Executives Comment on Google's Hummingbird Algorithm: A Revolution for Which they are Prepared

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A recent overhaul of the Internet giant's algorithm have some web marketing insiders nervous. Companies like see the upside of the new algorithm nicknamed Hummingbird.

A Nationwide Criminal Defense Resource

We provide consumer education in a way that is the polar opposite of keyword stuffing and other black-hat SEO tactics...Hummingbird rewards our type of approach.

Michael Berg and Eric Bersano, co-founders of the California-based firm, and their law firm partners, are pleased with the latest development regarding Google's algorithm. Berg says, "We are a portal providing criminal defense information to criminal defense attorneys and people looking to hire them. Our approach has always been to supply high-quality content and to inform the public about local legal services using an organic approach. We were doing this even before the changes to the algorithm. We provide consumer education that is the polar opposite of keyword stuffing and other black-hat SEO tactics. We want users to quickly find practical legal information and gain access to high-quality defense lawyers. Hummingbird rewards our type of approach."

Bersano continues: "Hummingbird is a step closer to the ideal that Google is seeking: the semantic search." Semantic search is a term that refers to the use of massive amounts of data to respond ideally to a user's query. "A semantic search takes into account so much more than a keyword search can. In addition to keywords and other data points, it can use location and social media information about a user to provide answers to extremely complicated questions. Though semantic search is not yet ubiquitous, Hummingbird represents a massive shift in that direction. Geo-specific sites that provide answers to complex questions are well-positioned to effectively provide useful information to the public. Such sites may become increasingly important as we get closer to the ideal Google is pursuing." Thus, Bersano and Berg both argue, " is ideally positioned by simply doing what we have always done."

In an October 15 article in Wired, Jeremy Hull echoes Bersano when reflecting on Hummingbird: "Now Google is focusing on context and trying to understand user’s intent in order to deliver more relevant results and better answers. Google has made search more 'human friendly' by making Google better at understanding language and how people communicate" ("Google Hummingbird: Where no Search has Gone Before"). Rather than looking at words in isolation, Google is trying to create an algorithm that does what humans do: recognize context and respond accordingly. Highly-specific searches, very detailed questions, and city-specific queries are an essential part of this new era.

Because users are increasingly asking complex and specific questions when they perform searches, they have a higher expectation of high-quality answers. Google is encouraging these expectations. Frequently asked questions and the integration of questions into content have been and will continue to be beneficial Berg says, "and we provide those services on our sites." But, he adds, "another service we build into our sites are Question & Answer Forums."

"When a user visits, they can ask a question and get a response directly from an attorney. This can give them peace of mind if they are facing a legal challenge and, once their question is answered, it can be archived. This allows other people facing similar challenges to find specific answers provided by experienced lawyers." Berg says that a user may ask a wholly original question and they would get a response in the forum, but "we find that many people have similar specific legal questions. We allow them to find answers almost instantaneously because the forum is perpetual and searchable. This provides quick and high-quality responses: exactly what Hummingbird wants to encourage."

Complex questions have become more commonplace as users rely on voice searches and begin using Google Glass and other such devices. By speaking queries, users often ask more complex questions than they might have when typing. Bersano also says that "as more usable answers are provided more quickly and as people continue to have their highly-specific queries answered, this will continue to push their expectations. Users expect more from the Internet than ever before."

For companies like, meeting high expectations is exactly what they will continue to do by providing fast responses and high-quality information. Berg says, "for people trying to identify a criminal defense lawyer in their community, conviction or other serious consequences may be on the line. In such a scenario, finding what a user needs quickly may never be more important."

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