How will Google’s Hummingbird algorithm update affect searches?
Last week, Google made public the release of its latest search algorithm. Nicknamed “Hummingbird” after its supposed pace and precision, it is considered the most dramatic algorithm changed since the Caffeine update, in 2010! Here are some of the ways Hummingbird will affect searches.
One of Hummingbird’s most significant adjustments will be the growing accuracy of its search results. Whereas before, searches focused on keywords, Hummingbird will be more attentive to words like “where” or “when”. This aims to provide users with the exact information they seek, rather than simply direct them to popular websites on a broad topic. This is particularly helpful given the enormous amount of data available online nowadays!
Of course, the weight of content quality is not an entirely new trait of searches – in fact, it was already greatly emphasised by the Panda and Penguin updates. However, with Google algorithms increasingly going away from basic keyword identification to greater content comprehension, providing fresh, informative content is more important than ever. Equally, web design quality will remain essential to optimise Google crawling visibility.
Finally, Hummingbird will show a greater understanding of individual queries. For instance, it will pay closer attention to geographical locations when searching. Hence, if you are looking for a shop or a bank, Hummingbird will prioritise its results within your area. It will also recognise particular brands more effectively, which is also part of the attempt to go away from keyword searches towards great user understanding.
Overall, the new update clearly aims to prioritise good quality, relevant content over cleverly optimised pages, in order to improve the experience of users. Although the announcement has come on Google’s 15th Birthday event, the update has been in use since last month, which should reassure webmasters and marketers who feared a dramatic fall in ranking for their websites in the coming weeks..