Hummingbird — Google’s Algorithm Update And What It Means For You.


(December 11, 2013) – For their 15th anniversary, Google unveiled their shiny new search engine algorithm. Dubbed “Hummingbird,” it’s the search engine giant’s largest update since they launched “Caffeine” in 2009. This update effects 90% of searches, so it is wise to be aware of the implications.

First things first: this update is a good thing! If your business diligently adheres to ‘white hat’ SEO practices (and we hope yours does), then this update will benefit you. Instead of emphasizing focus on mere keywords such as “Boston videographer” (as was previously the case), Hummingbird responds best to contextualized search data that emulates human conversational inquiry, such as “What is the best video production company in Boston for live events?

This means that sites overloading their SEO with search keywords in an effort to nab search results won’t benefit, and sites that emphasize quality content and employ honest SEO practices will. This levels the playing field while rewarding honesty and providing search results of higher quality and relevance to searchers.

What does it mean for you? You are more in control of your sites’ search rankings. Rather than using tricks to pull high Google rankings, now what you need is honesty, and you know what they say about honesty.

However, because keywords don’t carry the algorithmic weight they once did, SEO specialists must now focus on the relevance and breadth of their content. That is to say, searchers now have multiple dimensions of inquiry that will potentially draw them toward your site, so you need to cater to all the possibilities.


For example, a search consisting of “what is the best video editing software?” would previously pick up the keywords ‘best’ and ‘video editing software’ and then look for sites that include these terms. Now, however, Hummingbird realizes the term ‘best’ could possibly mean many things; the best bang for the buck, the best rated, the most used, the best functionality, et cetera. Content should now expand to cover as many meanings as possible to be more appetizing to the Hummingbird algorithm.

Get to know Hummingbird and embrace the change. Though it’ll take some getting used to, it will prove better for websites and searchers alike.