Sep 02, 2015

What Does Hummingbird Have to Do with Law Firms?

Google’s Hummingbird algorithm, which they started using near the end of 2013, rearranged the way that the search engine delivered results.
As an attorney, you want to attract Hummingbird. It’s good for your site – provided your site has what it wants.

So what does Google’s Hummingbird want from your website?

What Hummingbird Has to Do with Law Firm SEO Hummingbird changed the entire search landscape. Prior to its release, you could get all the wrong results from a search query. Back then, SEO professionals were stuffing keywords into every nook and cranny they could; that inevitably meant unpredictable results that may not ever lead searchers to an answer.

The new algorithm jostled the rankings, and sites that had been using the old method of over-optimizing webpages with keywords saw an immediate decline in traffic; sites that provided real value started to climb.

How Does Hummingbird Work?

Google’s Hummingbird algorithm combines the best technologies to help the Googlebot – the crawler that visits, indexes and ranks pages – understand what pages are about. These functions are called semantic search and latent semantic indexing, and they’re remarkably good at helping law firms with great content rise to the top.

According to Danny Sullivan, Hummingbird lets Google “combine meaning and predict how to match your query to the document in terms of what the query is really wanting and are the connections available in the documents – and not just random coincidence that could be the case in early search engines.”

How Can Law Firms Benefit from Hummingbird?

As long as you have well-rounded content on your site (and you’re not cannibalizing your keywords), you’ll be able to surpass your competitors when it comes to quality. If Google believes you have a quality page, they’ll deliver it to searchers long before they’ll dish up a thin, somewhat useless page.

Naturally, there are plenty of other factors that come into play, too – but you won’t get anywhere unless you start with improving user experience.

Google has repeatedly insisted that they want websites to focus on users, not search engines. (Matt Cutts even said that we should stop calling it “search engine optimization” and start calling it “search experience optimization.”)
One of the best ways to do that is to answer their questions by providing knowledgeable, valid and in-depth answers.

You really only have 3 to 5 seconds – 10 if you’re lucky – to convince users that you have the answer they need, that you’re trustworthy and that they can find the answer easily. If you can capitalize on those things, Hummingbird will help you get your firm’s site in front of all the right people.

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