Google's Introduction of Hummingbird Makes Searching Easier

BLOG POST

BLOG POST
November 2013

Google’s new search algorithm, Hummingbird, is the latest advance in the evolution of Google search. It has been said to affect around 90% of searches, obtaining more accurate search results for users and solving some of the problems associated with Amit Singhal’s infrastructural change, Caffeine.

BLOG POST

Google’s Introduction of Hummingbird Makes Searching Easier

Google’s new search algorithm, Hummingbird, is the latest advance in the evolution of Google search. It has been said to affect around 90% of searches, obtaining more accurate search results for users and solving some of the problems associated with Amit Singhal’s infrastructural change, Caffeine.

Caffeine was created for users to obtain a richer pool of results quickly, by integrating social network results.  However, problems arose as the infrastructural change was unable to take into account context in terms of the keywords used. For example, when searching for a two word entity Google would search for each word individually without taking into account the meaning and context of the entire phrase. The results could then be irrelevant to the user.

 

hummingbird

 

How does Hummingbird differ from Caffeine? Granted, the only reason Hummingbird exists is because of the resulting effect of Caffeine. But, it should not be mistaken as an update. Hummingbird is an entirely new algorithmic change that was created to solve the searching problems faced by Caffeine and to target conversational queries.

Hummingbird allows users to obtain the best and most relevant results even if they use a long-tailed search such as, “Where are the best places to eat in London?” Hummingbird creates the same results as it would if you typed in “London best restaurants”.  As more and more people have come to use these long-tailed queries, it seems that Hummingbird has come at the right time.

Some confusion has arisen over the effectiveness of Hummingbird as few sites have seen a change in their rankings. In fact, Hummingbird was launched one month before it was actually announced and no one seemed to notice the difference. Yet Hummingbird should not be overlooked.  Amit Singhal believes it has been the biggest overhaul to the system since he started in 2001. Its less than dramatic appearance can be accounted to its focus on search marketing rather than rankings. It has little effect on rankings within Google. Its aim is to better understand a user’s intent when searching so that all synonyms in a long tailed search are included.  Search results are now more accurate and personalised.

Its announcement alongside the new features of the Knowledge Graph created further confusion over whether it was a part of the new improved graph. But, Hummingbird is a separate entity which can work alongside Knowledge Graph to understand meaning and match your query to the appropriate links. This means some pages now have a better chance of being found for certain searches.

But don’t panic! This doesn’t change your approach to SEO. Keywords are still important for rankings and used to guide the searcher. Google has only applied the semantics to the search itself, not the pages. A digital marketing agency can help you determine the best SEO strategy for your site while paying attention to the needs of your users.

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