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Six Google Hummingbird Optimisation Ideas

Dean Marsden

by Dean Marsden on 4th October 2013

HummingbirdLast month I wrote about Google returning Semantic Search results and making big moves forward in understanding users through conversational word. Incredibly it turns out Google had released a completely new Algorithm that powered its Knowledge Graph during this time, although no one really noticed!

This is a good thing, with the update rumoured to affect 90% of websites there wasn’t really any significant noise of traffic changes from webmasters during this time. It was only when Google publicly announced the change that people really noticed it.

The new algorithm, Google Hummingbird, managed to keep the hard work the old updates had done so far in delivering great web results whilst incorporating advanced conversational search and returning greater knowledge graph results.

So what can digital marketers do to get more from Google Hummingbird? Well Knowledge graph is going to get a lot smarter and this means traditional web results are being pushed down. In essence, increasing your websites’ visibility is even more important.


The first step you can take to get in on the action is to improve on your AuthorRank. In the future Google will need to identify experts in different fields to return greater informational results. After all this is Google’s main goal. If you can be seen as an authority on a particular subject through AuthorRank then Google will likely place trust in content you have created on the web and this will lead to greater visibility of your content.

In order to build your AuthorRank you will need to actually use that Google+ account you created back when it launched. If you want Google to notice you, building connections and a reputation through Google+ is the best way to do this. Sure it may be argued that you can build a great AuthorRank just through linking your Google+ account to all the great content you’ve published on the web and building an authority through external personal branding. But interacting and building two way relationships on Google+ means that Google can get a better idea of your areas of expertise.

Google Authorship

Google Suggest Keyword Targeting

As illustrated in my previous blog post, Google now auto suggests complete sentences based on what you’re inputting. If Google thinks a query is best written a different way, users are going to be ‘pushed’ into results for these suggestions. This means increased search volume for certain keyword phrases and if you’re quick you can start to dominate these.

There are a couple of ways you can find out what these queries are: The first is to try using Google suggest tools such as Ubersuggest.org but at this time it doesn’t always return rewritten results like those that I’ve seen in Google. However it is still a great tool to get ideas for synonyms and phrase variations.

The best way to find these alternatives right now is to manually search to find a given page or product on your website. In these examples from my last blog post, Google completely reorders and rewrites search strings.

google suggestions 1

google suggestions 2

google suggestions 3

Conversational Keyword Targeting

Sure organic keyword data is disappearing, but it’s almost forcing us to totally rethink keyword strategy. ‘Writing for the user’ is something we’ve all heard from Matt Cutts a billion times but this time ‘Answering the user’ will be far more beneficial.

This offers a chance to drive more relevant traffic to your site. People use Google for answers to their questions. Create or edit content to put more of an answer to their questions.

Local Search Optimisation

We’re all aware Mobile devices are becoming the most popular source of web searches and with that more and more people will be searching for local products and services. Google Hummingbird is designed to return better localised results to users, especially in mobile friendly formats; maps, directions, click to call links, etc. All of these mean a greater chance of reaching customers that are nearby.

Local results on mobile

Optimising for local search is probably one of the most rewarding tasks you can do if your business relies on local custom, i.e. restaurants, takeaways, supermarkets, shops, gyms, plumbers, electricians, gas men, mechanics and more.

As well as the usual local search optimisation techniques, having a Google+ Local page is a must so that your business details appear correctly. Also if people search for your business name directly then a knowledge graph style panel will appear with your details.

Local shop listing

Image Search

When users search a given object, the chance of pictures popping up is greater than ever before. Therefore it is important to fill your content with rich, high quality images with optimisation of the file name and alt tag. Use the keyword research techniques already outlined in this blog post to find the exact phrases searchers are using.

Google image search

Site Search

Before the introduction of Semantic Search visitors would have probably found your site via broader keywords that may not have had much detail, however once a visitor is on your site it’s likely they would have used built in site search to help find a specific product, service or blog post if their original Google search wasn’t detailed enough to show a better landing page.

These search terms may give you more of an idea of what people want, making them potentially more detailed and providing you with a good insight into visitor behaviour. These site search keywords can be incorporated into your overall keyword strategy.

Site search data in analytics

Your Ideas

These are some ideas of how to benefit from a future with Google Hummingbird. I’d love to hear your ideas and thoughts in the comments below.

Photo Credit

Broad-tailed Hummingbird Female (selasphorus Platycercus) from BigStock

Dean Marsden

Dean Marsden

Dean Marsden will be keeping you up to speed with video marketing and conversion rate optimisation. Dean excels at delivering video marketing solutions for clients and specialises in converting website visitors into customers.

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  • jemin 4th October 2013

    Great Article Dean Marsden. I like your way to improve Google Author rank by linking all article with Google Account. Thanks for sharing such a nice information.

    Reply to this comment

  • Elijah 4th October 2013

    Great article. Thanks for this new seo ideas. The only problem is how can we find the best conversational keyword for our niche cause there’s only few data we could get in Google Adwords keyword planner.

    Reply to this comment

  • Dean Marsden

    Dean Marsden 7th October 2013

    Thanks for the comments both.

    Elijah, Although Keyword planner may not show the data you should be able to get a few ideas from Ubersuggest. The best way however (right now) is to manually search for variations of your target keyword then not is auto suggest comes up with variations and/or look at the bottom of the search results in a section named “Searches related to ___” to get related searches.

    Keyword research is changing. Keyword planner may not be the best option for organic keyword research.

    Reply to this comment

  • Dean Marsden

    Dean Marsden 7th October 2013

    Google Hummingbird Optimisation Idea 7:

    PPC Search Query Reports

    Another keyword research idea, post hummingbird, could be to use the AdWords Search Query Report to find great keyword phrase ideas. This report shows the exact terms people have used to show and/or click on your paid ads.

    Okay so this requires you to be running an AdWords campaign, but you need only run it a few weeks to get some good data.

    Reply to this comment

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