In August 2013 Google rolled out the Hummingbird update. Unlike most other updates this wasn’t just a change to the algorithm; it was more like a replacement óf the algorithm. Why this big change?
What is Google Hummingbird?
The Hummingbird update can be considered the groundwork for voice-search. It pays more attention to each word in a query, ensuring that the whole search phrase is taken into account, rather than just particular words. It’s closely related to Google’s vision of the ‘perfect search engine’, that Larry Page once described as “understands exactly what you mean and gives you back exactly what you want.” With the Hummingbird update, Google wants its search engine to be capable of understanding what the meaning of your query is and even try to provide you with an answer to your query or question.
Watch the video to learn more about Hummingbird and why it’s so important, or read the transcript below.
Google Hummingbird explained – video transcript
I want to explain what the Hummingbird update really was. Google introduced the Hummingbird update by saying that they replaced the engine of their car. And we were unsure why they were changing it and what was happening at that time. But we know now that we’re asking questions to our watch, we’re asking questions to our phone and instead of typing two or three words we’re asking entire sentences. So Hummingbird was Google getting ready to deal with that. It deals with that in two ways: it deals with that by understanding what we’re trying to search for – even if we ask an entire sentence – so it needs to get better at comprehending what we’re searching for. But it also needs to get better at serving us answers instead of a set of 10 results. So instead of giving us 10 blue links, they give us answer boxes now (which got introduced with the Hummingbird update) that give us the answer to our question. If you type 5+5 Google has always told you the answer is 10, with Hummingbird it has improved and expanded the range of questions, where it actually gives you an answer instead of just giving you 10 results. That’s why Hummingbird was very important and that’s why you should read about it a lot more.