Google launches ‘Hummingbird’ algorithm in major search upgrade

Search took another big leap forward last week according to Google, as the company used its 15th anniversary to announce the launch of Hummingbird, a new algorithm designed to return better results based on a more intuitive understanding of language and concepts. And as a leading SEO agency in Manchester, we’re here to help our clients and followers understand just what these changes mean.

The way people search and the results they expect to see has altered dramatically since the dawn of the internet, with this latest update from Google focusing more on conversational search and the relationships between words and phrases, rather than simply the words themselves. The overall intention is to make user interaction with Google more human, a nifty advance given the increasing usage of Siri and Google’s own voice recognition search tools mean more and more people are beginning to hold actual conversations with their devices.

What Google will be hoping to deliver through this new approach is a more sophisticated set of results informed by a greater understanding of the meaning behind words and phrases. Striving towards what they call a more human level of understanding when it comes to language, Google’s constantly improving ability to produce increasingly accurate search results lies in the search engine’s power to interpret questions and queries more like a person and less like a computer.

To help understand where this update sits in the grand scheme of other cuddly sounding overhauls like Penguin and Panda, Hummingbird constitutes a whole new engine within the Google search machine, whereas previous updates like the ones mentioned above were simply improvements to the old algorithm.

However, Hummingbird went live a month ago affecting 90% of all searches and the fact that no one really seemed to notice prior to the launch, makes it difficult to view the update as revolutionary. This has led to some commentators to suggest that despite Google’s enthusiasm and bold claims, it’s too early yet to tell whether this really is the start of a new era in search, as their launch claims would have us believe.

In terms of what Hummingbird means for webmasters looking to maintain or improve their Google search ranking, or Jungle Media itself as a leading Manchester based SEO agency, the principles remain the same as before. Keep your site updated with original, high-quality content and you shouldn’t see any drop-off in your search ranking as a result of the switch.

As the way we search continues to evolve it’s only fitting that tools and technologies change to adapt to our behaviour and expectations, with Hummingbird only reinforcing the need for webmasters to make sure they’re benefitting from an effective SEO strategy.

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