The Dirty Little Guide to Optimizing Your Blog for Google Hummingbird

Google has dropped its age old Core Search Algorithm and replaced it with a brand new version called “Google Hummingbird.”

But have you optimized your website or blog for this new algo? Have you changed your content marketing strategy for higher ranking of your blog posts in Google SERPs?

Even though you think your answer is “Yes,” most probably, you are “Not.” The reasons – you are not clear:

1. What is Google Hummingbird?

2. Why Google introduced it?

3. How to optimize your blog or blog posts with this new Google Hummingbird algorithm?

Continue reading… to know in-depth about Google Hummingbird, and a simple yet effective SEO strategy to optimize your blog for this algorithm.

Google Hummingbird

Understanding Google Hummingbird

Google uses a set of search engine algorithms to index, analyze and rank web-content semantically to provide the best possible results to web-searchers.

Using these computer driven algorithms they index billions of web-pages and store them in large servers located in different parts of the world. Then analyze searcher’s query using semantic search technology. Finally, ranks different web-pages using various ranking signals. Google uses more than 200 search engine ranking signals to return the best possible results to searchers. So, indexing, analyzing and ranking are the three basic jobs of Google Search Engine.

Google Hummingbird is Google’s new Core Search Engine Algorithm to meet the search behavior of modern people, and to be the best answering engine in the world.

Query Rewriting: Back in year 2003, Google had filed a patent for query rewriting which was passed in 2011. Query rewriting is the technique to incorporate conversational search in Google.

It means – rephrasing searcher’s query implementing semantically available data to understand the actual meaning or intent. The data may be like place, device used, search history, synonyms of keywords used, and various information shared with Google by the searcher. And Google Hummingbird is better positioned to handle the query rewriting than its older counterpart.

Why Google is thinking about “Query Rewriting” now?

The change needed to be done, because people have become so reliant on Google that they now routinely enter lengthy questions into the search box instead of just a few words related to specific topics.

Amit Singhal, the head of Google’s core ranking team.

The statement speaks lot of things. It means – searchers are using long-tail queries instead of few head-terms. They usually enter their search keywords in the form of questions. That means conversational search is on rise. And most of the conversational or voice search comes from mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. To better understand the conversational search Google implemented query rewriting, and to better handle query rewriting Google Hummingbird is the right set of algorithm.

Entity Search: To return the best possible results to searchers Google has been constantly shifting its focus from few ranking signals like keywords, links and link anchor-texts. And focusing more and more on entity search or meaning search.

The reason- You can manipulate keywords, you can manipulate links and link anchor-texts, but you can’t manipulate the meaning or the theme of the web-page or article. So, Google uses query rewriting to understand the actual intent or meaning behind the search query and try to find and rank relevant web-content which actually fulfills the searcher’s needs.

In the context of search, entity means – people, places or things. Google has stored millions of structured data which are verified and validated in its knowledge graph. These data act as entity, or people, places or things. Semantic search technique uses various data like place of the searcher, device used for the search purpose, search history and behavior of the searcher and various other information shared with Google by the searcher.

By leveraging its vast knowledge graph along with semantically available data about the searcher, Google perform entity search or meaning search with the help of query rewriting. Entity search doesn’t mean Google only looks for a specific entity in their knowledge graph or in the web. It actually tries to establish a relation between the entities in the search query and find the searcher’s intent or actual needs.

For example: Suppose you do a Google search for “I want to buy an iPhone.”

“I” is an entity. “An iPhone” is an entity. And “want to buy” combines or links the other two entities to establish a meaning or intent.

Data shows – number of searches from mobile devices will surpass search performed from desktops by the end of 2014. Voice search or conversational search is gaining pace rapidly. And Google Hummingbird is the best search engine algorithm to understand meaning or intent of the searchers.

Authorship Rank: There has been lot of chatter about Google Authorship Rank since last one year or so. When you implement your authorship mark-up to a piece of content in the web, Google attributes you as the creator of the content or author of the content.

Authorship Rank acts like a double edged sword. When you create some really great content which people like to bookmark, share with their friends (via social media) and revisit again and again, then you become an authoritative publisher in the eyes of Google. That means your Authorship Rank goes up and Google ranks your content higher in search results. The opposite thing happens when you create low quality web-content or articles which don’t fulfill searchers needs.

Always keep in mind – You’ve implemented your Authorship Markup means you’re sending all possible data to Google as an author or creator of your content. Web-content with authorship markup not only get higher CTR, but also ranks high in search results. Google+ and Google Hummingbird combinedly helps Google to use Authorship Rank as a ranking signal.

Matt Cutts, the head of Google’s web-spam team hopes Authorship Rank will be explored by Google in near future. Check out the video here.

