Google Hummingbird and its effect on SEO and Page Rank
When Google announced the rollout of Caffeine in 2010 as a new search architecture, big changes would be on the horizon, including improvements in the speed of data collection and the indexing of information. This was monumental for search.
Then in 2013, Google made way for the release of Hummingbird. In his keynote speech at the Google I/O conference, Amit Singhal mentioned that search needs to answer, converse and anticipate in order to evolve. Appropriately named for precision and speed, Hummingbird is a total change of the algorithm that still uses filters but equates to improved understanding and search results against even the most long and complex user queries. In fact, 90% of searches worldwide are affected by Hummingbird. According to Singhal, searches in general have changed and user queries are more complex. As a result, algorithms based on boolean or keywords are now outdated and dilapidated. Therefore, Hummingbird is an absolute necessity.
The conversational search aspect of Hummingbird is one of the biggest improvements. This technology is able to better understand human questions and respond to them. This sort of advancement also explains the innovations within mobile and voice search that result in more conversational tones.
Voice search and location based technology have been game changers in this sense. For example, say you used voice search for the following query: Who makes the best pizza close to my home in Dallas?” Before Hummingbird, Google would only interpret matching keywords and offer results referring to keywords such as Pizza – Dallas. Now, this is not the case. Knowledge Graph also highlights different search possibilities and remembers user clicks to obtain better results. Hummingbird should be the next logical step to enable the understanding of multiple factors. By focusing on each word in the query, this ensures that the context of the search is taken into account as opposed to just a simple word match, resulting in a better keyword match and a stronger search experience for the user.
Since Hummingbird isn’t a spam filter like Panda or Penguin, some time is required to see immediate major changes in SERPs. However, this improved understanding of search and the likely continual updates as the technology improves will have a huge impact on the way search is conducted. The result will be data that is truthful and authentic to users. This is where the protocol of authenticity comes into play, allowing searches to be more streamlined and the ideal results come up first in a search query (such as searching a celebrity and that top result is their official homepage).
Much like capturing a glimpse of one in nature, the precision and speed in which a Hummingbird flaps its wings can be mesmerizing. Such is the case with Google’s Hummingbird as well. Although small, it’s quick and efficient demeanor will be a beautiful thing. Fly on, Hummingbird. Fly on.