What is Google Hummingbird?


In September 2013, Google announced the latest revision to their search engine algorithm. This was codenamed ‘Hummingbird’, following in the footsteps of other animal based algorithm changes like ‘Panda’ and ‘Penguin’.


Thanks to Acrylic Artist on Flickr for the image!

The algorithm that Google uses to rank and rate the huge amount of data it indexes is so important to any website. We know most customers are buying their domain names in order to create their own websites. That’s why this blog is chock full of useful SEO advice! Nobody can ignore it; it can difficult to drive lots of traffic to a site without a little helping hand from a search engine.

But we also know that the vast majority of you use Google for it’s primary purpose … finding information!

As always in the SEO world, a few had seen changes in rankings and the hype about a big Google update began. Not much later, on the 26th September 2013 Google made the change official as part of their 15 year anniversary celebrations.

“Remember what it was like to search in 1998? …
The world has changed so much since then: billions of people have come online, the web has grown exponentially, and now you can ask any question on the powerful little device in your pocket. You can explore the world with the Knowledge Graph, ask questions aloud with voice search, and get info before you even need to ask with Google Now.
But 15 years on, we’re just getting started. We want to help you make more of each day.”

They then go on to explain the main new features for users in this latest update. Namely:

  • Comparisons and filters in the Knowledge Graph
  • Get things done with Google across your devices
  • A simpler, more unified design on mobile devices

But after you’ve got all the technical stuff out of the way what does Hummingbird actually do?

The biggest change is in the way that Google interprets information; especially in relation to the way it interprets a user’s query and what that query actually means!

This is all to do with ‘Conversational Search’.

That’s the difference between searching “domain names” or “Where do I buy a domain name?”.

Users are increasingly ‘talking’ to search engines rather than entering keywords. This generally provides more accurate results to answer the question they need the answer to, rather than general information on the topic.

With the rise of Voice Search, now becoming available on desktop as well as on your mobile devices, this is going to become a more and more common way to search. Literally asking your device the question that you need the answer to!

All very impressive and futuristic to be honest!

I’ve been trying it out on Google Chrome on desktop and on my Android phone with Google Now in particular; and I have to say … I’m pretty impressed!

I can set up meetings, search for the latest blogs, open applications, set reminders for later or find out when my train leaves just by asking!

In terms of SEO, the guidelines haven’t really changed from before the update.

Make sure your content is really high quality and that you’re creating content which answers your users questions! If you’re providing value to users you’re also providing value to search engines!

Thinks like implementing Schema microdata will help, as it can give search engines a better understanding of what your content relates to and improve your appearance in the knowledge graph.

This is an update for the users plain and simple. I don’t think anyone can argue with that! As someone who uses Google hundreds of times a day I’m always happy to see improvements in the accuracy of results I see!

What about you Monsters?

Do you think that this could improve your searching experience?

Let us know in the comments!

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Author: Sam

Community Evangelist at Helping to create a positive brand identity and increase product awareness online through social media. Giving our customers the chance to contact us in any way they feel comfortable.

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