Hummingbird: An Improvement on Google’s Semantic Capability

Google has undoubtedly been doing an amazing job as a search engine. It has helped us look for and get what we want anywhere in the world. With the help of just a few keywords here and there, it looks for similar terms as per our search. Optimizing for Google search results is important for people looking to give their business a boom. Google has improved its algorithms in multiple ways over the years. It knows very well about what its users want and what they are looking for. Streamlining its ways to search and understanding what the users really want is what Google has been working on and has managed to get to us. Google’s journey from the Google Toolbar to different algorithm tryouts from PageRank to Caffeine, Panda and Penguin to Hummingbird has been remarkable!


The Move from Panda to Penguin to Hummingbird

Talking about algorithms, Panda was launched in Feb, 2011. It helped with quality. Earlier, Google would only manage to track similar words without any reason to check for relevance or smart resemblance. Whatever you typed in that search bar, you could get sites resulting in your search for those words and not the whole statement.

With Panda, came smartness. Now when you searched on Google, you could find data with quality. High quality sites were provided as higher search results. Named after one of its creators Navneet Panda, the Panda algorithm focused clearly on quality and affected a large number of sites. Panda was updated quite many times to meet the changing needs. Panda is still on with the version 4.0.

Another major lifeline of Google is Penguin. This sweet child helps Google to not blindly trust its sites. With Penguin, came the solution to web spam issues and unnatural links. Keyword stuffing was seen to be the major issue in the listed sites and Penguin acts as an amazing filter.

Initially launched in April 2012, Penguin has helped Google get hold of a huge chunk of fake data and also helped the users get the correct and genuine information.

Hummingbird, What’s That?

Panda and Penguin had done an awesome job till now, but Google required smartening itself and serving its users. This hint of intelligence was brought by Hummingbird. You get everything at a single place and this is just because of the Hummingbird algorithm.

Hummingbird is claimed to have a logical way of providing search results. It looks for the context of search instead of just the keywords. This way, the search queries don’t just look for the words but what exactly the question is being targeted at. Searching this way results in very specific results which are exactly what the user is looking for. Let’s take a few examples:

  • You type in “Mary had a little lamb”. If it were the earlier set of rules, the results you would get would be something based on lamb, Mary, little lamb and yes, maybe the poem. With the Hummingbird update, you get the poem, YouTube videos related to the poem, of course a Wiki page, and other articles based on the poem.
  • Another example would be to search for a name. Let’s take Barack Obama for example. The search results with the help of Hummingbird would be Barack Obama’s quick information in a side panel where you can find all the important, most searched for and very generic public information.

There used to be something known as article spinning earlier. The content available online used to be rewritten many times in order to reach multiple readers. There is a difference between copying an idea and copying the entire content. Though the words are a little here and there, these kinds of articles are pretty evident to be plagiarized. Also, such articles came with the keyword stuffing issue. Hummingbird can simply get past this with its logical search patterns and hence, SEO strategy ranks such articles on a lower level. With Penguin and Panda to support, the quality and ranking improved drastically.

The reason for Google’s existence was to give answers. All Google could manage till the time before Hummingbird was, to look for words or terms. Hummingbird helped Google to search for the answers to the questions that readers asked. Imagine when you first started to look for answers on Google, didn’t you start like the following image?

Answers On Google

I’m sure you did. No one started without a question and hence, with the Hummingbird update, Google came up with a question answer scenario. If you observe the image, there is a pattern there. All the possible questions that one can ask with the typed terms are visible. Interesting isn’t it?

Hummingbird and SEO

With Hummingbird bringing out a better Google for searchers, it is definitely not affecting SEO. The SEO ranking of your websites still remain the same and follows the same policy. Website owners can still work up on ranking their websites better with keywords because Google will always run behind keywords even to look for the correct context.

Also, the point to be noted here is that, as much original content your website has, you have maximum chances of showcasing them in the top list, as per the Hummingbird update. But again talking about keywords, long tailed keywords work way better, than just a single worded keyword.

Hummingbird Advantages and Improvements

If something is going to be better because of Hummingbird, it is searching for videos. YouTube and YouTube users have benefited most out of this update. You could never find that exact video you would be looking for, unless you typed in the right keywords. It used to be a trial and error game all the time. But now, it just is a pattern search. The advantages would go as follows:

  • Users can now find the exact things they would be looking for
  • The creative pattern search also leads to help small-scale websites to be brought to light. They no more work in the background and are also easily traced.
  • The keyword fight is over and there is more of a content management and development need for the website owners.

Improvements include:

  • Long tailed keywords
  • Like I said earlier, the keywords still mean a lot, but they have just started to hold some better meaning.
  • With better search results comes better SEO. With best SEO, come better marketing strategies and opportunities. SEO is definitely anything but dead.
  • Hummingbird works on the lines of AI (artificial intelligence) and hence, it always knows what it is up to.
  • Apart from Google and Hummingbird improvements, there are SEO and webmasters improvements too. Webmasters have now got a hang of how it all works. All they have to do is, focus on the content and the ways on how to reach their readers and what might attract them.
  • Optimizing Hummingbird is nothing but looking for ways to use long-tailed keywords better.

The Hummingbird update brought in a new era of user-centric marketing. It helps Google deliver the most relevant and valuable information to searchers. It’s important to create content that is created for the right keywords. Content should be based on hot topics in keeping with the latest trends. This will ensure fresh content.