A significant announcement was made at Google’s recent PR event, held at Menlo Park, California – the home of Google's humble beginnings. Not only was Hummingbird hatched, but this event commemorated fifteen years of success for the internet search giant.
The exposition of Google Hummingbird marks the biggest change to the search engine’s algorithm for over 10 years. Though Google regularly announces updates and enhancements, such as Google Caffiene which was launched in 2010, this is the search engine's first new algorithm since 2001. This change aims to overcome the evolution in the behaviour of today's Web surfers, who are using Google to find data by means of colloquial search terms.
As more and more people are using the internet than ever before, search engine usage has become a part of everyday life. The amount of data online has grown exponentially and this, coupled with users' familiarity with Google, has resulted in a conversational tone plus complex and lengthy search queries in order to find relevant content. Within their official blog, Google states that these new improvements aim to overcome ‘conversational search’ particularly due to the growing number of Smartphone and voice-based searches - the most notable of these being Apple iPhone's Siri. Though this change has only just been announced, Google launched Hummingbird's semantic search quietly around two months ago – saving the big unveil for Google’s crystal anniversary.
Senior Vice President of Search, Amit Singhal explains,
Remember what it was like to search in 1998? You'd sit down and boot up your bulky computer, dial up on your squawky modem, type in some keywords, and get 10 blue links to websites that had those words...The world has changed so much since then: billions of people have come online, the Web has grown exponentially, and now you can ask any question on the powerful little device in your pocket."
It’s understood that Hummingbird gets its name from the nature of the new algorithm which has been created in the hope of returning relevant results with precision and speed. Aside from the benefits for users, Google Hummingbird seeks to create a more even playing field for website publishers. Companies that have been able to afford to bid on popular keywords have prevailed; but Hummingbird's semantic search results are far less predictable and should allow smaller, niche businesses to climb to a higher search engine ranking.
Any changes to Google’s all-important algorithms often make online companies quiver in their boots, and Hummingbird is set to affect around 90% of search results worldwide. However, although Google assures SEO experts that they have nothing to fear (as long as they are sticking to Google’s existing guidelines of original, high-quality content) a number of online companies have already complained of a loss in rankings. As Google launched Hummingbird with very little fuss, we have been using the new algorithm for approximately 6-8 weeks now, so if you have survived this period unscathed, then it’s likely that your current SEO is on-point for Hummingbird. But if you have noticed an inexplicable dwindle in your website figures, then Hummingbird may be the culprit.
At Mercurytide, we have a team of SEO-savvy staff who are on hand to help you to make the most out of your website and internet traffic. Don’t hesitate to pick up the phone to one of our experts today.