Google Hummingbird and your Website!

Google Hummingbird

Hummingbird photo by AnnCam

Google Hummingbird is creating quite the stir amongst web developers, SEO Jockey’s and well just about everyone else who makes their living in one way or the other off the Internet. I’ve had several clients approach me and say; “What is hummingbird?”, what I think about Hummingbird, what they should do about it and does it have a significant impact for their website. My answer is almost always the same. Relax. It’s going to be okay.

Before I explain what hummingbird is, I want to answer why I think everything is going to be okay (for our clients), and it’s quite simple. Because of the nature of  hummingbird and the nature in which Smack Smog develops original content for our clients I think it will actually be an asset for people like us who write original content articles, use original graphics and that we know how to use the appropriate  tags and descriptions for our artwork. I’m not worried. I believe that we cultivate, develop and post good strong content and that it will be rewarded.

So what is Hummingbird. Well I’ve included lots of quotes from some of the industries biggest players below. I encourage you to read them all and digest well. From what I understand, Hummingbird is a new algorithm (not a variation of code). Hummingbird has a heavy focus on natural speech. Basically it conducts it’s searches by how people speak, not by a rigid (dare I say Engineering Quality) manner of typing search inquiries into a small box on a Google Search page. Why you might ask? Well it’s simply because Mobile Data is just getting to be such an important part of everyone’s everyday life people are speaking into their phones and tablets and searching for information rather than typing and gathering. Google Hummingbird was created so that the mobile people, the laptop people and the desktop people can all find exactly what they are looking for online.

Smacksmog has always focused on creating good solid content that your target consumer will want to embrace. We’ve never had a heavy focus on Key Words because while they have been helpful in the past we always thought that trying to create the content that the end users would search for was more important than keyword stuffing.  Yes it’s still important to organize your data/content. Yes at this point it’s still important to fill out your meta data fields. Without a doubt. However it’s also equally important to fill out your Alt Tags and Descriptions on your image files as well.

What’ Smacksmog’s bottom line. Have the answers your customers are searching for and you will be fine. In our humble opinion your blog is now even more critical than ever.  It’s your opportunity to place helpful, useful information that will assist the customer. You don’t need to be fancy, just easy to understand, happy to provide the answers that your customers are looking for! Write your content in simple to understand language. Think about how people will phrase the question to Google, then write it the same way.

Although this shouldn’t surprise anyone who is involved in the “industry” I feel it still needs to be said. Web Authority is becoming more and more important. Voices are growing louder than brands and it’s important for all business to embrace multiple venues of authority online. Yes, Social Media isn’t going away and it’s becoming more important across the board. PageRank still plays an important role in how you do on Google Search Ranking but I believe that you will see equally importance placed not only on if you are on Social Media sites like Facebook, YouTube, Instagram but what the people who are on those sites say about you and your company. However we’ll save that topic for another day.

What do other web developers say about Google Hummingbird?

Hummingbird should better focus on the meaning behind the words. It may better understand the actual location of your home, if you’ve shared that with Google. It might understand that “place” means you want a brick-and-mortar store. It might get that “iPhone 5s” is a particular type of electronic device carried by certain stores. Knowing all these meanings may help Google go beyond just finding pages with matching words.

In particular, Google said that Hummingbird is paying more attention to each word in a query, ensuring that the whole query — the whole sentence or conversation or meaning — is taken into account, rather than particular words. The goal is that pages matching the meaning do better, rather than pages matching just a few words.


Designed to be more precise and provide faster query results, the algorithm is based on semantic search, focusing on user intent versus individual search terms.

Unlike Google’s Penguin and Panda updates to its existing algorithm, Hummingbird is a complete replacement. Google’s search chief Amit Singhal told Danny Sullivan that Hummingbird represents the first time since 2001 a Google algorithm has been so dramatically rewritten.

Christy Belden, vice president of marketing and media at LEAP, agrees that Hummingbird’s focus on semantic search will continue to drive SEO in the right direction. “Google has been talking about semantic language and understanding the meaning behind search for quite some time,” said Belden, “With more users searching via mobile and voice, the Hummingbird update makes a lot of sense.”

Even though the post was published ten months before the new search algorithm was announced, Lyngbø’s tips for SEOs are especially relevant in light of the Hummingbird release:

• Businesses must understand and adapt to semantic search and the knowledge graph.

• Positioning yourself to be the provider of answers that people are seeking.

• Identify intent, needs and problems. Provide solutions and answers. Look at queries and what they really need. Give them what the people behind the queries want.


It’s not enough to have a beautifully designed website or an entertaining blog that keeps people coming back for more. Businesses need to focus on staying ahead of the competition by taking advantage of all the marketing initiatives the Internet provides. From blogs and website design to a strong social media presence, it all ties in to becoming the authority in a given space.

As a photographer I know that good humminbird photos can be tough to take. My hat’s off to AnnCam for taking the great photo at the top of this page. Please click on her name and follow the link to Flickr. She has so many wonderful photos to admire. Photo Credit AnnCam