What Google’s Hummingbird Update Means For AWAI Copywriters

Google’s Hummingbird update is being called their most significant search advancement since 2001.

Unlike the other so-called “animal updates” – Panda, Penguin, Zebra – this isn’t just a tweak to a piece of the search equation. It’s been likened to taking out the whole engine driving search and replacing it.

What’s the point of this change? Google wants its search engine to be better able to handle what it refers to as “complex questions.” Basically, this means that instead of being good with search results for simple requests, like “dog groomers in Boston” it also wants to be good at handling natural human questions, like “Who is the most affordable dog groomer near my house?”

Google hopes Hummingbird will help users interact with its search tools in a way that feels more like having a normal conversation. In return for changing how users interact with it, Google is also promising better results – and more “anticipatory” answers. Since Hummingbird will be interpreting the meaning behind the question – and not just focusing on the words in the question – users will get what they’re looking for faster. Plus, by understanding the user’s intentions, Google hopes Hummingbird will be able to give not just the information being looked for right now, but also results that speak to what might be looked for next.

Some say this new anticipatory search will be creepy and invasive … but remember, Google rolled this update out over a month ago and it’s only now that the public is noticing … and only because they told us. So while the changes may be major behind the scenes, they’re very subtle for the end user.

What does this mean for copywriters? Well, in many ways, Hummingbird will make life easier for web writers and content writers. Individual keywords are being de-emphasized in favor of content that addresses the meaning behind a question. So great content written in a natural, conversational tone should do very well in the new search environment – and that’s the kind of content only a good copywriter can deliver.

To learn more about writing conversationally, check out the expert tips in this article, Nailing That All-Important Conversational Tone. Review the sections on writing style in AWAI’s Accelerated Program for Six-Figure Copywriting. And, of course, keep writing everyday, so that your own natural, conversational style develops – with Hummingbird, your clients are going to need this from you more than ever!

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Published: October 2, 2013

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