How does Google’s Hummingbird Update Impact Social Media Marketers?

How does Google’s Hummingbird Update Impact Social Media Marketers?

Google recently launched a new algorithm, code-named Hummingbird, that was designed to answer more complex queries and present more in-depth knowledge to users.   Launched over a month ago, Google’s Hummingbird is its largest algorithm overhaul in 10 years.

At a press conference announcing the change, Google explained that the new algorithm is smarter, able to understand complex queries and return more relevant answers.  They are preparing for a future of phone concierges, where you ask your phone for information and it talks back to you, understanding the meaning behind your questions and giving you semantically relevant answers.

According to the NY Times:

“The company made the changes  because Google users are asking increasingly long and complex questions and are searching Google more often on mobile phones with voice search.”

So how does Google’s Hummingbird update impact social media marketers?

What can you do to make sure your blog’s visibility improves in the wake of Hummingbird?

#1. Improve your mobile’s web search experience

On InsideSearch, Amit Singhal, Google’s chief technologist, explained:

“The world has changed so much: billions of people have come online, the Web has grown exponentially, and now you can ask any question on the powerful little device in your pocket.”

Obviously mobile is a major focus for Google, and Hummingbird presents a way for Google to serve better results for mobile users.  Given the massive amounts of data Google has at their fingertips, they can anticipate trends better than any other company…and if they are focusing on mobile and overhauling their entire algorithm to serve better mobile results, then this is something social media marketers must pay attention to.  Just this week, Google changed their User Interface for tablet and mobile users.

What can you do to get your website mobile ready?

Do you need more information?  Check out Google’s extensive guide on how to build Mobile-Optimized Websites.

#2. Connect your blog to your Google+ profile using Authorship

Authorship is a way of identifying categorical influencers and featuring their content in Google.

According to Google:

“Using authorship helps searchers discover great information by highlighting content from authors who they might find interesting. If you’re an author, signing up for authorship will help users recognize content that you’ve written. Additionally, searchers can click the byline to see more articles you’ve authored or to follow you on Google+”.

It’s that simple!

Hummingbird and search

Just recently we shared a post on How Google Authorship will Impact Search and Content Marketing.  With Hummingbird and Google’s public announcement about improving their Knowledge Base results, as well as the recent launch of In-Depth articles, using Authorship should now be a MUST for all social media marketers.

For Google to consider serving your content in the In-Depth Articles results, you need to create and connect your authorship, as well as use article markup.

Your rich snippet should follow you across the web, across different sites and channels where you actively contribute.

#3. Create and publish to your Google+ profile

The reason? It is the social spine that improves the user experience across Google.

At Social Media Week Los Angeles, a team from Google Plus presented about the constant improvements being made to Google Plus, and how Google perceives Plus as the future of Google.

Hummingbird and search

Even though Google did not publicly mention Google Plus during their Hummingbird press conference, it is simple enough to realize that Google Plus is the platform that will unify all of Google’s social and mobile efforts.

Google plus is the platform connected to Authorship, and with their Agent Rank algorithm, it’s only a matter of time until they start using Author Authority to modify search results.  Being active on Google Plus, sharing content relevant to your industry, and having a large number of industry experts following you will help you gain Author authority.

Again talking about trends, Google is heavily focusing on Plus as they see the trends towards social search.  Google is actively improving their social platform as more people rely on their social circles for advice, information, and answers.

Given that Hummingbird is an algorithm about providing better answers, understanding natural language queries, as well improving the mobile experience, Google Plus is at the foundation of these future trends.

What can you do to improve your presence on Google Plus?

At Social Media Week Los Angeles, Gabriela D’Addario and Maggie Ferrante suggested the following tips:

#1. Be Active on Plus Daily

Then you share as much content as you can.  When asked for a specific number, they answered that people should share at least 3 content pieces a day.

#2. Join Relevant Communities

Then follow the people you meet in those communities who have relevant interests.

#3. Share Multi-Media content

This includes photos, video, and audio.

#4. Use Hangouts!

These are being constantly upgraded and are a fantastic way to create an audience.

Why you shouldn’t ignore Hummingbird

“Google will keep reinventing itself to give you all you need for a simple and intuitive experience. At some point, pulling out a smartphone to do a search will feel as archaic as a dial-up modem.”

Amit Singhal, SVP of Search

Google’s already preparing for a future so far ahead that our smart phones will be archaic, are you?  Are you active on Google Plus, establishing a strong social presence?  Do you have your Authorship connected to Plus, and are you sharing evergreen, high quality articles that can help establish you as an industry influencer?

What about you?

What else can you do to improve your web presence in the era of the Hummingbird?

Guest author: Marcela De Vivo is a writer for Cyfe, a web-based software that helps companies with their business metrics.  She’s a tech geek and loves sharing great advice and information to help companies improve their visibility online.  Follow her on Google Plus, her new favorite place to hang out online!



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  • http://WWW.EXTRA-CASH-ONLINE.COM/ Robert Connor

    Thanks Jeff!

  • JD

    Jeff – I wrote an article about this as well. Think we could possible exchange some unique content?

  • gmart

    Good info, but tech blogs like this really need to date stamp their articles. This is information that could easily be obsolete in a year or two.

  • Michael Martinez

    When people get tired of seeing Hummingbird steering them toward irrelevant results based on past queries, they can clear their browser history (cache and cookies) to force Google to start over. So far, this seems to be the only way to fix the serious issues with Hummingbird from a searcher perspective.

  • Eli J. Pacheco

    I love that just by doing what’s instinctive as a Google Plus user, you’re doing the right thing. Intuitive is the keyword here, both for hummingbird and we Google users. Thanks for the great info – I’m going to set up my authorship.

  • Amanda B

    How do I create and connect my authorship on my blog as there are 2 contributing authors?

  • Spook SEO

    The update is more on social media which clearly has been adopting to the never ending change on the web. Accessibilty, as we call it that nowadays people are browsing through their smartphones. I guess this update has been good that it anticipated the need of the users.

  • Jeff Chance

    Hi Jeff, I’ve seen a lot of posts about this and I agree that the daily usage of G+ and regular sharing are important. If I may add this infographic with 5 tips for Optimizing for Google’s Hummingbird, I’d love to hear your thoughts? 5 Tips for Optimizing for Google’s Hummingbird