Google Hummingbird & Semantic Search

- October 8, 2013

On September 26th Google turned 15 and celebrated by releasing information on their all new Hummingbird algorithm. This was not simply an update to the old search engine algorithm like Penguin and Panda, but an entirely new search algorithm. The new Hummingbird algorithm was launched over a month ago and was switched over almost seamlessly.

You may be asking yourself: Why Hummingbird? Why now? What does it do differently? And, Is SEO impacted? All very good questions.

The reason for Hummingbird is simple, Google is always trying to improve search results. This time they’re improving it by getting better at semantic search, or “conversational search.” With semantic search, Google looks at your entire query, and even a succession of queries, to provide you with results that are the most relevant to your search.

Let’s say you are looking to find out the date/ time your favorite NFL team is playing next. This type of search may have brought up blog posts, news articles about past games and possibly different sports networks you could go through to find out when their next game is. Now with Hummingbird and Google’s Knowledge Graph, you will get results like the screen shot below that gives you the information for the next game with results from your team’s website right below it. Think of it as being fast & precise (hence “Hummingbird”).


Now as far as SEO is concerned, none of these changes are alarming, and they should only help sites that are being optimized properly. If you have been diligently working on an onsite SEO strategy, including both content and technical considerations, there is no need to worry unless you have seen drops in your rankings within the past month. For more information on this, check out our recent post about what Hummingbird means for your content strategy.

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