Google's Hummingbird update sparks yet more changes in SEO

Oct 22, 2013

Written by

Written by
Owen Gaudion

Written by
Owen Gaudion

At some time over the last month, without fanfare, Google has dramatically changed the algorithm in which it returns relevant search results. Lauded as the biggest change in SEO in over 12 years this algorithm enhancement is called Hummingbird.

Hummingbird will now focus on a conversational type of query, or on the full string of the query rather than each of the search terms taken individually. In addition to this change Hummingbird now takes more account of the authority of each web page and so the content and the author of each page holds even more importance to Google.

In SiteProNews 18th October, Joydeep Bhattacharya discusses the changes in Hummingbird and he gives five key ways we can take account of Hummingbird to increase the relevance of our sites with Google. He says:

1) Add Question Answer Pattern Content

Joydeep says that if you can adapt the content of some pages of your website so that they follow a question and answer pattern, it will increase the relevance with Google. Users want to find out answers  and so with Hummingbird Google is trying to return those sites that best answer them.

2) Increase the Domain Authority of Your Site

Joydeep says that "Domain authority has been rising in importance following each Google update‚Äù.  It is Google's aim to return the most trusted and respected sites to the user, and so it wants to find sites that have quality content and links pointing to it.  So he says that having links from high quality resources always helps to boost your site's search engine presence.

3) Use Schema Mark Up

He says that "Schema mark up is a revolutionary vocabulary that can be implemented on any site using any languages like microformat, microdata and RDF. Rich snippets like ratings and reviews, recipe preparation time, data highlighter, product pricing, etc. are all forms of schema mark up. The best way to enable Google to clearly understand the content displayed on your site is with the help of schema vocabulary.”

4) Implement Mobile SEO Tactics

Hummingbird has made changes to serve the needs of mobile users - Joydeep states that by adapting your website to have a mobile version  it is another way which you can fall in with Hummingbird. Quick websites are what users expect and so now Google are rewarding the quick websites in the rankings.

5) Use Google Authorship

The last of Joydeep's recommendations is adding authorship on your web page.  He says that people click more often on search results with an author and photo, and the way that Google attaches authority to the webpage is by identifying who wrote it.

Faced with the question of whether we should all go out and change our websites fundamentally in order to take account of the changes made by Hummingbird the answer is no. It is about getting the balance right. Creating a relevant and up to date website, with interesting content will always be of paramount importance. Google's Hummingbird algorithm is just trying to better identify the best most interesting, and up to date web pages. However, where you can incorporate any of Joydeep Bhattacharya's five recommendations without changing the relevance or readability of your website you should definitely go for it.