UNDERSTANDING GOOGLE HUMMINGBIRD ALGORITHM UPDATE
Google’s Biggest Algorithm Update Since 2001
Google officially announced the hummingbird algorithm update that affected 90% of all search queries on
September 26, 2013.
Hummingbird aims to describe the “precision and speed” for which Google will now provide search result
based around conversational, semantic search.
Previous Algorithms Incorporated Into Hummingbird
Hummingbird is a completely new algorithm that incorporates all previous algorithm including PageRank,
Panda and Penguin.
Current SEO strategies still apply. Social signals, relevant backlinks from reputable, established websites
and quality content are just some of the 200 ranking factors that make up the Hummingbird algorithm.
Semantic Search & User Intent
Hummingbird is based on semantic search technology. Semantic search seeks to understand the
searcher’s intent and the meaning of the query rather than parsing through keywords used in the search
query. Google is using “form based” or “template” queries to answer questions at scale in real time. You
can see this evidenced clearly in a recent patent, “Interactive Query Completion Templates, introduced in
Aug 29, 2013.
Hummingbird aims to understand the entire query and provide accurate answer based on what searcher
wants, rather than returning pages with SEO-friendly keywords used in the search query.
Improved Mobile Search
With so many searchers occurring on mobile devices, Hummingbird focuses heavily on mobile and voice
search. It is also smarter at understanding conversational search and complex quires as questions.
If your site is well optimized for mobile searches, you may see an increase in mobile traffic.
Emphasis From “keywords” to “Answers”
Hummingbird represents a paradigm shift from keyword based search to conversational search. This
means the algorithm is designed to return “content specific answer” rather than “keyword optimized web
This means keyword research needs to more semantic and personalized for your target audience.
More Personalize Results
Hummingbird represents a paradigm shift from keyword based search to conversational search.
Hummingbird aims to understand the user’s intent behind asking the question and context such as
location, social connection on Google plus, previous searches and other information that Google already
knows about the searcher.
Organic search on Google is now much more personalized, and the same search can yield different results
to a particular searcher, based on their unique circumstances and intent.
Optimized For Your Target Audience Rather Than Keywords
Content that speaks directly to your target audience is now a priority. To rank on Google Search, figure
out the many question potential customers many ask about your products and services, and produce
subject relevant, meaningful and detailed answers that directly answers those questions.
If you are focused on addressing your customer’s needs you are more likely to rank according to Google’s
Google Knowledge Graph
At the core of Google’s semantic search is Google’s Knowledge Graph, which gathers data from a variety
of sources to try to answer many question related to your search right there on the right side of the
search results pages.
The Google knowledge graph attempts to identify and highlight connections between people, places, and
things then offer insight into these connections through its search results.
Alok Raghuwanshi is a SEO/Digital Marketing Expert with Kuliko Web Design Company Canada.
Specializing search engine optimization (SEO), social media marketing (SMM), content marketing and
guest blogging. Also includes links to posts from his work at SEO Blog for Internet Marketing.
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