Another loud ring came from Google’s bell tower and spread anxiety among the villagers of online marketing. A new algorithm called “Hummingbird”, released on September 27, 2013, Google’s 15th birthday.
Okay, so what is it this time?
Google is leaning towards a revolutionary mechanism for their search engine services, making way to a more “conversational” approach in queries. It was reported that the web giant has been working on this technology since 2003, and its launch marked a significant milestone for both the company and its users.
What is Hummingbird?
This algorithm update is developed to return intelligent search results to queries that are conversational in nature, just like when a person asks another person in a complete sentence, rather than by just typing important keywords.
For instance, a user would traditionally type in the words “Eiffel” “Tower” and “photos” when searching for that subject. With Hummingbird, one can type in “Give me photos of Eiffel Tower” and would get more intelligent results.
It gets even better: After that previous search, you could type in “How tall is it?” and Google will give you the height of the Eiffel Tower even without including the name on the query. It will automatically understand “it” as referring to your previous search subject.
Why, and why now?
According to Amit Singhal, senior vice president of search at Google, their algorithm had to “go through some fundamental rethinking of how we are going to keep our results relevant“. Relevant, in this case, pertains to the rise of mobile devices. Hummingbird was developed primarily to cater the mobile search trend that is slated to conquer the next decade.
This is the first step towards that goal, and with Hummingbird’s ability to understand complex sentence queries, Google aims to “perfect” its voice-search capabilities as well. In the near future, users would just grab their smartphone and ask (as in literally, ask) Google whatever they want to search about.
Is it going to kill SEO?
Google itself said SEO marketers have nothing to worry about. As far as B2B lead generation and content marketing are concerned, high quality articles are still the key to searchability. Google maintains its preference over content that are more relevant and of high standard, and this change with the way queries are addressed is not a threat to SEO.
Not everybody is convinced, though, so we’ll see what happens. For now, keep those content pieces coming.