Before I even get into this, let me go ahead and say that my title is a little misleading. Hummingbird marks a major shift in how the world will interact with the web, and for those of us that are mobile diehards, this is a long-awaited change. Even if you’re not in the mobile business however, you had better pay attention to Google’s Hummingbird, as this new search algorithm has the potential to dictate how you find, advertise, share, and connect with businesses for the foreseeable future.
So How Will Hummingbird Change the Game?
Well, in the short term, it won’t. Sorry to be anti-climactic off the bat, but the thing about Hummingbird is that rather than set up a new set of rules that immediately renders half the web inefficient, Hummingbird looks to change the basic philosophy behind search and online interaction.
Anyone that has had a cup of coffee in Cafe SEO can tell you the terrors of a web structured around keywords and phrases. While the practice of packing your site with terms the web was telling you to use has begun to fade as Google’s bots have become more sophisticated, the notion of simply creating fresh, original content will become even more important as Hummingbird pushes search in the direction of content-based results. While actual search format will remain the same, Hummingbird will seek to structure results more around the actual intent of the search, rather than simply matching keywords.
But How Does Mobile Fit In?
There are a few major mobile notions that drive Hummingbird. For one, mobile searches tend to be far more action-based. People are on the go or looking to take action quickly rather than sitting at a desk researching (wide-genralizationally speaking). This means that mobile searches are more specific (i.e. “Where is the closest taqueria” vs. “Taqueria X-City, USA”) and users expect more direct results.
Mobile also has given rise to the growing trend of voice search. I’m not sure how you talk, but when I’m asking someone how many pounds their are in a stone, I tend not to say “pounds to stone converter“. Hummingbird is structured to attempt to understand what it is tat the searcher actually wants in a more intelligent way, so voice search is poised to become more of a conversation between users and the web rather than the user shouting three characteristics and having the web trot out a lineup.
So the good news for now is that if you’ve structured your content around keywords, you don’t have to worry about your traffic disappearing all at once. The better news (for the world at least) is that if Hummingbird does what it is supposed to, the web will be a much more convenient place to ask what’s on your mind.