Hummingbird: Google’s New Search Algorithm

Google recently announced an ambitious change to its search engine.  It has developed an algorithm re-write, which will allow Google Search to handle more complex queries with much more authentic and accurate search results.  The new algorithm, Hummingbird, is the most comprehensive change to the Google algorithm since 2000.

The basis of the change is an effort to focus upon relationships and meanings, not just keyword matching.  It is in response to evolving user behavior, including asking longer and more complicated questions, and using voice search on mobile phones.

The original algorithm focused on matching search keywords or phrases to website content.  Hummingbird was developed to move towards a deeper understanding of phrases and concepts in long queries, in order to offer a more refined search and more precise results.  Consumers are not expected to notice an obvious difference, but are expected to get more meaningful and accurate search results.

This change has been anticipated as observers have been observing The Knowledge Graph, developed to understand relationships between people, places, and things.  Google has also made efforts in the past to build understanding of spoken language into its search process.

In addition to Hummingbird, Google also made some additional moves, including:  changes to improve the visual layout of mobile search, adding a new comparison feature to searches, and releasing a new app for Apple products, which allows users to create reminders on an Android device and receive them later on an Apple device.

The bigger implication that we see is the Hummingbird is a huge step forward into creating authentic representations of authority and connections with subject matter experts.  In our opinion, this move is also deeply integrated with Google+ and a commitment to creating a much higher degree of accountability to online messaging.  We feel that the organizations that are the most committed to a long-term holistic marketing communications program will benefit the most from these changes.

For more information on how your brand can embrace the new world of Hummingbird please contact us.