Google has unveiled several updates to its search to mark the company’s 15th year anniversary.
Most prominent among the new features is Google’s new search algorithm called “Hummingbird.” It is designed to sort through all the information it has when you search and come back with answers returning better results. In general, Hummingbird Google says — “is a new engine built on both existing and new parts, organized in a way to especially serve the search demands of today, rather than one created for the needs of ten years ago, with the technologies back then.”
What type of “new” search activity does Hummingbird help? ‘Conversational Search’ is one of the biggest examples Google gave. People, when speaking searches, may find it more useful to have a conversation.
For example: “What’s the closest place to buy an apple computer near my home?” A traditional search engine might focus on finding matches for words — finding a page that says “buy” and “apple compute”. Hummingbird might focus on the meaning behind the words. It might understand that the word “place” means you want a brick-and-mortar store. It might know that “apple computer” is a particular type of computer carried only by certain stores. Knowing all these meanings may help Google go beyond only finding pages with words that match. The whole sentence or meaning — is taken into account. The end goal is to find the pages that correspond to the meaning in its entirety.
Google has been doing conversational search, but it had only been doing it really within its Knowledge Graph answers. Hummingbird is designed to apply the meaning technology to billions of pages from across the web, in addition to Knowledge Graph facts, which may yield better results.
The new algorithm doesn’t mean page rank or SEO is dead. Page rank is one of over 200 major factors that figure into the Hummingbird mix. Guidance remains the same, it says: “have original, high-quality content.” Signals that have been important in the past remain important. Hummingbird just allows Google to process them in new and hopefully better ways.
Hummingbird was implemented about a month ago, but Google announced the change late last week.