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Search Change with Hummingbird Algorithm


The latest ‘Hummingbird’ algorithm has been in operation since Thursday 26th September according to the Senior Vice President of Google Search, AmitSinghal. Over 90% of the searches performed worldwide through Google have been affected by the update.

Er, what? Hummingbird Algorithm?

Google’s previous version updates to its search algorithms, code named Panda and Penguin, brought a number of smart updates to the way Google Search chooses how to rank the most relevant results. Google now receives more complex queries from it searchers; users want to relate to Google in full sentences rather than keyword searches. Everyone knew it wouldn’t be long before a Google brainiac worked out how to use the context of a full question asked of Google to return the most relevant search results rather than just keywords. The update speeds up search results for those requests made using conversational language.

Combining the most relevant technology with working aspects of previous algorithms, the Hummingbird algorithm – so named for the tiny bird with incredible speed and accuracy – has changed the search landscape once again.

How does it affect organic search?

Because of the way many organisations build their webpages and copy, keywords are overemphasized and can often lead to irrelevant results. The algorithm has included a better way of retrieving information and using search entities to decide how to rank results. Keywords therefore have lost a bit of the importance they used to have – it’s now about much more than keywords. Search Engine Optimisers must start thinking about long tail queries and how a website user interacts with the webpage. SEO experts must ensure that interactive and helpful content is on the website and not just ‘content’ for the sake of it. The new algorithm is requiring deeper understanding of how search functions operate rather than just knowing how to say the same thing differently.

How to use the Hummingbird Algorithm to your SEO advantage

  • Know your audience. What do they want? How do they consume content?
  • Your search engine optimized content much match real sentences and phrases people use
  • Loads of high value, useful and creative content
  • Don’t utilize issues that don’t have many opportunities to create content around them
  • Consider your content in terms of ‘semantic’ (ie: related) keywords
  • Focus your content and product on user needs rather than benefits
  • Revise and grow the type of people you target with your products
  • Otpimise each webpage as if it’s a landing page, making sure you use real sentences that people would use in search terms