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17 January 2014 Adam Smith

Three tips on adapting to Google Hummingbird

Before Christmas, Google rolled out its Hummingbird algorithm, catching SEO experts and the content marketing industry off-guard and silently revolutionising search results.

While it is easy to dismiss these changes and simply carry on writing blogs, news and features in the way they are structured today, businesses that want to maintain their presence on Google need to act quickly, or their websites will become rotten peanuts at a time when Hummingbird is only eating FRESH.


It’s easy for marketing specialists to be overburdened with client prorities and, often, this means that their own plans fall by the wayside.

Quickly, original, colourful, engaging news posts turn into recycled rewrites of press releases, lacking the quality that Google now strives for with Hummingbird.

Thanks to this new algorithm, the search engine is more astute than ever before, spotting keyword and link-heavy, recycled content and making sure it is nowhere to be seen on the search engine.

With this in mind, businesses need to ensure they provide original content, rather than regurgitating pre-existing articles.

2. The bigger, the better

Back in 2010, Google’s search algorithm was far less sophisticated than it is today.  The major emphasis was on keywords, meaning businesses could get away with filling their content with keyword phrases to be found in the search results.

As a result, the top results in Google were not necessarily the best, with many companies inserting keywords even if they did not make any sense.  Articles were often short, ranging from 150 to 300 words.

This has now all changed. Hummingbird is a grown-up, mature version of Google and it has high demands. Articles heavy with keywords and under 300 words are now being ignored in favour of thought leadership pieces, blogs and features spanning 500 words or more.

3. Get by with a little help from your friends

It’s safe to say content marketing was not the original subject matter tackled by Joe Cocker in his 1967 hit, but modern content marketers are relying on their friends to boost their search rankings more than ever before.

Hummingbird is more likely to include content high up in Google if it is shared on different websites and platforms.

Therefore, while a retweet from your graphic designer friend in London may not seem like much, it could contribute greatly to the positioning of your online presence.