Just recently, Google moved us closer to real semantic search. In what is becoming one of the most talked about Google algorithm updates since Google Penguin (2012) and perhaps the most comprehensive update since Caffeine (2010), Hummingbird is supposed to affect 90% of searches. It was rolled out in late August, 2013. No one noticed.
It took Google making a public announcement before anyone even started writing about it. Either they’re getting better at rolling out updates or the SEO community is getting worse at detecting them.
That aside, however, the question on the table is this: What does Hummingbird mean to search and content marketers?
Caroline Melberg, SEO specialist with Small Business Mavericks, had this to say: “Since the update makes heavy use of the Knowledge Graph, which Google introduced last year, I’d say it takes us one step closer to semantic search. The Knowledge Graph is supposed to make it easier for searchers to find information based on questions rather than keyword-based searches. One unique aspect of the Knowledge Graph is how it allows searchers to use a follow up question that is completely non-keyword-based.”
That keeps it interesting, doesn’t it?
Google has historically moved toward being the world’s largest catalog of information. They seem to want searchers to find information in the search results rather than having to click through to web pages. But is that a good thing? If your web page is the one that information is gathered from and you get a source link to your website from a credible source it is a very good thing.
It will be interesting to see how Hummingbird affects search in the long run. Expect online marketers to conduct lots of tests in the short term and be on the lookout for more information about this algorithm change as the results unfold.