Inbound marketers are likely aware that Google recently rolled out its Hummingbird search algorithm. Less obvious are its implications.
Hummingbird reportedly impacts 90 percent of all search queries – especially long tail queries. This makes it important for inbound marketing – a discipline that should pay close attention to long tail keyword opportunities
What’s up with Hummingbird?
With Hummingbird, Google is striving for greater speed and accuracy at understanding a searcher’s intent. Search has become more conversational over time. Internet users today prefer to enter search queries as questions or phrases rather than simply type in keywords.
In response, the new algorithm has been designed to handle complex queries and identify the meaning behind whole phrases as opposed to individual words. So, according to Google and Search Engine Land, “In general, Hummingbird is a new engine built on both existing and new parts, organized in a way to especially serve the search demands of today, rather than one created for the needs of ten years ago, with the technologies back then.”
The new algorithm has been live for some time now. While short queries containing one or two words have not been affected much, there’s been a drastic change in more conversational phrases. For example, if you enter how to fix my car tire, Google now understands that you are not looking for a car or a tyre but you are looking to fix the tyre. By matching intent (fix car tire) over matching key phrases (car, tire), the search engine is trying to deliver more relevant results.
How the Hummingbird algorithm is good for inbound marketing
The new algorithm is Google’s way of saying that ultimately, original and high-quality content will be given importance in ranking. For inbound marketers, this reinforces the need for high quality content built around a carefully thought out longtail keyword strategy. It means those who’ve gotten by gaming the system are going to lose.
The previous update, Google Panda, focussed on unique content – Hummingbird focusses more on useful content.
So – in effect – Hummingbird brings it back to fundamentals. Theoretically, you win by being a good resource for your community, showcasing your expertise, and developing a relationship with your potential buyers. A single page and its title will no longer be able to satisfy a query – your site’s content should satisfy a range of users and buyer personas.
Google Hummingbird should lead to search results that are more about content created with the end users in mind. That’s inbound marketing!