How is the Hummingbird Update empowering Local SEO?


Google has one main goal: to offer better and faster results for your search. This is the reason why the company makes regular algorithm updates like the Venice update launched in February 2012. It has a positive impact on short-tail keyword search results with a medium a high Local SEO competition level.

Because for the keywords containing more than 2 words, the competition level is usually low, the results were not affected by the Venice update for long tail keywords searches.


Main benefits on being listed on top Google SERPs for Long-Tail searches are:

  • better targeting audiences
  • higher conversion rate

and the only available solution to rank higher on Google was to use a generic SEO strategy:

  • backlink and keyword+location as anchortext


Few months ago, all this changed when Google released the Hummingbird update. And don’t take it lightly as this one has a great impact on Local Results. More and more long-tail keyword searches are generating different results depending on the location of the user running the search query.

Let’s take several examples:

keyword: “where to eat Chinese food?” 

Chinese Food

keyword: Where can I wash my car?”

Car Wash

keyword: “best pizza delivery services in the area”

Pizza Delivery

the last example is triggering the local carousel because the semantic search has a high Local SEO competition level.

As you can see in the heatmaps above the search results are different for the same long-tail keyword depending on the user location. At this time, the accuracy of the search results is much higher than any time before and the users get a whole new experience and more satisfactory results when they are searching for long-tail keywords.


Google is no longer doing a word by word sweep of the long-tail searches. After the Hummingbird update, the engine has evolved and it can “read” the user’s query, even for those long-tail searches. So by identifying the location of the user running the search query and the need that it expresses, Google can pinpoint the best results in the user’s area of interest.

This is the future of the web search, the next step and whoever wants to move further and stay on the market has to understand that this will be possible by having Local SEO approach.