Digital Insights

How Will Hummingbird Impact Mobile Search?


Published: December 4, 2013

As SEO moves towards improving user experience and away from merely tracking hits and keywords, Google improves its algorithms to ensure that Google searchers obtain the most relevant results possible. With the introduction of Hummingbird, Google’s latest algorithm, much talk has occurred placing emphasis on how the algorithmic change will affect those browsing the web from a desktop or laptop. But during the release of Hummingbird, Google discussed mobile search quite extensively, as well. While it’s still too soon to tell how the algorithm has actually impacted mobile search, there are certain inclusions in the algorithm that were specifically designed to improve mobile search.

Touch Optimization
If you’ve ever tried to navigate a website from your mobile device that wasn’t optimized for mobile, you know how frustrating it can be. Since over half of searches are done from a mobile device, Google’s new algorithm is optimized for mobile search in part through the introduction of touch optimization. Essentially, touch optimization means that mobile versions of a website are laid out in such a way that accessing the site’s information via touch screen is clean, simple,and efficient. For the website owner, this means it is even more critical to ensure a mobile optimized version of your website is active.

Optimized For Voice Search
Another aspect of Google’s Hummingbird algorithm is that it is optimized for voice search. Voice search is becoming more and more popular, but it is, understandably, a mostly mobile search option. Keywords should now be geared towards natural speech. In other words, instead of having “florists California” you should have keywords that read “florists in California”, because most people would say “Find florists in California,” before they would choose to say “Find florists California.”

Social Media is King?
Social media is becoming more and more important in the realm of websites and online marketing. If your website is not actively engaging your users, inviting them to share and like, providing spaces for comments, and encouraging interactivity, you’re not going to experience the success you’d like, particularly now that Hummingbird is active. While this algorithmic shift affects all aspects of website design and search, it has a particular impact on mobile search, since most social media interaction takes place on mobile devices.

Points to Remember
When it comes to creating a version of your website that is going to be attractive to search engines, it’s important to remember that search engines are, in some ways, becoming more and more like people. And this shift is actually helpful for website owners, because it’s becoming less of a requirement that you speak robot as well as whatever language your site happens to be in. Always read your content out loud. If it sounds strange or unnatural, the search engines will think so, too. Make sure you have content that is informative, engaging, and helpful to your user. Avoid overly “salesy” language, and make sure you have plenty of videos, pictures, social media links, and ways for your user to interact with your site.