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What impact does Hummingbird have on the natural referencing of your website?

November 29, 2013.

From Google’s official blog, www.insidesearch.blogpost.ca


From Google's official blog, www.insidesearch.blogpost.ca

Google celebrates its 15th anniversary and for the occasion the company announced from the garage in Menlo Park, where the search engine was designed, a major change to its algorithm. Hummingbird is the biggest change ever made to the original engine. Unlike Panda and Penguin, which were essentially updates, the algorithm has been completely replaced. According to Amit Singhal, Senior Vice President of Search at Google, this change will impact 90% of the searches performed.

Semantic search

By semantic search, we mean that the engine will no longer take into account only the keywords, but the meaning given to all the keywords searched for. This also means that the meaning of the words will have more impact on the results by taking more account of synonyms. For example, a user looking for "dinner Montreal" could very well have restaurant pages at the top of the results list without containing a single dinner.

These changes are in line with what Google has already undertaken: moving away from keyword searching and focusing on the meaning and context of expressions (Search Engine Land). Google was already preparing us for this by increasing the amount of "not provided" or encrypted keywords in its Google Analytics tool (Business2community). They are also made to meet the growing demand for mobile search, which should reach 33% of searches by the end of 2013 according to Macquarie Group. This means a rise in the importance of voice search, usually done in a more natural way as Scott Huffman, an engineer at Google, revealed to Forbes. As luck would have it, Kit Kat, the latest version of Android, highlights its voice search tool.

So Google continues to focus on delivering quality search results. Consequently, if your strategy already consisted in producing high-quality content that meets specific needs and questions, Hummingbird should have a positive impact on your natural SEO. On the other hand, if you are on the dark side of SEO, such as low quality links and creating pages with the sole purpose of gaining a good position on certain keywords, an update of your techniques is in order.