This week marked Google’s 15th anniversary as well as a big announcement: the world’s most popular search engine is now operating on a new algorithm. Referred to by Google as Hummingbird, the algorithm is geared toward returning more relevant results based on technologies that did not exist when the original algorithm launched. While Google has always continuously adjusted their algorithm based on the dynamic search environment, Hummingbird is a completely new engine.
Understanding the Hummingbird Algorithm
This significant of a change is extremely rare for Google. Search Chief Amit Singhal claims that 2001 was likely the last time Google experienced such a dramatic change. The new algorithm will focus heavily on improving conversational search and understanding user intent. Having more impact on long-tail searches, Hummingbird aims to analyze each word in the search to better answer users’ questions.
Google’s Eiffel Tower search example shows how Hummingbird will use your recent search history to facilitate a conversational search experience. In the example, Tamar Yehoshua, VP of Search at Google, uses voice search when asking for pictures of the Eiffel Tower and then adds a simple follow-up question, “How tall is it?” The new engine is now able to understand that the “it” refers to the Eiffel Tower. This improvement in conversational search will pave the way for products like Google Glass to easily integrate into our everyday lives.
Hummingbird’s Impact on SEO Going Forward
While Hummingbird is a completely new engine, Google states that it is built on both existing and new parts. Original factors (such as PageRank) still exist, and previous updates (like Panda and Penguin) still play a significant role in determining search engine results. According to Google, there is nothing new or different that SEOs and publishers need to worry about at this time. However, our team here at iProspect has outlined some key areas of your SEO strategy to review in light of the Hummingbird update.