First it was Google Panda, and then we had Google Penguin. For the past several years, we have been dealing with pandas and penguins. But now, we’re dealing with a whole entirely new animal: the Google Hummingbird algorithm update.
So, in a nutshell, what exactly is the Google Hummingbird algorithm?
The Google Hummingbird algorithm is essentially the “back end” or “engine” of Google’s organic search results. It understands our queries better than ever before. It has an effect on the knowledge graph and advanced search queries (especially when we ask Google questions). And it’s already in place, so we really don’t have to worry to much about upcoming algorithm or ranking changes. They’ve already happened.
According to Google’s new blog post about the update, they specifically do NOT mention Google Hummingbird. However, they do mention the knowledge graph and some other changes, like how Google shows up on mobile.
At a press event, though, Danny Sullivan had it covered:
Hummingbird helps with complex queries but also impacts over 90% of searches worldwide now.
Amit Singhal of Google, at the press event said (with Danny interpreting):
How’s it different? People asking more complicated questions. So how keep results so relevant in light of these. Hummingbird impact all types of queries we get but far more effective on these long queries we get now.
So, essentially, from what I’m hearing now (as of this post), Google Hummingbird is more about Google understanding our search queries. It’s not necessarily about our websites or links or other search engine ranking factors.
Google is getting better and better at offering up direct suggestions and answers to our advanced questions. The Google Knowledge Graph is showing up more and more as results to search queries.
For the SEO community, I don’t expect much of an impact at this point. In fact, it appears that Google has already launched this new Google Hummingbird algorithm weeks ago, just right under our noses according to TechCrunch:
As for how it’ll affect results, moving forward (the ears of a zillion SEO dudes/dudettes just perked): the engine overhaul was silently put in place weeks ago, right under all of our noses. If you haven’t noticed any huge jumps or drops in your search engine placement, you probably won’t any time soon — at least, not as a result of the new algorithm.
I’ll post updates as they happen.
Search Engine Land has an FAQ that’s worth reading. Key takeaways:
- The name, Hummingbird, is because this algorithm is “precise and fast”. Like a hummingbird.
- The Google Hummingbird algorithm is a month old. They just told us about it publicly.
- The last major algorithm change was Google Caffeine.
- Google Panda and Google Penguin were parts of the old algorithm, not the new one.
- The Gogle Hummingbird algorithm is has a lot to do with enhancing “Conversational Search”, and how Google interacts to our search queries, especially when they’re spoken.
- SEO is not dead.
- There’s really not much that SEOs need to worry about when it comes to the Google Hummingbird algorithm.