Social Signal: Before the release of Google Hummingbird, time and again, Google has said that they are not using social signals like Facebook likes, Tweets and G+ in their ranking algorithms. Matt Cutts, the head of Google’s web-spam team has personally cleared this fact at various meetings and conferences.

One argument is “Correlation doesn’t mean causation.” If a web-page is ranking high and has 100s of Facebook shares, re-tweets and Google +s; this doesn’t always mean the page is ranking because of high number of social sharing (or social sharing by influencers). It might be that more number of people found the page helpful and shared in the social media. The page may have other strong search engine ranking signals for which it ranked higher.

For example: This year there was heavy rain and maximum people were wearing Yellow rain coats. You can’t simply correlate Yellow rain coats with heavy rain. You can’t tell – there was heavy rain because maximum people were wearing Yellow rain coats.

Why Google is not using social signal for content ranking? Not because Google doesn’t like social signal; because it had technical limitations to use social signals as a ranking factor.

With Google Hummingbird Google can process social signals in a more efficient way. And in near future you will start seeing Google Plus impacting search results. So also the likes, tweets and stumbles.

  • Google Hummingbird is a platform for Google to incorporate existing algorithms like Panda, Penguin etc. and also the advanced algos to be developed in the future.

Google Hummingbird Takeaways (Act Now)

1. Keywords: Craft your content or web-pages around a theme or concept, instead of keywords. By encrypting all searches (https://) or making “keyword not provided” 100%, Google has cleared its intention. Google has gone beyond keywords.

It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t put keywords in your content which your target audience are actively searching for. But your content should answer some specific queries of your visitors or searchers.

2. Long-tail Keywords: Did Google Hummingbird kill long-tail keywords?

No. Google Hummingbird acts at query level and makes long search keywords used by searchers in to short by query rewriting. It doesn’t affect the long-tail keywords in your content while ranking. You should construct quality and meaningful content keeping long-tail keywords in mind.

3. Links: Did Google Hummingbird kill links and link anchor-texts?

No. Although the value of links and anchor-texts as a ranking signal has reduced a bit, but it will be here for long time. Page Rank (PR) still flows via links, and Google doesn’t want you solely depend on links for better ranking of your content.

4. Mobile Optimization: Your website or blog theme should be optimized for all types of mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. Basically, it should be responsive and fast loading.

If your website doesn’t offer a better mobile user experience, your rankings will drop in desktop search also, along with mobile devices.

5. Panda & Penguin: Where are Google Panda and Penguin?

Algorithms like Panda, Penguin, Top-heavy, EMD etc. which are filters or algorithmic penalties are parts of Google Hummingbird. Algorithms which will be developed in future to catch spammers or to rank web-content higher will also be parts of Google Hummingbird.

6. Author Rank: As of now Google has not declared about it officially. But be prepared for it. By introducing Google+, Google Hummingbird and Authorship Mark-up Google has made its intention clear.

Everything you create on the web, whether on your own blog or on others blog will be attributable by Google towards Authorship Rank. Spammy authors will be equally punished by reducing their AR.

7. Data Validation: Google thinks its Knowledge Graph and Wikipedia (to some extent) always provide correct facts and figures. If your article doesn’t resemble their data then it will be ranked lower. On the other hand, if you contribute Google’s Knowledge Graph by providing high quality and authentic data on your web-page, then Google will rank your content higher.

8. Social Signal: Google Plus will play a major role in coming days by providing social signals to Google for ranking content. Your brand or website should have its own Google+ page. And if you perform better, may be in future, your brand will be a part of Knowledge Graph.

Decreasing authority (sequence) of social signals will be like Google+, Twitter, Facebook etc.

9. Advanced Link Analysis: Google Hummingbird is going to fulfill Google’s long cherished wish of analyzing different kinds of links for assigning different values. Now also Google is doing it. But it will be more sophisticated in coming days.

The value of a link on the sidebar, on the footer, within the article and inside the author-box will be calculated with more accuracy.

10. User Experience: Time spent, CTR and user interaction with the web-page will be more important for ranking content with Google Hummingbird. Along with quality content, focus on your website or blog theme like navigation, readability, contrast etc. for better user experience.

Dear friends. Greetings from Google Hummingbird! ;)

Because you love to create content and always adopt White Hat SEO Techniques. With the introduction of Google Hummingbird there will be no place for spammers in the future. Bloggers and content marketers with good intention will be rewarded highly for their hard work.

