Hummingbird makes search more curious – the “why” factor

By Stav Pipis - 30th April 2014

In Q3 2013, when Google announced the overhaul of their search engine algorithm, gasps of dismay covered the industry to the sound that 90% of websites would be affected by the changes. Hummingbird was running for a month prior to the official announcement with very few industry professionals noticing it. The reason the change went unnoticed by the vast majority of people was due to mainly two reasons:

  • Google kept elements of previous algorithms in Hummingbird, and
  • If people followed the search giant’s instructions and kept within the guidelines, then the changes did not affect them.

In Q3 2013, when Google announced the overhaul of their search engine algorithm, gasps of dismay covered the industry to the sound that 90% of websites would be affected by the changes. Hummingbird was running for a month prior to the official announcement with very few industry professionals noticing it. The reason the change went unnoticed by the vast majority of people was due to mainly two reasons:

  • Google kept elements of previous algorithms in Hummingbird, and
  • If people followed the search giant’s instructions and kept within the guidelines, then the changes did not affect them.

The algorithm though had one fundamental and distinct difference that makes search differ from what it looked like 5 or even 2 years ago: Google is no longer asking “what” when a user is searching online with them, but it focuses on the “why”. The process drills down into the heart of the search query, and the answer provides more relevant links to the searcher’s query, as well as pushes digital marketers to focus more on the quality of their digital assets rather than their keyword tagging. Google was prompt to turn its attention towards semantic search, which focuses on those “verbose queries” as Amit Sanghal, senior VP at Google, noted. In fact, this change alters the position search has in the acquisition funnel. Identifying the reasons behind the search query, both Google, and digital marketers can better cater for the needs of the consumer.

Search and the Technology Buyer

The algorithm didn’t leave either the B2C nor B2B marketing side unaffected, and findings of various researches make it more compelling than ever to ensure a strong SEO strategy is in place. Research has shown that up to 80% of product research for future business purchases starts on a search engine, while the percentage is even greater for B2C products. In fact, within the B2B technology sector, 65%+ of buyers use search engines to identify trends and read up on news regarding their industry. That means that over 6 out of 10 individuals can be influenced through the destinations they arrive at via a search more generally through the media.

When searching, the user is self-nurturing through consuming information that will eventually help them with their final purchase decision. Organic and Paid Search offer the marketing professional the opportunity to cover all the necessary real-estate on the SERP (Search Engine Results Page) and accompany both the B2C buyer and B2B Tech Buyer along their funnel, by providing them with useful content that can inform, educate and serve the purpose of their specific search query.

Two main tips making sure you cater for the needs of your buyers through search include:

  • Content…Content…Content! Answer the Search query (of your potential customer) with an original piece of content and Google will love you for it
  • SEO – understand the ‘why’ behind the potential buyer’s query and you will find those long tail keywords that guarantee the right exposure, relevance, and of course those much wanted conversions!

 



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