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Hummingbird Update

In time for its 15th anniversary, Google made a change to its search algorithm with the hummingbird update (Hummingbird in Spanish). The change mainly affected mobile search results and Knowledge Graph expansion. Google Hummingbird was introduced in August 2013 and, according to Google statements, it affects about 90 percent of all searches globally. In this way, the algorithm update is of a magnitude similar to the Panda or Penguin updates. Californians again sought his name in the animal world.


Google Hummingbird brings the search engine closer to its goal of answering complex queries. The algorithm change mainly affects the "Knowledge Graph". It consists of a compilation of search results from different databases, which Google provides, for example, on a celebrity without having to first click on a result in the SERPs. From now on, the Knowledge Graph should produce comparisons immediately after being entered into the Google Doodle.

To respond to the request, Google uses different databases and orders the data clearly for the user. What is new is that it is now feasible to compare these data. After the Hummingbird update, the Knowledge Chart can now also list celebrities supported by the art form.

How it affects voice search

The complexity of voice searches through the Android app has been expanded after the Hummingbird update. The search function learns and can make connections to previous voice search requests.

Example: Use voice search with your Android mobile device to find a restaurant.

1. Question: Where is the nearest restaurant?

 Google offers the solution.

2. Question: What are its reviews?

Google recognizes that the pronoun refers to "restaurant" in the question above, and can rank your results accordingly.

Impact on SEO

Google search is increasingly moving towards semantic search with the Google Hummingbird update. The search engine recognizes more complex problems. What is an interesting trick for users, can have negative consequences for webmasters.

If, for example, a web page has managed to rank 1 in the comparison between oil and butter, expanding the Knowledge Graph may cause users to no longer click on organic search results, but on the information collected from Google. In the worst case, the result would be a huge loss of traffic. With the increased size of the Knowledge Graph, there is less space left for organic SERP listings that are in positions below the top 3, but on the first page of search results. Considering that many Internet users connect to the Internet with their mobile device or tablet, a search query that includes one of the comparisons mentioned above would take up almost the entire screen.

At the same time, the Google Hummingbird is always an obstacle for webmasters and SEOs if their businesses are directly affected by extensions. At first there were comparisons between food, buildings and planets. But what will happen once Google starts comparing products with each other and uses data provided by Google Shopping participants, no one can foresee. The more structured the data Google receives, the more the search engine provider can provide and collect its "own" search results. And the scarcest will become the space for results in the SERPs, which at the same time is limited by AdWords ads or product listing ads.

Furthermore, it is conceivable that a refinement of the search algorithm has the side effect that spam measures will be more accurately recognized by Google's antispam team.

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