A hummingbird is a very amazing creature. Did you know that hummingbirds are the smallest of the bird family yet they are amazingly fast and quick? In some cases their wings can reach 100 beats per second. That’s pretty quick for such a little bird. So when Google decides to make a major algorithm change, what do they use for a code name? Hummingbird of course… The name was most likely associated with the fact that Google is looking to help users find their information quicker when they perform a search on Google. What’s all the fuss about hummingbirds?

What is Google Hummingbird?

Google Hummingbird, officially announced on September 26th, 2013, is basically a rewriting of Google’s Algorithm and focuses on Google’s interpretation of the answer that a user is looking for when they perform a query. The predecessor to Hummingbird was Google Caffeine in 2009/2010 which was more of an attempt to better crawl and index content.

With the Hummingbird algorithm update, Google is more focused on “ranking” sites better for relevance. Hummingbird is more about Google’s interpretation of the answer that a user is looking for when they perform a query. This interpretation is based on the information Google has around that query, personalized search activity, and search history.

Hummingbird is about Google trying to produce a more intelligent search engine.

According to Google, each word in a query will receive attention with Hummingbird. This falls in line with data presented in recent years suggesting that the largest increase in search queries is for more complex, 8 or more word queries. (Read: People are becoming more savvy searchers or have a lot of questions). So it stands to reason that with increasingly complicated searches, Google’s results should be more relevant to the user’s query right? A smarter search engine is required.

Google is stating that the Hummingbird algorithm is much more intelligent than previous algorithms. It is able to answer questions, filter the answers and even present comparison data with but a glance. The algorithm is meant to provide the searcher with highly relevant results quicker than before.

Two Main Changes with Google Hummingbird

  • Move to semantic/conversational search results – instead of traditional keyword searches, Hummingbird uses conversational searches to deliver search results that are more on point with what users are looking for.
  • More Focus on Complex Queries / Mobile search – with more and more people using mobile phones and mobile search, Google is attempting to better understand and anticipate the answers to what people are seeking on their mobile devices. According to Google, “Google will keep reinventing itself to give you all you need for a simple and intuitive experience. At some point, pulling out a smartphone to do a search will feel as archaic as a dial-up modem.” Android anyone?


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