Google’s goal is to bring users more relevant results quickly. Google AI is constantly analyzing how users are searching and the way searches are phrased might invoke a different result. As Google gets smarter, algorithms like Hummingbird and BERT are implemented to efficiently understand what users need.
Around August of 2013, Google introduced Hummingbird to its search engine. Google designed this brand new algorithm to better understand the searchers’ intent. Rather than focusing on each keyword on its own, Hummingbird was designed to look at long-tail keywords and understand queries as a whole. For example, with the old algorithm, if you searched, “Wrigley stadium hotel,” you might get information on hotels, but you would also get information about the stadium itself since Google was looking at each word on its own. With Hummingbird, Google now sees the phrase as a whole and knows that the user is looking for hotels near the stadium.
To optimize for this algorithm, giving your guests information on everything they might need is crucial. Provide Google with meaningful content about your local area or services someone visiting your area might be looking for. Give them vital information detailing your hotel’s features, such as if your hotel has a pool, the pool’s hours, or the parking policies and options. Google will pull that information when your guests are planning on parking their vehicle for their stay or if a family is planning their vacation with children.
Google is never finished perfecting their algorithms and is always looking to improve user experience and give people answers faster and more efficiently. This is where BERT, the next step in Google’s algorithm, comes into play. BERT or Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers was designed to give the search engine a more nuanced understanding of searcher’s intent. This update mostly affects longer tail queries or more specific searches, giving Google a better understanding of what a user might be looking for depending on the way the queries are phrased as well as the words within it.
You may be wondering how your hotel can optimize your website for this update. Since Google is trying to understand what people are looking for, when you are writing new website copy, you should do the same. Writing in-depth copy is the only way to optimize for BERT. Just like Featured Snippets you want to try to answer every question your guests might be looking for. For example, when sharing information about Adler Planetarium (a family-friendly destination in Chicago), it is wise to give your guests a bit of information about the special shows going on at the planetarium, directions from your hotel, hours of operation, and rates for tickets. When you can give concise details to answer all possible questions, your hotel’s site is more likely to rank for these specific questions.
As devices like Google Home and the Amazon Alexa grow in popularity, voice search will continue to become more important when writing copy for websites. If BERT is any indication of the future, Google will continue to favor the voice and syntax of how people are searching to give them the best results.
Hummingbird was our first look into how Google continues to improve user experience. With the creation of BERT this fall, it is clear that the future of search queries will only continue to advance. Through algorithm updates, Google looks to understand the tiny nuances of natural speech and how people form longer tail queries. Want help optimizing your hotel website for these Google updates? Contact Blue Magnet Interactive to work with our SEO team.