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google hummingbird algorithm updateIn Part 3 of our Hummingbird Algorithm Update series we will focus on practical actions you can do within your SEO and content strategy to benefit from Google’s Hummingbird algorithm update. Let’s dive right in.

1. Be mobile-friendly.

If you haven’t already now is the time to make your website mobile-friendly. We have written plenty of mobile-friendly articles on our blog that discuss the many benefits of a mobile design. Mobile web design should clear, concise and easy to use on a small screen. A mobile responsive website will automatically adjust screen size according to the device to create an optimal viewing experience.

In his article SEO in 2014, Jayson DeMers  argues that websites need to be designed first for mobile and then scaled up for the big screen as we prepare so even more people own mobile devices. Currently, approximately half of all Americans own a Smartphone and one-third own tablets. Does this change the way you think about your website?

2. Think about the long-tail “conversational” queries.

Although Hummingbird algorithm is said to have affected 90% of search queries nobody noticed any changes to search results. It was only a month later when Google officially announced the replacement of their algorithm that people started talking. This is because the biggest change caused by Hummingbird was to long-tail queries. These longer, sometimes obscure or specific phrases, make up the bulk of search queries but at very low frequency. It is the accumulation of thousands of long-tail search queries that can drive traffic and cause your website to thrive.

Long-tail queries are going to become even more important as people are using voice search on their mobile devices. No longer will searches type “best restaurants Vancouver” but will ask Siri or OK Google “what are the best 5 star restaurants in Downtown Vancouver near Robson Street”.

Eric Enge at copyblogger sums it up well:

“Over time, users will be retrained to avoid short simple keyword-ese type queries and just say what they want. Note that this evolution is not likely to be rapid, as Google still has a long way to go still!”

3. Stop thinking about keywords and start understanding the needs of your audience.

SEO up until the last couple years has had a huge focus on keywords and keyword rankings. With all the recent changes in Google’s algorithm it is less about just one or two keywords but more about all of the content on your website and how it meets your visitors’ needs. Ken Wisnefski on Wired Innovation Insights describes this change:

“The Hummingbird update will put less emphasis on matching keywords and more emphasis on understanding what a user is most likely hoping to obtain in their search results. If I can give businesses one piece of advice after this update, it’s to prioritize a well-rounded online marketing strategy that continues to deliver a clear message … the companies who prioritize the needs of their users and create content to satisfy those needs will see the biggest successes in the future.”

Rather than creating content in pieces, establish the needs of your visitors and what they hope to find on your website. Once you have a clear understanding of the basic needs and intentions of your visitors for your products and services then you can start integrating the needs into your site’s architecture, content and the language you use to address the needs.

4. Add structured data to your website.

Hummingbird heavily relies on Google’s ability to crawl websites and look for specific types of data. Using Schema Markup can help Google understand the information such as addresses, locations, reviews, products, events and more on your website.

5. Revisit your existing content and boost its quality.

You will miss out on a huge opportunity if only your new content from now on accounts for Hummingbird. Revisit all your existing pages (use Google Analytics to prioritize your pages first) and ensure there is high quality content. Take the time to make the text conversational and relevant to the way people are searching on their mobile devices. Not only will this benefit you in terms of Hummingbird but it will be beneficial to business in general. You will likely see conversions increase, bounce rates drop and hopefully sales increase. Be sure to make the most of every single page on your website!

Remember that Hummingbird is designed to deliver the very best search results which includes sending a visitor to a deep-level page on your website rather than your home page or top level pages. Google wants to give the visitor the best answer as fast as possible. Make sure that every single page is closely targeted for what your visitors are looking for.

6. Establish your authority with Google Plus Authorship.

If you have a blog you must set up Google Authorship for all your writers. Authorship helps the Search Engines understand who you are, your credibility for writing on the topic, all the other places you have blogged or contributed online and also shows your profile picture beside the article in Google Search results.

Key Takeaways: How Google Hummingbird Will Change SEO in 2014

Let’s recap what we’ve learned in this article:

  1. Make your website mobile friendly.
  2. Think long-tail queries as people start using voice search more often
  3. Get to know your audience’s needs and expectations when they visit your website.
  4. Add structured data to help Google better understand your website.
  5. Revisit old content, upgrade its quality and ensure it accommodates conversational search.
  6. Set up Google Plus Authorship – now.

If you follow these core ideas into 2014 you should be well on your way to having a sound SEO strategy in light of Google’s constantly changing algorithm. Need help navigating how to create a quality content strategy or how to install Schema or Authorship? Send us an email us at and we’ll be glad to help!

More in our 3 Part Hummingbird Algorithm Update Series:
Part 1: Intro to Hummingbird Algorithm Update – The Biggest Google Update in 12 Years
Part 2: How Will Hummingbird Affect Your SEO Strategy?
Part 3: Your Action Plan for the Hummingbird Algorithm Update

Carissa Krause

Carissa Krause is currently a marketing and project specialist at 1st on the List. Over the years she has worked with clients on a wide range of projects that include areas like local SEO, backlink profile review, content development, social media, and more. Whatever the project may be Carissa focuses on achieving greater efficiencies and putting plans into action.