What is the Google Hummingbird Update?
There have been various updates to Google SEO website algorithms over the years. Still, one of the biggest was the Hummingbird update in 2013. This update changed how the search engine interprets queries and has had a big impact on Google SEO.
It’s always important to stay up-to-date on the latest algorithm changes in order to ensure your website is optimised for Google SEO updates. In this blog post, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about this update and how it changed the SEO industry as a whole.
Google Hummingbird was a major update to Google’s algorithm that aimed to anticipate the demands of mobile search, in particular by allowing a conversational search. The algorithm update affected 90% of all searches conducted through Google, with the majority of those being long-tail queries.
Hummingbird set the groundwork for substantial improvements in Google search. Though an explainer for the Hummingbird update was never published by Google, Googlers have several accounts about what it’s about.
A Background on Google’s Hummingbird
The Google Hummingbird update was rolled out in August 2013 and announced a month later.
The Hummingbird update, according to Google, is the most significant algorithm change since 2001.
Multiple Googlers also described this as a complete rewrite of Google’s core algorithm.
Despite a large number of changes, the immediate result was barely noticeable.
As such, it was rather odd for an update to be extensive yet inconspicuous at the same time.
A Rewrite of the Entire Core Algorithm
Former Google software engineer Matt Cutts described Hummingbird as a complete reworking of the core algorithm.
That isn’t to say that the algorithm itself was completely rebuilt; instead, the fundamental algorithm was rewritten in a manner that enables it to serve its purpose better.
In a December 2013 video interview, he stated that the Hummingbird update was an upgrade of the core search algorithm.
He added that some thought Hummingbird was a part of Google’s core algorithm, much like how Penguin and Panda are parts of the core algorithm. But Matt Cutts clarified that Hummingbird was not just a part of the core algorithm but a rewrite of it.
One of the objectives of the rewrite was to improve the core algorithm’s ability to link queries to webpages while also allowing it to handle more complex conversational search queries.
The Impact of the Update on Searches
Matt Cutts continued by saying that the update would bring better search results for the user. Google stated that the goal of the Hummingbird update was to understand the user’s intent better when they type in a query. The update was designed to give searchers more precise and quick results and make it easier for them to find what they are looking for.
The main goal of the update is to provide more relevant results for the user, even if they use different keywords than what is on the page.
For example, if someone searched for “how to put a rutabaga in space”, Hummingbird would understand that the user is looking for information on launching a rutabaga into space, not just any general information on rutabagas or space.
Integrating Natural Language in Searches
When the update was introduced, members of the search community advised that the way content was written should be changed to match how searchers were using search engines.
The common advice was to use more phrases like “how to” in articles. While the advice was well-meaning, it was also misinformed. Instead, what Hummingbird did was to make long conversational search queries understandable to Google.
In the earlier example, Google ignored certain words to better understand what the search query meant.
In the old algorithm, Google attempted to rank a webpage that contained all of the words in a search query by performing a word-for-word match between the search query and the page.
Cutts was talking about how Google was now ignoring certain words in order to comprehend the searches and then rank a page based on that information.
Hummingbird gave Google the insight it needed to abandon certain words depending on matching keywords to web pages.
This is what Cutts referred to when he said the update tries to do a better job of matching users’ queries with documents, particularly for natural language queries, at the start of his description of Hummingbird.
A Step Toward Conversational Searches
Since Hummingbird was a rewrite of the old algorithm, the process became more precise and faster, making it a step toward today’s more modern search engine.
The classic, one-to-one matching of search terms to webpage content was a thing of the past.
With the incorporation of other improvements, such as the introduction of the Knowledge Graph, Google was able to develop an even stronger understanding of what users meant with their search queries and what webpages were really about.
This is a vast improvement over the old search engine, which relied on matching keywords in the search query to page content.
The improvements introduced by Google’s Hummingbird update may have made this direction possible.
Although the initial effect of the update may have been subtle, it eventually led to a more robust search-rating system. Because this rating system better reflected the content of each page, only the most relevant pages were ranked highest.
Adapt Your Strategy to Google’s Algorithm Changes
Google’s Hummingbird update was one of the most significant Google SEO website algorithm changes. This update changed how Google interprets queries and results in more natural language search results. As a result, it is more important than ever to ensure that your website’s content is well-written and relevant to your target audience.
To help you better understand the Hummingbird update and how it affects your website, we at position1seo.co.uk will guide your SEO campaigns to match the direction that Google is moving in with its searches.
Our team of experts have many years of experience in Google SEO and achieving high rankings for our clients’ websites. Position1SEO can help you improve your website rankings in the search engine results pages (SERPs) and drive more traffic to your site, thus increasing the number of your potential customers and profits.
If you’d like more information on our services, please visit our homepage or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for a free consultation.