We’ve grown accustomed to Google updating parts of their algorithms they use for search. So far in 2013, we’ve seen tweaks to Penguin and Panda that have affected massive parts of the population…but we haven’t seen anything yet. Now, Google is rolling out Hummingbird, which represents a much larger change. The easiest way to think of it is that Penguin and Panda were new parts on an old engine. Hummingbird is a brand new car, one that’s going to have a major affect on pretty much every aspect of SEO.
I want to start by saying that Hummingbird is still going to be using more or less the entirety of Penguin and Panda, so don’t think you’ll be getting a reprieve from those.
Hummingbird, named because it’s quick and accurate, is set to affect about 90% of all searches. It actually started rolling out about a month ago, but Google just announced it properly yesterday. So, if you’re wondering how hard you’ll be affected by the change, just look back about a month ago and see if you can see any major shifts. We’ll bet that you do.
Hummingbird is being called the culmination of 15 years of work. It was revealed by Google’s senior VP—Amit Singhal—one day before the search engine’s 15th birthday. He spoke to the press at Menlo Park:
“Our algorithm had to go through some fundamental rethinking of how we are going to keep our results relevant,” Singhal said.
There’s still a lot we have to learn about Hummingbird, but we do have a basic idea of the major difference. Hummingbird’s specialty is parsing full questions quicker. Results for keywords shouldn’t change too much, but results for queries that are typed out as questions should receive better, more accurate answers.
We’ll keep on top of the story and update when we know more about the update. In the meantime, go back about a month and check your SEO. Let us know what you find.