Google Hummingbird algorithm change implies the Google search results had a new refinement leading to “precise and fast” results with more focus on the meaning of the words.
Hummingbird update to Google algorithm came in 2013 and impacted search results for billions of queries and saw end users delivered an intensively intimate, personal search engine results experience.
That change in quality for search results flowing from the Hummingbird algorithm is understood when we compare the pre-2013 results.
A decade ago, search specific keywords used to generate results that had less share of elements related to the core query.
Hummingbird marked a shift to answer questions in a “things, not strings” manner.
Before Hummingbird came search results lacked depth
Regarding Hummingbird SEO update, it brought in quantitative changes in the search landscape.
This is not to say that in 2013, SEO basics were different. Great content and link building were as vibrant as it is today.
A year before Hummingbird came in search results were returning what you typed.
But the results lacked in-depth answers or resources needed to broaden the query.
That is because unlike the latest Hummingbird update search intent was not well communicated in the past, for distinguishing two similar yet different queries.
Suppose if you searched Google about The Globe, the information in results would be Globe Theatre of William Shakespeare.
If the same search was done in 2010, the query would get answers such as globes of the Earth or home page of the Global GLOBE tutorial.
Post-Humming bird Google update information to questions stated getting results that had high focus on the intent.
Hummingbird adds deep attention to each word in a query and ensures the whole query is looked at in totality unlike catering to individual words to compile pages matching the meaning.
The search algorithm is a technical term just like a recipe for cooking a dish. This is Google’s recipe on how to sort billions of web pages to deliver the most appropriate answer to a search query.
Hummingbird algorithm update looks at PageRank in terms of importance to links contained in that page along with other factors such as page quality, words, and other things.
Difference from Panda and Penguin algorithm updates
Panda, Penguin, and other updates made changes to parts of the old algorithm, Hummingbird’s attention is not on scanning each word in a query but targeting the whole query as a bunch.
Google said the algorithm update affects SEOs or publishers. But there is no change in guidance—content is king and must be original and of high-quality. Hummingbird Google algorithm processes them in a better way.
Unlike Panda and Penguin that changed the old algorithm, Hummingbird is an entirely new algorithm, made up of more than 200 factors impacting ranking and search.
Hummingbird updates had a sharp eye on the mobile market and was a way to leverage the growing mobile market in the decade.
Addition of ‘conversational search’ to the Hummingbird algorithm gave more focus on the meaning of a phrase, rather than individual keywords. Many people are now using voice search on mobile.
Hummingbird promptly looks for the meaning behind the words, then the words themselves. The whole phrase is considered before deciphering that meaning.
Impact on SEO
For SEO professionals, Hummingbird actually gave a good thing by weeding out the black hats that make outrageous claims of taking a site on page one of Google search results in 10 days.
Again content publishers and writers praise Hummingbird as the content quality is the ultimate reckoner.
The Hummingbird update algorithm will not tolerate irrelevant content or spam. Hummingbird underlines emphasis on authority and credibility of information and it naturally pays more importance to the content from thought leaders and influencers.