Google’s latest algorithm: What you need to know about ‘Hummingbird’

In the last few weeks Google have updated their search algorithm, and it’s called Hummingbird. Google’s algorithms search through all available information, and return the best results to you. This time the search mechanism is called Hummingbird, and was launched mid-September. As usual Google do not inform users of any algorithm changes in advance, instead they usually release information a couple of days later.

What is Hummingbird?

Google’s latest algorithm is called Hummingbird. Previous algorithms were called Penguin and Panda.

What’s new?

With changes to algorithms, it’s often hard to pin point exactly what is new and how it will affect businesses who want to turn up on page 1 of the SERP. Back in 2010 Google changed significant parts of the process and in turn relevant content was displayed, hence the growth of content marketing, which supported customers and SEO.

This most recent change is ‘conversational search’. This means Google will be reacting to conversational words or phrases entered into the search engine. More and more people search this way, instead of using one or two words to bring back results.

Google have said that they are paying attention to each word within the search query, instead of one or two keywords. This means the whole query is taken into account. Ideally this will then return pages which match the meaning, instead of a few pages matching individual words.

When did this happen?

Hummingbird has been live for around 6 weeks, but was announced by Google at the end of September.

How does this affect our SEO?

As always, you should be looking to use informative and interesting information to encourage users to stay on your site. The more useful the information, the more likely they are to return to your site, and it’ll be more likely that you’ll reach the top of the SERP.

Will I lose traffic?

You may have seen some changes over the last few weeks. As always with Google, they’re quite shady when it announcing changes – but they have said that any loss of traffic could be due to the Hummingbird changes, or other parts of the existing algorithm which are continually changed and tweaked.

See here for more information.

Image source: USA Today

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