This is Akash KB, signing-out from, till next post Happy Blogging :)

Don’t forget to shoot your comments (questions), I’ll be right here to answer them ;)

47 thoughts on “The Dirty Little Guide to Optimizing Your Blog for Google Hummingbird”

  1. Unfortunately, my site was affected by this Google Bird. There is one page in my site that drives most of my traffic which is affected the most. From page 1 #3 SERP to nowhere. Glad i found this post about the Hummingbird update. :) This post really did cleared things up, i appreciate how it was delivered properly. Will apply this tips and see how fast it will recover. Thank you AKASH.

  2. Great post Akash. I’ve been desiring to know all about the new Google Hummingbird update and this post really cleared out all my doubts. I think social signals are very much important to get higher ranks after the coming of the Hummingbird update.

  3. All those people who look for to the point information, here is the perfect guide for them which is all about optimizing a blog according to Google Hummingbird algorithm update. In 2014, where everyone is considering content as key to success, the backlinks on relevant websites boost your website ranking quickly. This little guide is providing good solution for misconception about Hummingbird.

  4. Great post! Thanks for sharing good post. Very nice and deep post about Google Hummingbird. As of now, I have already applied for Google Authorship for my blog which will help to rank better in search engines. I am already following some of you tips for getting better rank in search engines. I have learned many things from your post.

  5. Unless and until a blogger is actively involved in “Video Blogging,” I don’t think YouTube comments are helpful for ranking. For info: YouTube comments help better engagement, leading to increased time spent and more number views/re-visits which help for higher ranking.

  6. Thanks for sharing this ! This is very detailed post on new hummingbird updates with a clear action plan on how to best prepare your site for the changes to come.. I’ve already applied for Google Authorship and got it but still having a hard time with Getting Google PageRank eventhough Alexa rank on my site says its under 100k in the world now.

  7. A detailed post, thank you. I’ve ready plenty of analysis recently – obviously the need to be on Google+ is now enormously high. Get yourself on there and sign up in full detail if you’re not.

    The big YouTube comments overhaul has annoyed millions, but it’s not a plus for businesses.

  8. Thanks for the great article! Now I understand Hummingbird better. It’s specially useful to know about Google+ and authorship so that we can start getting ahead of the rest :)

    1. Yes, G+ and Authorship Rank will play great role in future. So, be prepared for tomorrow to reap the rich benefits day-after-tomorrow.

      Thanks for adding your thoughts :)

  9. That was a very well explained and useful article. You really made it simple to understand. Though, there were few things which didn’t get in my head but still, I know what steps I need to take for my blog now.
    @ABT you guys are really going to make me fail in my final exams. I am spending more time in reading your posts than studying for my exam.

    1. Hi Manpreet,

      Ammar Ali has really made ABT a ROCKING BLOG :) Keep reading ABT as well as your text books.

      Wish you all the best for your exam as well as your blogging career :)

  10. My blog is attacked my Hummingbird update.

    From my experience: “How Hummingbird kills my blog?”

    From last few month I am getting regular constant visitors on my site and I am not updating my site or never build some quality links. It’s because of my laziness. Lastly Google Animal attacks my blog.

    From this update they hit the blogs who are not updated from last few days or not having quality links from high ranked sites.

    Thanks for sharing valuable information of Google Humming Bird.

  11. Akash great tips you’ve shared.
    I was talking to Adam Conell about Mark Trapegan tips he shared on how to leverage google plus inorder to draw huge traffic to your site and am once again here to confirm the importance of social signal as part of Seo.

    Thanks for sharing this awesome post

  12. Hello Akash,

    It’s really great to see you here, the post is indeed informative and wonderful. The main thing is we must produce quality content to get rid of these updates. Secondly i must say mobile optimization is also important as we can see lot of visitors coming from mobile browsers.

    Thanks for the tips

  13. Hi Akash sir;
    These tips are really very very great. I agree with you today’s Google plus is very very important for seo. I found very useful information about Hummingbird here. from stating I use long tail keywords. I hope these tips will be very useful for me
    Thanks dear for sharing such nice post here.

  14. Thanks, Akash ! That was by far the most informative (and understandable) infographic I’ve seen about Hummingbird so far! Thanks for sharing!
    Glad to know the third point about getting mentioned alongside competitors playing a good role in Hummingbird update.
    I mostly liked your pointers on using synonyms in keyword search. It’s just one way to show how Hummingbird is expanding our understanding of search as we (used to) know it.

  15. This was a very helpful and detailed article! Thank you for sharing it. I would definitely try to incorporate the tips you said in my coming articles. Though, do you think I should change something in my old articles as well, so that I get proper Humming Bird Protection?

    1. Hi Aneesh :)

      Restructuring your entire article bank is not advisable. But you can consider few of your blog posts which get maximum traffic from search engines, and then add the latest information/development possible to keep them up-to-date. This way they will retain their higher rank in search engines.

