Google has a new search algorithm, the system is used to sort through all the information it has when you search and come back with answers. It is called Hummingbird. Google says that the name comes from being precise and fast.
Launched just few days ago on the 26th September 2013 is promising to revolutionize internet search engines returns with significantly better results.
1. What is a search engine algorithm?
That is a technical term for what you can think of as a recipe that Google uses to sort through the billions of web pages and other information it has, in order to return what it believes are the best answers.
Think of a car built in the 1950s. It might have a great engine, but it might also be an engine that lacks things like fuel injection or be unable to use unleaded fuel. When Google switched to Hummingbird, it is as if it dropped the old engine out of a car and put in a new one. It also did this so quickly that no one really noticed the switch.
3. The new engine is using old parts?
Yes and No. Some of the parts are perfectly good, so there was no reason to toss them out. Other parts are constantly being replaced. In general, Hummingbird — Google says — is a new engine built on both existing and new parts, organized in a way to especially serve the search demands of today, rather than one created for the needs of ten years ago, with the technologies back then.
4. What type of new search activity does Hummingbird help with?
Conversational search is one of the prime examples Google gave. People, when speaking searches, may find it more useful to have a conversation.
“What’s the closest place to buy the iPhone 5s to my home?” A traditional search engine might focus on finding matches for words — finding a page that says “buy” and “iPhone 5s,” for example.
Hummingbird should better focus on the meaning behind the words. It may better understand the actual location of your home, if you have shared that with Google. It might understand that “place” means you want a brick-and-mortar store. It might get that “iPhone 5s” is a particular type of electronic device carried by certain stores. Knowing all these meanings may help Google go beyond just finding pages with matching words.
In particular, Google said that Hummingbird is paying more attention to each word in a query, ensuring that the whole query — the whole sentence or conversation or meaning — is taken into account, rather than particular words. The goal is that pages matching the meaning do better, rather than pages matching just a few words.
5. Does it really work? Any before-and-afters?
We don’t know. There’s no way to do a “before-and-after” ourselves, now. Pretty much, we only have Google’s word that Hummingbird is improving things. However, Google did offer some before-and-after examples of its own; that it says shows Hummingbird improvements.
6. Could it be making Google worse?
Almost certainly not. While we cannot say that Google’s got better, we do know that Hummingbird — if it has indeed been used for the past month — hasn't sparked any wave of consumers complaining that Google’s results suddenly got bad. People complain when things get worse; they generally don’t notice when things improve.
7. Does this mean SEO is dead?
No, SEO is not yet again dead. In fact, Google’s saying there’s nothing new or different SEOs or publishers need to worry about. Guidance remains the same, it says: have original, high-quality content. Signals that have been important in the past remain important; Hummingbird just allows Google to process them in new and hopefully better ways.
8. Does this mean I am going to lose traffic from Google?
If you haven’t in the past month, well, you came through Hummingbird without a scratch. After all, it went live about a month ago. If you were going to have problems with it, you would have known by now.
If you did lose traffic it was perhaps due to Hummingbird, but Google stressed that it could also be due to some of the other parts of its algorithm, which are always being changed, tweaked or improved. There’s no way to know.