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Google’s Hummingbird Update

Google celebrated their 15th birthday recently with a press conference at the garage where the company was created. During the conference they explained that a month or so ago they switched their algorithm to handle “complex questions” even better. This new update is called ‘hummingbird’.

Hummingbird’s primary focus is to boost the knowledge panel’s usefulness and answer ‘complex questions’. Because of this, it seems to have rolled out without much notice or fuss from website owners.

What does Google mean by ‘complex questions’?
A complex question means thinking less like a computer and lot more like a human and interacting with you on dynamically mobile devices that provide the ability for verbal search. The motivation behind this update is the same one that motivates most of Google’s updates – to answer the questions users are asking and maintain their top spot as the search engine of choice.

What to do?

  • understand the needs of your audience, how they are likely to communicate and the questions they might ask.
  • include more question specific queries in your site content with natural language matches.
  • re-write or expand detailed FAQs on your site.
  • with mobile visitors set to outnumber desktop visitors, make sure your site is mobile friendly and  responsive.
  • add informative video content to your pages as a way to increase site traffic and insulate against the possible affects of Hummingbird.

However, having said all this, if you’ve been regularly writing high-quality content and have a responsive site that is easy for mobile users to navigate then it’s unlikely you have much to worry about . .  at present. As Ken Wisnefski states in his very informative blog:

“The Hummingbird update is the logical next step towards separating the best material from the riffraff of the Internet.”


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