a much more straightforward requirement than seemed to be necessary when technical SEO was much more in vogue.  You might almost say it’s back to basics.

Author Bio: Barry Welford writes for Next Day Flyers, expert suppliers of presentation folders, and is a frequent blogger on business performance, Internet Marketing and social media marketing. Follow him on Twitter, @bwelford

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