Danny Sullivan Shares What He Has Learned About Hummingbird


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Some of the discussions in this Hangout on Air event were just priceless. It took place at 4 PM ET yesterday, and Danny shares some fantastic stuff on Hummingbird, social signals in search, and more. The following link will take you to my post on Google Plus about the event, and this contains the full video.

One part that I want to highlight in this post is the discussion on Hummingbird. Here is a short 4 minute and 10 second video extraction from the full show.

Hummingbird in a Nutshell

Danny gives us a great explanation of the 3 components of Google’s search service. Basically, this consists of 3 major components:

Hummingbird is a search engine rewrite

As it says, hummingbird was a rewrite of the search engine. Part of this was to enable Google to better understand “entities” within the context of web search. Google has had this as part of Knowledge Graph type queries for a while. This is also the reason that Google has had some capabilities in dealing with natural language queries for the Knowledge Graph, but now with Hummingbird update, that ability to understand natural language queries has been extended to the rest of the search engine as well.

The following chart represents my speculation as to how this may work:

Inside the Query Translator

What we do know for sure is that Google is able to better understand a number of scenarios, such as references to entities, comparisons, query sequences, and the like, much better than they have in the past. As Danny says in the video, Google now understands “Tom Brady” as a person, as opposed to seeing that as 2 words “Tom” and “Brady”. Who knows, this update may even begin to enable some use of AuthorRank.

But this is only part of the story. Hummingbird encompasses a lot more than just bringing natural language search and entity recognition into the search engine. According to Danny, it also lets them do a better job of bringing in new typs of signals such as social signals.

We discuss this at length in the full video, including the importance of leveraging social signals as a ranking factor. While I still see these as being treated differently than a web based link, I agree that use of these signals is something that is very important for Google to start doing.

As always, it is far easier for us to say they should use them than it is for them to figure out how to use them properly.

Lastly, it is important to recognize that there is likely to be much more in here than we now so far. As a result of the search engine it may well incorporate many new types of components that we are completely unaware of. When will we learn about these? Only time will tell.

You can see the full video of Danny Sullivan on The Digital Marketing Excellence Show here:

The Digital Marketing Excellence Show is airs every Thursday. To get notified about upcoming shows, please follow me on Google Plus.

Thanks to Scott Scowcroft for creating the above HOA nugget (aka “The Scott Treatment”), and Ronnie Bincer for his advice on all things HOA!

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Eric Enge
Eric Enge is a partner at Stone Temple Consulting (STC), which has been providing SEO Consulting services for over 5 years. STC has worked with a wide range of clients, ranging from small silicon valley start-ups, to Fortune 25 companies. Eric is also co-author of The Art of SEO book.


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