On the 26th of September 2013, the day before the official 15th anniversary of Google, the search giant announced that they had released a new algorithm update called Hummingbird.
The announcement came out of the blue as Google had apparently been quietly working on it for a month leading up to the announcement, according to Forbes magazine. This is the biggest update since the Caffeine update in 2010.
The Caffeine update was focused on site crawling and indexing in order to provide better and faster search results and the Panda and Penguin updates were focused on ranking sites with better content rather than just keywords.
Hummingbird is focused on refining the process so that Google throws up results which are relevant to complex searches rather than simple keyword matching. This means that Google will become better at answering questions which require complicated answers, which may affect your Melbourne, Florida SEO rankings.
Core Algorithm Change
The change affects Google’s core algorithm which responds to search queries, in a bid to make Google increasingly responsive to more complicated questions. When Google first started 15 years ago, searches happened on a word by word basis. Search queries resulted in a list of links to websites which contained the words you were searching for. This meant that searchers were often forced to sort through hundreds of search results, which bore no resemblance to what they were searching for.
The Hummingbird update means that websites will be ranked according to their relevance for key concepts based on Google’s Knowledge Graph. Knowledge Graph is an encyclopedia owned by Google which was launched in 2012. It contains more than 570 million different concepts and their interlinked relationships. The Hummingbird update has improved the way that Google uses Knowledge Graph in search queries, which means that Google can better make connections between concepts when a complicated search is made.
Follow Up Questions
According to Information Week, the update means that Google will be able to make connections between follow up searches. For example, if you typed into Google “Where is the Empire State Building,” and then followed up with, “How tall is it?” Google would be able to make the connection that you were referring to the Empire State Building, and not a new and unrelated search.
The Hummingbird Update also means that Google will handle comparison questions better than ever before. For example if you asked Google to compare two different types of food, instead of just a list of websites comparing the two, Google will now come up with well organized information covering all of the nutritional data relevant to the two food types you want to compare.
Effect on Websites
The updates had already taken place by the time of the announcement. Therefore, according to Techcrunch, there is unlikely to be any significant impact on website rankings for online businesses. If site owners have not noticed any significant change by now, they are unlikely to. The updates are all about building a more natural conversation between Google and searchers, in order to produce the most relevant and useful search results.