Source : Telegraph – Technology
By : Gerry Brown
Category : Small Business SEO- Orlando, Best Orlando SEO Company
Google’s new Hummingbird algorithm could create a more even playing field for ‘the long tail’ of website publishers, and help Google to rival Apple Siri in voice search, says Ovum analyst Gerry Brown. Last week, Google announced a brand new algorithm for its search engine, called Hummingbird. Although Google often produces updates and enhancements (such as the “Caffeine Update” in 2010, and “Penguin” and “Panda” since), the last time Google introduced a brand new algorithm was 2001, so it is a big change. Although Google has not given away many details, it said that Hummingbird is focused on ranking information based on a more intelligent understanding of search requests. As Internet data volumes explode we increasingly have to type more and more words into Google Search to gain greater accuracy of results. Often we need to conduct multiple searches to find the information we are looking for, which is frustrating and time consuming. This is because the Search results we currently receive reflect the matching combination of key words that a search phrase contains, rather than the true meaning of the sentence itself. Search results produced by Hummingbird will reflect the full semantic meaning of longer search phrases, and should in theory produce more accurate results.
For example Hummingbird will more greatly consider question words like “how” “why”, “where” and “when” in search phrases, in addition to content keywords. Hence Hummingbird moves the emphasis of search from “results” to “answers”. Google also has acknowledged that the number of mobile and voice-based searches is increasing. Such voice searches are in natural language, and may not therefore contain the keywords we might finesse on a computer keyboard. These ‘on the fly’ searches are likely to return poor results using a keyword search system. The semantic search capabilities of Hummingbird aim to address this need. It should be noted however that the most-used medium for mobile voice-based search is Apple iPhone’s Siri, which uses Yelp and WolframAlpha rather than Google for semantic search. WolframAlpha has had a semantic search capability since 2012, so there is undoubtedly a competitive response angle to the Hummingbird move.
The future is therefore “conversational search” or “hot wording” as Google refers to it. By this Google means that a user can simply voice prompt the Google search engine by saying “OK, Google”. The latter is also the voice catch-phrase used to operate the wearable Google Glass spectacles. In a separate move announced by Google in September 2013, the company will seek to accelerate the movement from Google keyword search to Google semantic search. Google will encrypt all future Search results, which means that keywords used by publishers will increasingly produce ‘not provided’ results in Google Analytics. This means that publishers will have less idea where the web traffic to their website comes from. An underlying commercial motivation maybe that Google’s premium products will continue to provide some keyword detail, hence encouraging upgrades from free to paid-for Google products.
In both cases Google has been quietly introduced these changes without the hullaballoo that accompanies an Apple product launch, for example. Google has been encrypting search results since 2011, and we have all been using Hummingbird for 6-8 weeks now. These understated actions also suggest that commercial or competitive motives are to the fore, rather than the altruistic ‘better user experience’ public positioning that Google is promoting. Few if any of us have noticed the improvements suggested by Hummingbird. There has been significantly more debate online by concerned webmasters concerned about the potential loss of their precious keywords statistics.
One beneficial result of Hummingbird should be that it creates a more even and fairer playing field for ‘the long tail’ of website publishers. Search keywords are dominated by large companies and brands who can afford to win the search word bidding war created by Google. Semantic search results are less predictable, and should enable small and niche website providers to gain a higher page ranking when a precise and complex search phrase is used. Hummingbird is set to affect around 90 per cent of all Google search results, and search results will undoubtedly be affected, but to what degree is currently unclear. One conclusion we can draw is that Google is seeking to retain more data for its own purposes, thus providing it with a unique ‘data competitive advantage’. This will potentially enable Google to target consumers with advertising and promotions more accurately than any other advertiser or publisher. Already some online advertisers and publishers have expressed concern at Google’s domination of the online advertising industry, so much so that they now refuse to share their valuable data with Google. The Hummingbird and search encryption moves may well heighten similar privacy concerns in other parts of the web ecosystem.
Source : telegraph.co.uk/technology/google/10350564/Google-Hummingbird-algorithm-to-elevate-niche-websites.html