What You Should Know About the Google Hummingbird Update

We have talked about the importance of Google’s Panda and Penguin updates in the previous lesson. The fact is Google Panda affected 12% of the search results and Google Penguin just 4%. The importance of these updates by far outweighs the number of search results impacted by them, as they were Google’s first frontal assault on Black Hat SEO.

Here, we shall talk about the Hummingbird update, which is arguably the most important Google update ever, as it has a direct impact on 90% of the search results. Hummingbird changed a lot about how Google operated its search engine. Introduced in 2013, Hummingbird took away Google from  using exact-match keywords to something much more ambitious, Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI).

LSI has always been talked about for long in the field of mathematics, but it had never really been translated into something practical and real until the Hummingbird update. LSI basically allows a comparison of words in phrases using mathematical computations to come up with similar words or phrases that closely matched the original wording structure.

Over a period of time, Google has been able to improve the relevancy of its search engines, Hummingbird helped to make this a reality. So, if you search for a term such as “Best Business Laptops”, because of the Hummingbird update, you will be able to find results with similar – not just exact – keywords, such as “Top 5 Business Laptops”.

It is no longer necessary that the search results have to be the same as the original keyword search, unless specifically stated by the user. Now, Google just finds the relevant listings with the most trusted results on top – as long as it matches the most trusted nearly-exact match.

Hummingbird has completely changed the way we use Google. Another thing Google did with this update was to answer questions posed by users immediately after the search was made. For example, when you write “EPL Results” in the search, you will immediately get all the English Premier League football results at the top of Google’s SERPs. If you write “dollar to euro”, then there will be a currency conversion tool at the top of the SERPs.  

Hummingbird has really simplified the way people search. As a website owner, you no longer have to repeat the same keyword or keyword phrase multiple times in your content to get it to rank high. You should instead focus on creating relevant content with similar keywords – not necessarily exact matches of the same.

What Hummingbird has done is to effectively end the Black Hat tactic of keyword stuffing, which is over using a keyword in your content to get it to rank higher. Hummingbird was also punitive against over stuffing of the keywords in the keyword META tag. The keyword META tag is now no longer required – it is obsolete as Google pulls relevant excerpts from the page content, title and meta description by default to get information about a particular web page.

How important is the Hummingbird update? Apart from the fact it affects 90% of the search results, it makes the search results more relevant than ever before. Hummingbird has been the culmination of Google’s frontal assault on Black Hat SEO which began with the Panda update of 2011. With Hummingbird in action, Black Hats have lost all hope.

Hummingbird not only makes Google more efficient, it reduces the time we spend searching on Google for what we want. It ensures that we get the most relevant answers in the shortest time possible.

Hummingbird has helped Google to clean up the World Wide Web for the rest of us. Of the 4 billion searches made on a daily basis on Google, over 3.6 billion are directly impacted by the Hummingbird update. That should give you a good indication of the 2013 update’s importance to Google.

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