Linda Buquet

Local Search Expert
Jun 28, 2012
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How will Google Hummingbird affect Local SEO? Many ways I think. But I believe we are just beginning to see the analysis of the changes.

Can we get some Google Local love here?
<a href="" title="When Hummingbirds Fall in Love by id-iom, on Flickr"><img src="" width="500" height="199" alt="When Hummingbirds Fall in Love"></a>
Image credit: id-iom on Flickr

1st off, lets get it straight though. Lots of folks refer to this as an update. There is no such thing as a Hummingbird update. This is a totally brand new search algorithm!

I admit I have not had time to do any personal analysis, so I'm going to share thoughts from some smart people that have. But the general take-away I'm getting is that, instead of being keyword focused - with this algo you need to be more question and context focused.

I'm sure by now most of you have read Mike Blumenthal's excellent post. One of the things he focuses on is the local one-box problem I've been harping on Google about. So if you've already read Mike's post, please skip down to the others as there is a couple gold nuggets in each. (Although as always I have to admit I just skimmed, didn't read each one critically, so can't verify all opinions are correct.)

OMG!!! As I was just typing this a Hummingbird just stared in my window for the longest time.
I kid you not! It was WEIRD in a spooky/cool kind of way!
:eek: Anyway... Here are the links.

Hummingbird, Local Knowledge Graph & Shitty Search Results - Mike Blumenthal

Does Hummingbird affect local search results?

Are there any indications of a decline in local search results quality?

The answer, at least as far as I can tell, to both questions seems to be yes.

According to Danny Sullivan, Google started using this new algo “about a month ago”. Moz pegged the rollout at around August 20-22. For the most part this change went unoticed in both local and universal search results. But there was one big change in local that Linda Buquet has covered quite extensively that she first wrote about on August 24th. The timing and results, I think, are not coincidental.

Linda titled this one exactly right: Attack of the Bad Google Local One-Boxes!

Next up - More insights on the algo and Local results.

Google Hummingbird – Will Hummingbird Affect Your Local Website? | My Local Business Online

How will Hummingbird affect your local online presence?

Keywords are no longer the be all and end all of search. Google wants to try and understand the searcher’s intent. It’s now about context too.

Where are you?
What device are you using?
What have you previously searched for?

In his article From Keywords to Contexts: the New Query Model over on Moz, Tom Anthony says Google uses 57 other signals to work out context too. This can work wonderfully for local searches.

Powered by Search weighs in.

What Google's Hummingbird Means for Local SEO | Powered by Search

Hummingbird is going to change the face of local SEO dramatically for the better. Google users like to ask questions and expect a proper answer in their search results. Websites need to be optimized to answer those users questions, not just pick out related keywords. Implementing localized and long-tail content will continue to be the future of SEO. Google’s old Caffeine update is no longer in the picture and if you want to rank high for local SEO these days, Google will be focused on ranking sites better for relevance instead of indexing and crawling sites. If Google users are going to be asking questions, your site is going to have to deliver answers to those questions.

Courtney Engle's thoughts...

What Does Google Hummingbird Update Mean for Local Business Owners?

Keep calm and carry on. Think about the questions people ask Google verbally while on their mobile devices. Write content that will answer common questions. If you are a local business owner, occasionally using the town name in your title is helpful but don’t do it too much. SEO isn’t dead and your website traffic will correct course as you provide value to people.

? What do you think about Google Hummingbird?

? Are you seeing the impact on local rankings?

Please share if you spot any other good posts on the topic!

Linda Buquet

Local Search Expert
Jun 28, 2012
Reaction score
Another good Local Hummingbird article:

Gauging Hummingbird’s Impact on Local SEO | Street Fight

Hummingbird reflects a link that is a citation for its usefulness, so our response has to be how to create usefulness that will motivate people to like it, share it, and comment on it. Importantly, you have to be natural; don’t think you can look natural and get away with it over the long term. In fact, Google has statistical analysis that will uncover unnatural link patterns and penalize your website.

Evolution of local SEO and the importance of entities

“Entities,” as defined by the new semantic nomenclature, are the emerging driver. These are the relational mapping that uncovers the association between different local data points. Google takes structured data and puts it into a standard format (Carousel, Knowledge Graph, Search Results and Appended Data). Over time, first page ranking will not mean as much because there will be so many ways a local business will be able to gain visibility, especially with long tail. This does not mean the death of SEO, but it will get much harder. The key is to try and keep a sphere of influence in a niche though local data structure and social signals.
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