All about the Google Hummingbird Search Algorithm

How do Search Algorithms work anyways?

You are searching for an answer, what better place to look than the internet? But, with over hundreds of billions of web pages on the internet, how do we make sense of all this information? More importantly, how do we even know where to look? Fortunately, there are numerous search engines that harness their own search algorithms to crawl and index all information online. Google is by far and away the most popular search engine on the planet. By conducting a Google search you can rest assured that you will receive the most accurate information available.  The most recent Google algorithm is known as the Google Hummingbird search algorithm. When you search for something online, Google rankings systems analyze your search. Next, it sorts through the search index to provide you with relevant information in a matter of milliseconds.

What do we know about the Google Algorithm?

At the most rudimentary level, the Google Algorithm internalizes your search term in their index of the internet. Next, it analyzes where and how frequently those keywords appear on a web page and then provide you with the highest rated results. There are many other variables at play within their algorithm, including the Google PageRank.  PageRank was named after Google Co-Founder, Larry Page. PageRank counts not only the number but the quality of the links on a web page to determine a rough estimate of the importance of that web page and coincidently gives it a ranking. The PageRank algorithm was the first used by Google and still is a piece of the overall equation in the Google Hummingbird search algorithm.

So what is the Google Hummingbird Search Algorithm?

The Hummingbird update is revolutionary for numerous reasons. First and foremost the Google Hummingbird search algorithm is completely new and unique algorithm. Unlike the previous Google algorithm updates like Google Panda and Google Penguin that partial tweaked previous versions of the Google algorithm. Hummingbird is also revolutionary because it was built to be more accurate than ever by employing semantic search. Techopedia defines semantic search as follows:   

“Semantic search is a data searching technique in which a search query aims to not only find keywords but to determine the intent and contextual meaning of the words a person is using for search.”

Put simply, Hummingbird like no other Google Algorithm update before attempts to determine both the intent and the context of the user. A great example of this is if we do a Google search for the term ‘Panda’. With only a one-word, incredibly broad, search we could be looking for information on an actual Panda Bear, Google Panda and or even Kung Fu Panda.

Through the Hummingbird algorithm, Google as a first option provides information on the Panda Bear the mammal since it existed prior to both Google Panda and Kung Fu Panda. But, harnessing semantic search, Hummingbird also provides the user with numerous other possibilities for the one-word search. Hummingbird also incorporates YouTube videos and Google Maps if applicable to provide the user with the most relevant information. By simply searching ‘Panda’ a YouTube link for a music video for the song Panda by the rapper Desiigner, as well as a map to the closest Panda Express restaurant show up in the search results.

With 77% of American adults owning a smartphone, Hummingbird was also created to provide these individuals with the most advanced and precise Google search experience yet. As mentioned above, a search for ‘Panda’ provided the user with a map to the closest Panda Express. This particular feature is obviously based off of your real-time location of your mobile device. It will even provide users with directions on how to get to that location by either car, public transportation or on foot. In addition to the location, the user is also provided with pictures, reviews, as well as location hours. Just in case you are searching for a restaurant to order takeout, the phone number is listed as well.

Converse with Hummingbird

The Google Hummingbird search algorithm provides users with another revolutionary way to conduct a Google search. By using their smartphone, tablet or computer which is called ‘search by voice’. Through your Google browser on your tablet or computer or through the Google Search app on your iPhone or Android, users can verbally ask Google a question. The ‘search by voice’ feature has been around for a few years prior to the Google Hummingbird search algorithm. But, there are many new features that are truly revolutionary with the Hummingbird update. The fact that Google will now speak the answer back to you. For example, using your Google Search app on your iPhone you could ask, “When did George Washington die?”

Google will verbally tell you “George Washington died on December 14, 1799”. This is an incredibly convenient feature, particularly while you are driving and can’t use your hands. The real magic with Hummingbird is that you can continue the conversation with Google about George Washington. After asking when he died, I then asked: “where was he born”? The Google app then answered me back with “Westmoreland County, Virginia, VA”. Via the Hummingbird update, the Google Search app is able to now intuitively understand. It knows that when I said the word “he” I actually meant “George Washington”. This is because I asked a follow-up question directly after my initial inquiry about George Washington.

Google Hummingbird is your new weatherman

Another groundbreaking feature of the conversational search is how convenient and valuable even mundane searches can be. For example, I asked Google “Will it rain tomorrow?”.  Google then provided me with the following information based off of my current location.

Along with a verbal reply of “No, rain is not expected tomorrow in Salt Lake City. The forecast is 92 degrees and sunny”. While I didn’t ask if it would rain in Salt Lake or for an 8-day forecast. The Google Hummingbird search algorithm provided me with all the useful information I needed but didn’t ask for. This is a game changer for when you travel. The weather forecast is automatically updated for the location of your phone. Gone are the days of getting off your plane and looking for a newspaper. Gone are the days of pulling up Now, you can now simply just ask Google, “what’s the current weather?”.  Google Hummingbird is legitimately making life more convenient one search at a time.