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Impacts of Hummingbird

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It has been just over six good weeks since Google has officially announced their new algorithm of ’Hummingbird’. What does it really mean for the digital marketers and SEO experts?

The Senior Vice President, Amit Singal, of ‘search’ at Google, introduced the algorithm. It is the company’s greatest and latest effort to match the meaning performed queries of the users with the content availability of documents on the Internet.

This may not seem to be surprising: surely, is this what a search engine aim for? But reading within the lines, it means Google has received a fuel doze or a so called injection of sorts to build these appropriate matches more effective as well as more efficient.

Towards the end of September, during the announcement of this new algorithm, it was already confirmed that this algorithm was not about to be sprung on non suspecting SEOs. On the other hand, it had already been for months at its place, impacting about 90 percent of Google worldwide searches……with no one noticing!

How Hummingbird works

Many seasoned SEOs are familiar with algorithm updates these days, as seen through Panda and Penguin upgrades that previously affected SEO ranking, Hummingbird replaced the existing algorithm completely. Therefore Hummingbird should not be considered as a just an ‘another update’ but to be taken seriously as a completely new algorithm.

An analytical blog at Search Engine Land broke by Danny Sullivan down this algorithm in a layman’s terms by comparing replacing an engine in a car from the 1950’s to Hummingbird. Previous updates such as to Panda and Penguin those seen could be compared to just replacing worn parts of an old engine to make it run a little better. On the other hand Hummingbird can be seen as a faster version that is replacing the old engine which takes into consideration the original engine parts that worked, but needed to be updated – the switch was made clean, such that nobody really noticed.

According to Amit Singal, such a massive overhaul was last seen in 2001 for the algorithm. The 2010 Caffeine update could be considered as another potential boost. Although Caffeine was a different update, it was not a complete replacement for the algorithm. It only aimed at speeding up searches.

The Hummingbird Algorithm and its After-Effects

The Hummingbird has been introduced, as already mentioned earlier in this post, is to closely match queries bound with some relevant results. This is where users type in the full sentences rather than the incomplete questions tailored to the search engines. Users need to type something like “Where can I find a movie theater near my location?” instead of “Movie Theaters New Market”
The full value of a sentence will be now considered by Hummingbird, rather than just generating several selected words within a sentence and base your search on that.

The Guardian reported about the other effects Hummingbird will directly have that on SERPs, and it’s apparent feels that SEOs can now breathe a sigh of relief. Pre-Hummingbird, an “acid reflux prescription” search would have produced sites listing with drugs whereas instead now its main search results, links to more general information displaying how acid reflux is treated. From this we can say that the higher authority sites appear higher in search results now, pushing “spammy” sites downhill in the SERPs.

Danny Sullivan confirmed that Hummingbird itself should not affect any rankings, but the updates such as Penguin and Panda within it, are continuously being tweaked.

Thus, our final consensus about Hummingbird is that, it is here to improve the search results, for more conversation and complex search queries in particular.

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