SaaS Marketing Blog

What Does Google’s Hummingbird Update Mean for Businesses?


29th October 2013

As far as grand entrances go, Google’s algorithmic update (code named Hummingbird) was a very subtle affair. In fact, the big, bad update went undetected by webmasters and online marketers for more than 30 days, despite affecting 90% of worldwide searches. When the previous update, Penguin, hit just 3% of searches were affected, yet the whole online community went Penguin crazy. Why?

Well, the most recent of Google’s updates is not about search quality. Unlike Penguin which sent anything remotely spammy scurrying back to page 16, Hummingbird will not have too much of an immediate impact on a website’s rank. It’s more about user experience for Googlers. The search engine hasn’t used this update to try to give users even better results, instead it’s working to give them the best, most intuitive experience. Hummingbird is all about data retrieval from indexed websites, artificial intelligence and how the information it gathers is presented to searchers.

Why? Well it’s all to keep users on the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). The longer Google can keep searchers on a SERP, the more exposure they have to paid ads (PPC). This makes the search giant even more profitable. The idea is that Google will now be able to serve up all sorts of data you ask for right there on the search page. Just like this…

So what does this all mean for businesses? For searchers it means more immediate and intuitive access to the information they want – and more accurate results for long tail traffic (all thanks to Hummingbird’s boosted Natural Language Processing skills). For marketers, meanwhile, it can seem like very little has changed.

Hummingbird may not award new points or implement new penalties – but it has entirely changed the game. Panda and Penguin sought to make the game fairer, but Hummingbird is a new playing field altogether and there are new rules to play by.

Better content, smart, evergreen content which speaks for an entire sector, more diverse content in the form of video – these will all help you to thrive in the Hummingbird era. Show a real drive to engage and impress your target audience, make full use of social media (particularly Google+) and, more generally, embrace what your brand can do for your online visitors and you should enjoy success under the reign of Hummingbird.

Does your online marketing need a boost post-Hummingbird? Talk to Xander Marketing about winning those top spots and enjoying even more traffic today on +44 (0)330 223 2770.

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