Hummingbird is the last Google algorithm that was launched in August 2013. The algorithm update was so discreet that no SEOs noticed of the change until Google’s announcement the next month. Web results were pretty much the same at the time and web masters didn’t see any heavy drop in ranking for their sites as it was the case for the Panda and Penguin algorithm updates.
photo credit: Steve Corey via photopin cc
The hummingbird is this little bird that we have seen in commercials and that is able to fly backwards. So, why has Google chosen this tiny bird instead of another heavy animal to represent the update? They wanted to represent the speed and accuracy of the tiny bird in action and their search results.
What does the Google Hummingbird update do?
The Hummingbird algorithm is a step forward in voice search technology, also called“conversational search”. You may have noticed if you use the Google Chrome browser that there is a little microphone icon that you can activate to tell orally what you are searching for.
If you are not using this new feature on the browser and type your query in the search window,Google is able to understand your question better and provide a more accurate answer using theirHummingbird algorithm combined with all the others in place.
If you type a question like “What is the highest mountain in the US?” you will be served a set of results that Google believes is accurate. In the image below you can see the first results being detailed answers with images followed by Wikipedia.
Then there are the other results and what you can see is that the long tail keyword “highest mountain in the US” is not what is shown first. There is “Highest mountain” & “United States”,“tallest mountain in the United States” or “highest peak”.
Google understands now that “highest mountain” is the same as “tallest mountain” and “highest peak”; and that “US” is the same as “USA” or “United States”. Google is able now to understand the meaning of the search and serve results based on the meaning and not on the keywords.
This is quite a good thing for web searchers, but another headache for web publishers and SEOs.
I hope you enjoyed this post about the Google’s Hummingbird update.
Want to know more? Read this excellent article:
Google Hummingbird: Where No Search Has Gone Before by Jeremy Hull.
Have a nice day.