Hummingbird is less of an update and more of a major rewrite of their main search and index algorithm. This update is meant to provide the end user with a more intuitive search experience. It is targeted at providing search results that are more accurate by using semantic search mechanisms. Semantic search mechanisms focus on the meaning of words rather than simply matching keywords in search phrases to existing content. In simpler terms, Google is trying to create a search engine algorithm that will enable them to provide answers to queries the same way a friend would when asked the same question.
Webmasters can take advantage of the Hummingbird update to generate increased organic traffic for their websites that is provided they know how. Here are four ways to take advantage of Hummingbird.
1. Create content that addresses actual end user questions
Hummingbird is designed to provide the end user with access to SERPs that answer conversational queries. In other words, Google wants to cater to questions like ‘where can I buy a custom motorcycle?’ as opposed to just providing results for ‘custom motorcycle’. The best way to use this to your advantage is to rework your content to answer these questions.
Note: Google monitors for tactics used to try and game their algorithm so avoid changing your entire website into a big Q&A or FAQ. Hummingbird will look for websites that answer consumer queries rather than just employ keywords strategically.
2. Adapt your content to the long keyword format
For a long time, search engine algorithms favored shorter keywords. For example, ‘custom bikes’ was considered much more effective than ‘classic customized bike designer’. However, Hummingbird is changing this. Long keywords are more effective at delivering accurate SERPs.
The result of this is that websites that are able to effectively deploy long keywords provide better content for indexing. Google is therefore able to rank these sites higher as their content is seen as being more relevant to the consumer.
3. Importance of authorship
Authorship has become quite important in the context of SERPs and online presence. Hummingbird is designed to monitor authorship as a mark of credibility, reliability, and influence. Content with clear authorship is less likely to be spam or stolen and will therefore be ranked higher.
Take advantage of this by using Google+ authorship for all the content that you create. This will increase your credibility and relevance on SERPs.
4. Use Google’s proprietary products
Hummingbird shows a clear favoritism of Google’s proprietary products such as Hangouts, YouTube, and any other products created for content distribution. For example, consider a powerful product such as Hangouts. One can use this product to create videos that provide the end user with content that is informative, relevant, entertaining, and best of all interactive.
It is time that webmasters learned the options that Google has provided them with through their proprietary products. While good copy is important, webmasters are going to have to incorporate more content distribution channels in their overall SEO strategy. Hummingbird is designed towards a holistic approach to content distribution.