Are you looking forward the day when you just speak a question into your mobile phone and be instantly rewarded with a relevant answer? You can get a taste of that now if you use the Chrome browser. Just click on the microphone icon on the search bar and ask a question. Your answer will appear on the screen.
Real conversational search is still some time in the future but it’s getting closer every day. Google rolled out the conversational search feature in Chrome earlier in the year but the recent Hummingbird update applied the concept to billions of new web pages.
One of the major features of this update is that it enables Google to more effectively parse complete questions as opposed to bunches of keywords. Hummingbird draws heavily on Google’s Knowledge Graph, its compendium of over half a billion concepts and the relationships between them.
Hummingbird and conversational search are not so much changes as reinventions. Satisfying the searcher has been made easier by enhanced synonym recognition, universal search and above all, contextual recognition. Essentially, Hummingbird was like an upgrade to a more precise and relevant algorithm that’s also faster and more versatile.
This major algorithm shift has profound implications for all of us who work in Australian SEO. It marks a move away from matching keyword towards matching concepts.
All this means which should be thinking less about individual keywords and more about building content and sites which actually respond to visitor’s needs.
How to Handle Google’s Brave New World
At the heart of pleasing Google is publishing quality content that’s genuinely useful to searchers. Your content should be easy to read and grammatically sound. Your site should be logically structured to permit easy navigation through categories and concepts.
Meanwhile keyword research should be about understanding searcher motivation and thinking of ways to craft content that’s genuinely helpful.
It all that sounds to you like plain old common sense, you’d be right. It’s just more important than ever nowadays. You can’t rely on ‘link building’ any more. Nowadays you need visitor engagement and social love, both of which have to be earned.
Toujours La Meme Chose
The essential point to take away from Hummingbird is that nothing has essentially changed. What Google wants has been constant since day one – providing searchers with relevant results to their queries. What has changed is the increasing sophistication of the way they do it, and the indefatigable way they’ll punish those who try to game the system.
If you want a glimpse of the shape of things to come, just bear in mind that earlier this year Google’s Head of Search Rankings, Amit Singhal announced that Google’s goal was to ‘create the computer from Star Trek’. Now that’s something worth waiting for.