"Hummingbird" the new Google Algorithm Change

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google algorithm change hummingbird

Have you heard about Google’s most recent algorithm change? It’s called “Hummingbird”. Google’s new alteration to search took place on August 20, 2013. However the change wasn’t formally announced until September 26th, 2013. The new algorithm change (Google’s recipe for delivering the answers to what you’re searching for) will be impacting more than 90% of all searches worldwide. Are you prepared for Hummingbird?

In times and search algorithms past Google relied solely on things like links, link anchor text, and meta data when deciding what relevant content to return in search results. But then in 2009 and even more so in 2010 Google started using “social signals” from social networking websites as one of its determining factors in pagerank. Over time search has evolved again and again in order to continue to better serve searchers. Hummingbird is the newest evolution in search.

Why search needed to change… again

Hummingbird is Google’s state of the art search engine.

Hummingbird is a new engine built on both existing and new parts, organized in a way to especially serve the search demands of today, rather than one created for the needs of ten years ago, with the technologies back then.”, said Google.

This naturally raises a couple of questions. Is search going to change all over again like with the Panda updates? Is this new hummingbird search engine a completely brand new technology?

Yes. And no. Some of the parts are perfectly good, so there was no reason to toss them out. Other parts are constantly being replaced. In general…” - Google

What to expect from hummingbird…

More intuitive and improved search results. Specifically designed to better serve human input. Hummingbird is the reincarnate of it’s predecessor, lending more understanding to the intent and contextual meaning of search queries. Hummingbird enables Google’s search to ultimately do what it was originally designed to do better through improvements in semantic search. This is a direct result of the ever more increasing popularity of “conversational search” driven by more and more mobile searches. Through Hummingbird Google now has the ability to better deliver relevant content to queries more “conversational” in nature. The secret to this is delivering search results that are relevant to the context of the query. Well, that’s a game changer if you ever saw one! Pages that normally would not rank are now given to the opportunity to achieve pagerank based off of their context alone!

How often does Google’s Algorithm change?

To be completely honest, Google’s algorithm is constantly being innovated. You may only hear about the big updates, or drastic algorithm changes, but they’re one of the Google changes algorithm dependencies as the nature of search does. There’s a long list of changes from 2012 and 2013 as seen below:

  • approx. known 37 search algorithm changes in 2012
  • the Knowledge Graph Expansion
  • the In-depth Articles algorithm change
  • the Hummingbird algorithm change
  • [updated] the Penguin 2.1 algorithm update
  • [updated] the mystery algorithm update of november 14th
  • [updated] 15 known search algorithm changes in 2013

(These are just some of the major updates...)

What’s on the horizon for search in the future?

During the Hummingbird announcement Google’s Singhal gave us all a firm nudge in the new direction of search when he said:

People communicate with each other by conversation, not by typing keywords — and we’ve been hard at work to make Google understand and answer your questions more like people do.

So then what does that mean for your business? It means that the recipe for search has changed again, therefore your internet marketing strategy needs to change again. Moving forward here are some places that need explicit attention:

  • Mobile Strategy Optimization
  • Structured Data Markup
  • Using Google+
  • Organic Quality Links
  • Keyword Optimization 
  • Content Creation with Contextual Detection in mind


Mobile Search is here to stay. Change is the only constant in life.

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