The New Google "Hummingbird" Algorithm
What Is “Hummingbird”?
Google has a new algorithm, the system they use to return results for queries and searches you enter into Google. This new algorithm is called “Hummingbird“, because it is “quick and precise” according to Google. The announcement was made on September 26, in the garage that Sergey and Larry rented when Google first started taking off. Not many details have been released about this new algorithm, however, Google says this is the biggest overhaul to their ranking algorithm since the “Caffeine” update in 2009. Even though the update was announced on the 26th. the algorithm was implemented over a month a go according to Google.
Unlike Penguin and Panda, which were individual updates and additions to the algorithm, Hummingbird is a whole new system that integrates previous updates into it’s ranking factors. This algorithm is built on older updates as well as some new factors that have yet to be announced or discovered.
Okay, So What Does It Do?
Google has been tight-lipped about all of the new features of Hummingbird, but one of the things they did expand on was the integration of “Conversational Search.” With the advent of voice to text technology, such as Apple’s Siri and Google’s own Search by Voice, conversational queries have become more and more popular. For example, if you were to ask some one about purchasing a new car, you might say something like this, “Where’s the closest place I buy a new car to my house?”
A traditional search would take out the keywords from that query, “buy” & “car”, and return a SERP based on those terms. Now with this latest algorithm, Google is much better at understanding these types of conversational queries and takes the whole question into account. Google may now have better understanding of where your “home” is by taking your current and previous locations into account. So instead of returning generalized results about buying cars, it will now give you a list of dealerships that are within a certain radius of your home.
What Does This Mean?
In basic terms, Google is becoming more personalized, displaying results that are user specific based on information such as previous searches and physical location. Local SEO is becoming more important as these localized searches and results become more prominent and helpful. It seems to me that Google is continuing to move away from the old, “keyword” based approach of delivering results, and is moving towards delivering more “dynamic” results that are in the best interest of the searcher.
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