Google Hummingbird
The logo for Google Hummingbird

Google Hummingbird[1][2] is a search algorithm used by Google.

Google started using Hummingbird about August 30, 2013,[3] and announced the change on September 26[4] on the eve of the company's 15th anniversary.[5]

Danny Watkinson says that the Google Hummingbird algorithm update is all about improving results for "conversational search", making the search engine much better at answering specific user questions, rather than just picking certain keywords within a query.[6]. Gianluca Fiorelli said Hummingbird is about synonyms but also about context. Google always had synonyms, he writes, but with Hummingbird it is also able to judge context--thereby judging the intent of a person carrying out a search, to determine what they are trying to find out.[7] This concept is called semantic search. Danny Sullivan said of Hummingbird, "Google said that Hummingbird is paying more attention to each word in a query, ensuring that the whole query--the whole sentence or conversation or meaning--is taken into account."[8] Michelle Hill said Hummingbird is about "understanding intent".[9] Steve Masters wrote, "The Hummingbird approach should be inspirational to anyone managing and planning content--if you aren't already thinking like Hummingbird, you should be. In a nutshell, think about why people are looking for something rather than what they are looking for. A content strategy should be designed to answer their needs, not just provide them with facts."[10]


The Hummingbird update was the first major update to Google's search algorithm since the 2010 "Caffeine Update", but even that was limited primarily to improving the indexing of information rather than sorting of information. Google search chief Amit Singhal stated that Hummingbird is the first major update of its type since 2001.[11][12]

Conversational search leverages natural language, semantic search, and more to improve the way search queries are parsed.[13] Unlike previous search algorithms which would focus on each individual word in the search query, Hummingbird considers each word but also how each word makes up the entirety of the query--the whole sentence or conversation or meaning--is taken into account, rather than particular words. The goal is that pages matching the meaning do better, rather than pages matching just a few words.[2][14]

Much like an extension of Google's "Knowledge Graph", Hummingbird is aimed at making interactions more human--capable of understanding the concepts and relationships between keywords.[15]

Hummingbird places greater emphasis on page content making search results more relevant and pertinent and ensuring that Google delivers users to the most appropriate page of a website, rather than to a home page or top level page.[16]


Search engine optimization changed little with the addition of Hummingbird, though more top ranking results are ones that provide natural content that reads conversationally.[17] While keywords within the query still continue to be important, Hummingbird adds more strength to long-tailed keywords--effectively catering to the optimization of content rather than just keywords.[18] Webmasters will now have to cater towards queries that are asked naturally; with the growing number of conversational queries--namely those using voice search, targeting phrases that start with "Who, Why, Where, and How" will prove beneficial towards SEO. The use of keyword synonyms have also been optimized with Hummingbird; instead of listing results with exact phrases or keywords, Google shows more theme-related results.[19]

See also


  1. ^ Sullivan, Danny (September 26, 2013). "FAQ: All About The New Google "Hummingbird" Algorithm | Why is it called Hummingbird?". Search Engine Land. Google told us the name come from being "precise and fast." 
  2. ^ a b Elran, Asher (November 15, 2013). "Should You Change Your SEO Strategy Because of Google Hummingbird?". Kissmetrics. Retrieved 2014. It is named for the speed and accuracy of the tiny bird. 
  3. ^ Google started using Hummingbird about a month ago
  4. ^ How to Thrill Google Hummingbird--Infographic
  5. ^ Sullivan, Danny (September 30, 2013). "Google's Hummingbird Takes Flight: SEOs Give Insight On Google's New Algorithm". Search Engine Land. Retrieved 2014. On the eve of its 15th birthday last week, Google revealed a new search algorithm named Hummingbird. 
  6. ^
  7. ^ Fiorelli, Gianluca. "Hummingbird Unleased". Moz Blog. 
  8. ^ "FAQ: All About The New Google "Hummingbird" Algorithm". Search Engine Land. 
  9. ^ Hill, Michelle. "Content Marketing the Google Hummingbird Way". Econsultancy. 
  10. ^ Masters, Steve. "How to think like Google Hummingbird". Red Rocket Media. 
  11. ^ Sullivan, Danny (September 26, 2013). "FAQ: All About The New Google "Hummingbird" Algorithm | When's the last time Google replaced its algorithm this way?". Search Engine Land. Google search chief Amit Singhal told me that perhaps 2001, when he first joined the company, was the last time the algorithm was so dramatically rewritten. 
  12. ^ Hull, Jeremy (October 15, 2013). "Google Hummingbird: Where No Search Has Gone Before". Wired. Innovation Insights. Retrieved 2014. 
  13. ^ Sullivan, Danny (May 22, 2013). "Google's Impressive "Conversational Search" Goes Live On Chrome". Conversational search has natural language, semantic search and more built into it, and while it's far from perfect, this really is one of those significant changes that makes even a "seen it all" person like me sit up and take notice. 
  14. ^ Sullivan, Danny (September 26, 2013). "FAQ: All About The New Google "Hummingbird" Algorithm | What type of "new" search activity does Hummingbird help?". Search Engine Land. "Conversational search" is one of the biggest examples Google gave. People, when speaking searches, may find it more useful to have a conversation. 
  15. ^ Taylor, Richard (September 26, 2013). "Google unveils major upgrade to search algorithm". It is more capable of understanding concepts and the relationships between them rather than simply words, which leads to more fluid interactions. In that sense, it is an extension of Google's "Knowledge Graph" concept introduced last year aimed at making interactions more human. 
  16. ^ Dodds, Don (October 16, 2013). "An SEO Guide to the Google Hummingbird Update". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2014. It has long been known that Google considers the authority of a page, and even the authority of a page author, to be extremely important. With even greater emphasis to be placed on page content, authority will become even more relevant and pertinent. 
  17. ^ Marentis, Chris (April 11, 2014). "A Complete Guide To The Essentials Of Post-Hummingbird SEO". Search Engine Land. Content should read almost conversationally; it shouldn't sound awkward or forced in order to squeeze in certain keywords. The end goal is to make it easy for a visitor to understand the products/services you provide. 
  18. ^ Elran, Asher. "Should You Change Your SEO Strategy Because of Google Hummingbird?". It does strengthen the role of long tailed keywords. However, once we couple the release of Hummingbird with Secure Search, which encrypts the search data of keywords, effectively hiding that information from marketers, we again have to draw the conclusion that Google is trying to reduce the importance of keyword optimization and force webmasters to appease the searcher. 
  19. ^ link-assistant, .com (April 11, 2014). "Google's Hummingbird update explained - what should it mean for your SEO?". SEO PowerSuite. Content should read almost conversationally; it shouldn't sound awkward or forced in order to squeeze in certain keywords. The end goal is to make it easy for a visitor to understand the products/services you provide. 

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.


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