Feeding Google’s Knowledge Engine- Success in a Post-Hummingbird WorldCan you count how many times you use a search engine during the day? To get directions? To find something to buy? To learn something new? It’s hard to remember a time when discovering the information you needed took as much or more time than it took to digest that information. Today, with knowledge literally at our fingertips, search has turned into something that is so integrated into our daily lives that the line between the digital realm and our physical reality is increasingly blurred.

Google has taken this idea one step further, by continuing its evolution from search engine to “knowledge engine.” What does this mean exactly? The search giant is working to replicate how the human mind understands the world, by seeking to uncover the intent behind searches. Google not only does this by delivering results based on the literal meanings of the words in your search box, but by understanding the relationships that those terms or objects hold in relation to other objects in the real world through semantic search.

Google’s September algorithm update, called Hummingbird, is focused on building that relational understanding in order to serve precise results for more complicated questions. This algorithm change also seeks to better integrate itself into the life of its constantly connected users through a strengthened understanding of voice and mobile search.

So, how do you help Google build context around your site so its bots have the understanding that they need to best interpret it? And how do you help build your site to respond to users who expect immediate, precise answers from their searches?

1. A strong SEO foundation. Hummingbird did not impact SEO fundamentals, but rather it has continued to build upon them. The update has been likened to a new engine that uses old parts. (Previous Google updates Panda and Penguin are those “old parts.”) Quality content and strong technical SEO are still staples of a strong web presence.

2. Content, content, content. This is so important that it bears repeating. Google ranks sites with engaging, informative content that provides value to users highly. And the engine stays at the forefront because it evolves how it delivers the most relevant results to searchers. With Hummingbird, it’s more important than ever to craft fresh and varied site content that answers the complex questions that Google now better understands.

3. Schema.org tags. Google is getting smarter, but its understanding still relies on a little help. Schema.org tags help Google connect the dots between different pieces of site content. Plus, the tags have the added benefit of making your results stand out from the crowd in the search engine results pages (SERPs). Get a competitive advantage, while less than 1% of websites out there are making use of these tags, and start implementing them.

The digital marketing world is constantly changing, and regular updates from Google keep it spinning. But as long as our focus remains on providing value to our audiences, we’ll be flying right with Hummingbird.


About the Author

Rachael Roark

Senior Search Strategist

Rachael is a data-driven marketing strategist who specializes in organic and local search, working to create and execute integrated marketing strategies that facilitate client goals.