The update of Google Hummingbird was activated in August 2013 and has been, so far, the one that has introduced the most changes to the algorithm, coming to be described as a “total rewrite” of the algorithm.
Although the Hummingbird update was of great magnitude, the effect of its changes was so subtle that the update went almost unnoticed.
The update was called Hummingbird because the changes made Google’s algorithm more accurate and faster. Thus, Google switches from comparing keywords in a query to keywords on a web page, which made Google more accurate in displaying pages that matched the search topic.
how was Hummingbird different from other algorithms such as Panda or Penguin? The main difference is that it is not a new algorithm, but was a total rewrite of the main algorithm.
One of the goals of the rewrite was to make the core algorithm more capable of making the queries match the web pagesas well as handling longer conversational search queries.
how did Hummingbird change searches?
One of the major changes Hummingbird introduced was the implementation of natural language processing.
The new algorithm made long conversational search queries to be understandable to the search engine. For example, after rewriting the algorithm, in some queries the engine is able to ignore some words to better understand the meaning of the search.
In this sense, before Hummingbird, Google tried to display a web page for each of the words that formed the queries. However, after the change, Google ignored those words that were not important to the meaning of the searches and focused only on those that were relevant to provide a result.
Another way in which it changed searches is that it introduced a system of rewriting, using techniques such as query expansion. To do this, he used synonyms and words with similar meanings.
Hummingbird also stopped exactly matching keywords in search queries to keywords on web pages.
On the other hand, one of the major changes introduced by this algorithm change was the advent of long tail keywords. With this change, these key phrases gained importance, improving the way we do searches and also the way Google displays the results.