Published: 10/10/2013

Updated: 15/01/2024

Google’s Hummingbird Update

On 26th of September, Google announced its Hummingbird search algorithm update referred to as the largest algorithm update since 2001.  Presentation of the algorithm took place at a special event on Google’s 15th birthday held in the house where the original Google’s office was founded.  Although the change was officially declared two weeks ago, Google already started using the system several months before.  Hummingbird is said to affect 90 % of search results and process its database in a more efficient way than traditional search to provide the user with better results.

What is Hummingbird Search Algorithm? 

Last year Google introduced the Knowledge Graph the main goal of which is to recognize the concept of the search query and to understand the real intent of the search engine user rather than simply provide the results that match the search query keywords.  Hummingbird algorithm is an expansion of Google’s Keyword Graph and it is aimed at providing even more relevant results to the queries that may require more complicated answers.  Due to the growing number of conversational queries such as “Where can I get…?”, “What is the closest store…?, “How do I prepare…?”, etc. traditional keyword matching-based search is not always able to provide the user with the exact information that he is looking for.  Hummingbird algorithm is believed to solve this issue.  Here is one of the examples specifying Hummingbird’s effect on search results given during the presentation of the algorithm.  Consider that the query sounds the following way: “What’s the closest place to buy iPhone 5s to my home?”.  What Hummingbird does is that it may better understand what the actual location of user’s home is and that the user implies a specific store where he may get an iPhone under the word “place”.  Recognizing all of those nuances helps Google to go beyond that simple matching of the query keywords and process the information in a more efficient way.

What does Google’s Hummingbird Update mean for SEO?

Google representatives have stated that there is nothing that SEOs should worry about as the algorithm does not bring any significant change for SEO.  Google stated that high quality content and relevance are still the most significant factors to consider for SEOs in order to rank well on the search results page.   Hummingbird only processes information in a bit different way to provide the user with more relevant results.

Author: Ortwin Oberhauser

BSc Applied Computer Science
SEM / SEO & Conversion Optimization Geek

Founder of
Co Founder of International Film & Digital Solution Agency
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