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Understanding SEO: What Is Google’s Hummingbird Algorithm?


Google’s algorithms are always evolving, and businesses have to keep up or get left behind. Previously, Panda and Penguin were the go-to updates, add-ons that worked in tandem with the foundational algorithm.

Now, there’s Hummingbird, released in 2013 and revised ever since.

Designed to replace Panda and Penguin and revamp the core algorithm entirely, Hummingbird made big changes.

What exactly is this release, and what does it mean for you? We have the details right here.

Hummingbird Guides the Internet World

The old versions attempted to optimize and rank sites to send traffic in the right direction. But there were a lot of problems, like incorrect rankings and detoured traffic.

Hummingbird knocked these issues into the past by creating what became known as a “knowledge graph.”

The Knowledge Graph and SERP

Until Hummingbird, user queries generated search engine results that weren’t always accurate. They focused more on traffic and less on knowledge content and expertise, relevance, and growth.

Hummingbird used SERPs, a set of features that ensured the sites suggested answered queries based on what people really needed. So, when keywords are entered into the search box, the results that appear include a variety of possible solutions.

The organic results show up, along with links to the most relevant websites, of course. However, with Hummingbird, there are also things like answer boxes, knowledge panels, and suggestions of other, similar topics to give you more detail.

Moving Into Semantics

So how do places like the blogger outreach marketplace successfully match businesses to their audience? They use Hummingbird’s system to combine SERP solutions with semantics.

In this solution, the website uses a strategic approach to the algorithm. They use Hummingbird and context, predicting internet users’ queries and their intent. For instance, a simple keyword query of “lower back pain” could be generated to diagnose a problem, find a solution, or research the topic.

Sites must optimize their content to predict implicit and explicit searches. Hummingbird uses semantics and SERP features to determine the user’s intent, not solely the language used in the search.

In other words, Hummingbird moved into an entirely new realm of technology: intelligence. Through its ability to determine the user’s intent, Google’s algorithm took anything that was once used in the past and made it obsolete instantly.

Reading Your Mind? Not Quite, But Almost

Have you ever noticed that as you type in a keyword or two, the rest of your question auto-populates?

No, Google isn’t reading your mind. The algorithm uses semantics and SERP features to try to analyze your intent for the search.

Hummingbird isn’t always helpful, though. Local SEO communities have complained that the algorithm’s predictions take away their presence. The results create localization that decreases their visibility.

For Best Results, Use Hummingbird Correctly

Overall, Hummingbird’s presence has been substantially beneficial, though. Any site that isn’t making the most of the formula should evaluate the updates it has received. If you’re not using Hummingbird, you may be unintentionally making yourself obsolete.

And if this seems like more than you want to deal with, check into those outreach marketplaces. The investment is more than worth it when you get increased organic and semantic traffic.

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