What does Hummingbird mean for SEO?
SEO saw a seismic shift with the introduction of Hummingbird. SEOs started to offer Google context for the topics surrounding any particular webpage.
Google has long considered page authority to be a significant ranking factor. With greater emphasis being placed on page content, authority has become even more important and search results have become more relevant. The update helped Google to direct users to the most appropriate page of a website, instead of to a home page or top level page. Driving search traffic to these pages has, overall, improved UX and conversion rates.
A page’s link metrics remained one of the major components of the Hummingbird algorithm. That’s why it remains important to consider link metrics and strive for co-citations. Promoting a relationship between your site and others allows Google to identify what your website or business deals in or with. We learned this with Penguin, but Hummingbird reaffirmed how inbound links from topically irrelevant contexts offer less ranking benefit than topically relevant ones.
So, Hummingbird, like so many other algorithm updates, forced SEO agencies to up their link building game, to place even further emphasis on relevance. Consider leveraging synonyms and cooccurring terms. We’ve covered this more in our guide on anchor text.
While keywords are still important, Hummingbird adds more strength to phrase-based queries, which effectively caters to the optimisation of content and questions that are asked naturally. With the growing number of conversational queries, namely those conducted using voice search, it’s important your page content covers informational queries, navigational queries and transactional queries. Phrases that ask ‘Who’, ‘What’, ‘Where’ and ‘How’ prove beneficial to SEO, and may help you return more rich results. So, guidance remains the same: Load your site with original, relevant, high-quality content.
Hummingbird also made structured data a more prominent ranking factor, making it useful to utilise structured data schema markup to indicate exactly what any given page is about. As we mentioned above, you want Google to ‘know’ you have the answer to a searcher’s query.