What is Google’s Hummingbird?

Google never runs out of new things to announce or launch. Fact is, Google’s dynamic character is the very reason for all the new things they are exploring and sharing with the million users. Google’s relentless quest for the best ways users can handle their searches remains to be the core motivation for Google’s forward thinking.

Hence, on the eve of Google’s 15th anniversary on September 27th Google took the opportunity to let the world know about its new search algorithm called Hummingbird. This, according to Google is one of the largest updates they have done in years. Hummingbird relates to a technology which Google refers to as Knowledge Graph. Hummingbird is designed to provide faster search query results as the algorithm is based on semantic search which focuses on user intent as against individual search items.

How Does Hummingbird Work?

Knowledge Graph, which is the technology Hummingbird relates to, is the start of Google’s efforts to go beyond the

use of simple and basic keywords and links to form the basis of what will appear on the search query results page.

Instead of just paying attention to specific words in a query, the attention is shifted to each word in a query, taking into consideration the whole keyword phrases’ overall meaning. With Google’s Hummingbird, Google has mapped the relationship between various things and will use that knowledge to answer more complex queries.

For many SEOs, Hummingbird may have a different impact. With more than a month since the initial roll-out (which is earlier than

the official announcement), SEOs have noted some important observations which form the basis for their individual opinions, which include:

From Google Semantic Search

For David Amerland – author of GSS and a search engine expert, Hummingbird is the expansion of Google’s semantic capability which is evident at the search interface level that reveals:

  1. Increased ability to deal with complex search queries. This means Google has improved its indexing entities in Web documents.
  2. Improved capability at relationally linking search queries and Web documents. This means that Google’s Knowledge Graph must have been incredibly enriched and enhanced.

According to D. Amerland, Hummingbird will benefit SEO practices as it opens the horizon for companies and webmasters in terms of strategy. From a practical point of view, Hummingbird will require the identification of a business’ USP and become authoritative within it as a key component for SEO success. He also noted the importance of content (as usual) as shared across social networks through identified influencers. And this requires time – to build a relationship with influencers and share content with them that is valuable to the influencers’ network. In other words, this cannot happen overnight or at a drop of a hat.

From LEAP

LEAP’s vice president of marketing and media, Christy Belden is in agreement with Amerland on the issue of Hummingbird’s focus on semantic search that will continue to drive SEO in the right direction. Google has been playing with the idea of semantic language and understanding the meaning behind search for quite some time. With trends showing that more users search via mobile and voice, Hummingbird is a timely and sensible update. Belden said there is no need to make any drastic changes on what they are doing but will continue to create quality, shareable, linkable, compelling, engaging and quality content as it is the core piece of SEO strategy.

From Archology

The SEO consultant and president of Archology, Jenny Halasz is of the opinion that Google is focusing less and less on the keyword and more about the intention behind the query. Hummingbird employs many different ways to discover customer intent apart from just picking the keyword in the search query. Hummingbird would rid the industry of SEOs who have become so keyword-focused since it is more focused on customer engagement.

According to Google’s bigwigs, Hummingbird will try to transform the way people interact with Google - from the early days of the traditional empty search box and links to results, to the current conversational mode where intention is now the focus.

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