Google Algorithm

Hummingbird Update

Glossary  |  2 mins

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The Hummingbird Update is a Google update that was first rolled out in August 2013, with the purpose of helping Google serve up better results based on searcher intent, and reducing the amount of spammy, low quality content that had previously been saturating certain search engine results.

While previous algorithm updates had been characterised by penalising and de-ranking sites and pages, the Hummingbird update was designed to serve up more relevant and nuanced results for search queries, rather than punishing sites that go against Google’s guidelines.

Hummingbird also introduced Google knowledge graphs – a set of rich data which frequently allowed searchers to find the information they were searching for without ever actually clicking on an organic result.

With the Google algorithm Hummingbird update, Google became more adept at determining what users are looking for from the content of their searches. This has made SERPs less diverse, and required SEOs to create content that addresses search intent more effectively.

The most important practical step that SEOs can take to align their sites with Hummingbird is to apply natural language in site content, and present information in a way that reflects how your target audience words their queries.

This will naturally ensure that all new and existing site content adheres to Google’s exacting standards of quality, and avoids outdated, spammy practices which target keywords in isolation.

By leveraging long-tail keywords that exhibit a more conversational tone used by modern searchers, and tailoring content to searcher intent, SEOs can improve the odds of strong organic and local rankings, and help their content find places in answer boxes, knowledge graphs, and other rich results.

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Hummingbird Update FAQs

What is the main purpose of Google's hummingbird update?

Google’s hummingbird update was created to help Google understand searcher intent, and serve results based on what users are actually looking for, rather than content which simply contains certain keywords.

Did the Google hummingbird update affect SEO?

The Google hummingbird update’s main effect on SEO was generating a new emphasis on searcher intent. When the update was rolled out, it raised the rank of content which addressed Google users’ intentions, and framed target keywords using more natural and conversational language.

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