Ten Things You Need To Know About Hummingbird

If you haven’t heard about it yet, you will:  Google’s newest search algorithm, known as “Hummingbird.”  Here are ten quick takeaways about Google’s newest way to return better search results to end users.

  1. What is Hummingbird? Hummingbird is a new search algorithm or a way for Google to sort through and rank billions of returns when someone types in a search string.
  2. Does Hummingbird replace other search algorithms? No. Google uses more than one algorithm at a time to rank search pages; in fact, the best guess is that Google uses more than 200 individual algorithms for each search query. Hummingbird is only one, but some algorithms are more important than others in determining page rank on the SERP.
  3. Why is this algorithm called “Hummingbird?” Google says the name came from the fact that this algorithm is precise and very fast.
  4. When did Hummingbird go into effect? Google did not announce its addition of the Hummingbird algorithm until recently, but says it has been in use for about a month.
  5. Is Hummingbird like Penguin or Panda? Yes and no. Penguin and Panda were updates to existing algorithms. Hummingbird is new. In fact, Google said it has been more than a decade since it changed a search engine algorithm so drastically.
  6. What type of new search activity does Hummingbird perform? One of the biggest changes is “conversational search,” according to Google. This is designed to capture spoken search strings, something that is becoming more popular with mobile devices. Hummingbird focuses on the meaning behind the words rather than the words themselves. For example, if someone says “what is the best place to eat pizza?” Hummingbird may understand that “place” means a physical store, while “where can I place a lost dog?” triggers understanding that the word means, in this instance, to rehome. Google actually already had this technology in place through Chrome, but has now extended it beyond the Knowledge Graph to include all types of search queries.
  7. Does this conversational search stuff really work? We won’t know for some time. It will be interesting to watch developments and see if this new algorithm improves Google’s search results for the average user.
  8. Is SEO dead due to Google’s changes? Absolutely not. In fact, good SEO is more critical than ever to create content that will catch the attention of Google’s bots.
  9. How do I know if my pages are compliant with Hummingbird’s new standards? The easiest way to tell is to see if you have lost traffic in the past month. If so, some changes need to be made.
  10. What should I do now? Continue to refine your content to be relevant for your particular users. Good, relevant content will always score well, no matter what type of algorithm Google employs.

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