  16. Well this is a very important, useful and nicely written article which includes everything which has to be in there, this happens very less when we get information about Google updates in that much detail, this really gonna help me to make my blog secure, hope same for others :)

  17. Great Post Akash,

    Nice info. Post is really informative and deep. Google hummingbird update is big change in Google’s core algorithm and it mainly focuses on semantic based results. If you type the query like Blackberries VS Raspberries you get the more semantic result from Google hummingbird update..

    Nikhil :)

    1. Hi Nikhil,

      Thanks for the great example. Just search for “Blackberries VS Raspberries” and compare the results of today and results Google was showing just a couple of years back. Google is really leveraging semantic search technology to its fullest potential.

      Cheers :)

  18. I have a doubt are the only new websites are getting hit by a hummingbird? Because one of my sites got a major drop in traffic and rank and one of my old website is still intact. Now if I talk about SEO than new one has more quality backlinks but traffic is low and the old one has fewer backlinks but traffic above 5000. What is the reason?

    1. Check for the DA (Domain Authority) of your old site compared to the new one. Higher DA means Google has more trust on your site, and rank your content higher in search results.

      As per Google’s Official announcement “Hummingbird has affected 90% of the search results.” The next question you can ask – Then why there is no noticeable affect in Google search results?

      The answer is – 1stly, Hummingbird is not a penalty like Panda or Penguin. It’s just the Core Algorithm Of Google for the purpose of query analysis and ranking of web-pages in search results. 2ndly, the effect of Hummingbird is quite subtle initially. The effect or changes will be felt in long-term when Google will add more and more supporting algorithms to it. It was evident from the fact that there was not a single complaint either from Google users or from the SEO fraternity even after it was released 1 month before the day of Official announcement.

  19. Just wonderful !

    Don’t have words to describe the beauty of this article, each and everything just perfectly elaborated :), will surely level up the newbies

    Thanks for sharing!

  20. Hello Akash,

    Very nice and deep post about Google Hummingbird. As of now, I have already applied for Google Authorship for my blog which will help to rank better in search engines. I am already following some of you tips for getting better rank in search engines. I have learned many things from your post. I will wait for your next sign in….

    1. Hi Himanshu,

      You can kill 3 birds with your Authorship Mark-up like – “Authority, increase CTR and Author Rank.” So, don’t explore it; just exploit it :)

  21. Your writing Skills match with Darren Rowse of probloggertips. You also write like him…Introduction of post, Short summary and then enticing users to read your post completely. Now to the topic I think that social signal will be of importance specially google plus. First it is a Google product and second is they want to accelerate and the results are in front of people. Most of your and my posts are on the first page of google just because they got more plus one’s apart from Rich content. Great post Dear. You have a great future like Darren Rowse.

    1. Rohan, thanks for the kind words :) I always try to present information in an easy to digest manner. Glad you find it informative.

      Regarding the social signal, specially the G+, you’re very correct. It will play a major role as a ranking signal in future.

      Happy blogging :)

  22. Nice job. I have some work to do. One area that I’m lacking specifically is with Google +. It is stupid that I neglect the company that I’m trying to impress to rank me higher on the search, but I can’t wrap my head around it for some reason. Guess I just have to suck it up because if they do roll forward with the AR, I may be screwed.



    1. Hi Josh,

      It’s like this: Authorship Mark-up + Google+ (for authentication) + Hummingbird = Author Rank Implementation. It’s wise to be active on Google+ to reap the rich rewards in the future :)

  23. Wow Thanks for said details about Google Hummingbird algorithmic . I have some questions today :D In this algorithmic have allowed to make backlinks with Social Bookmarking? or Can you tell us How to Make high quality backlinks ? I hope I will get these Questions Answers. And I am very happy to see 4 (Mobile Optimization) no point. I think that, Every bloggers should Optimize their blog load speed and make mobile responsive theme.

    1. Hi Shaifur,

      1. Links from social media sites will be used for ranking signal, irrespective of social networking sites and social book marking sites. But G+, Facebook, Twitter & StumbleUpon will be the leaders.

      2. Link-bait articles, breaking a news, new discovery in your niche and making your blog authoritative are the best way to earn high quality backlinks.

      Look, how I’ve made a good quality link here (on ABT) – by guest blogging :)

      1. Akash KB Bro , Thanks for helping us. Really, These Tips will help me a lot to make backlinks. I hope We will get more tips from you like these.

  24. Hi Ammar,

    It’s an honor for me to contribute this blog post on ABT :) I’ve presented in a simplest way to understand the algo, so that bloggers and webmasters can optimize their sites for Google Hummingbird in the best possible way.

    Thanks Bro…

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