Google Releases a New Search Engine Update Dubbed ‘Hummingbird’

It’s hard to imagine that Google has only been around for 15 years. Much has changed to its search engine since that time, but its primary objectives remains largely the same: To deliver the most relevant search results. To do so, Google constantly refines its search engine algorithm.

Below are three of the most significant updates from the Google and their primary purpose:

  • Caffeine: Launched in the middle of 2010, this update introduced a new indexing system to make data collection more efficient to further improve search results.
  • Panda : Launched in early 2011, this update primarily focused on reducing the rankings for poor quality sites based on certain criteria.
  • Penguin : Released over a year after Panda, the Penguin update penalised sites involved in link schemes in a deliberate attempt to manipulate rankings.

And now Google has quietly released a new update to its algorithm dubbed Hummingbird.

Hummingbird Algorithm Update Overview

The way we interact with search engines has drastically changed compared to 10 years ago. Users can now gather information with their smartphones at the touch of a button. Siri and Google Now take it a step further where you can directly interact with your dee using your voice alone.

Amit Singhai, senior e president for Google, has reported the new Hummingbird update is the most major overhaul in the search engines in over three years.

We’ll keep improving Google Search so it does a little bit more of the hard work for you. This means giving you the best possible answers, making it easy to have a conversation and helping out before you even have to ask.”

The Hummingbird update is essentially a core algorithm change to semantic search and the Knowledge Graph.
Here is a brief overview of how this works.


The search results are now much more visual for certain queries so you can quickly glean the information you need without having to actually click through a page.

Want to know the main differences between Earth and Jupiter? Or how butter and margarine are different?
A search for compare Earth and Jupiter” shows the following results:

  • Clicking the arrow gives even more information.

This is what the results look like for compare butter and margarine”:

  • Key information is available at a glance and normal search results can still be seen below the graph. This is just one example of the new Hummingbird update in action which also aims to deliver a more simplified design across all platforms including smartphones and tablets.

What the Update Means for SEO

News of algorithm updates are always fraught with panic from site owners. Perhaps the biggest concern is how much of an impact this update will have on search engine rankings or whether SEO is still effective.
It is.

Singhai claims the Hummingbird update understands concepts behind complex queries to deliver better results. The emphasis on relevancy is still clear and the Webmaster Guidelines remain completely the same.

  • Produce useful content
  • Avoid manipulation tactics
  • Focus on relevance

If your website is already ranking well then chances are you do not have to do anything differently. Simply focus on creating high-quality content and building relevant links to your pages.


Google has always strived to deliver the best search engine. One look at their mission statement and this fact is immediately clear:

Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”

The Hummingbird update is no exception.

Google will continue to make modifications to its algorithm accordingly. SEO is still an effective marketing strategy to position your business in front of a global audience. But delivering quality content matters more than ever.


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