Google’s Hummingbird Update

At a press conference a month ago to celebrate its 15th anniversary, Google announced an algorithm update it code-named ‘Hummingbird’. Just like the humming sound the small bird makes when it rapidly flaps its wings (12-80 times  per second), the latest change to the search algorithm suggests that Google is working faster to give us the information we want in a more efficient way.

What exactly is a search algorithm?

Basically, it is a way a search engine categorises the billions of websites on the internet and ranks them on how important they are in regards to information you type in the search bar.


But how does that affect your website? Simple. Let’s say you’re a plumber in Perth and you have a website. Naturally, you want people who Google “Perth plumbers” to find you in the top search results. If Google thinks your website is more relevant to the topic of Perth plumbers than other websites, it’s going to rank you higher.

So what is all this Hummingbird business?

Hummingbird is the biggest change to the search algorithm in twelve years. Suffice to say, it’s a big deal to you and your website. With the update, Google is expanding what it calls the Knowledge Graph, which is Google’s effort to map relationships between things on the internet in order to answer more complicated queries.

The best way to explain this to you is with an example.


When I do a basic search for hummingbirds, I get information about everything Hummingbird related; the birds, the Google update, a fishing brand and a film. It has no idea what I really want, which is why it spewed out 30 million results in the hope that one of them might be useful. Who has the time to go through all this information? Certainly not your customers!

Let’s focus the scope a little bit more.

Picture of hummingbird

When I ask Google a more complicated query, it not only gives me nearly 30 times less results but provides information that is more pertinent to my search. So, Google is taking less into account simple keywords when ranking websites and more long-tail keywords (which is a term used for sentences that relate to the search topic).  In fact, one of the defining features of Hummingbird is the ability to search in a conversational manner. What this means is that Google is trying to incorporate the way people speak as part of its search engine. Why don’t you give it a go? Open up Google and ask it something. Try using terms like ‘what is the’ ‘show me’ ‘how do’ in your search query and see what it comes up with? Are the results closer to what you’ve been looking for rather than if you just used a single word?

But … Titan Digital already look after my SEO needs.  Does this mean all that work was for nothing?

Even though the update seems overwhelming, you don’t have to panic. Websites designed and optimised by companies like Titan, who have been doing the right thing all along, should not be affected. Furthermore, our tech savvy staff are on the ball about Hummingbird. They understand how it might affect the search ranking of your website. Be rest assured that they are constantly evolving to meet the demands presented by changes just like this one.

If you have any questions or concerns about how this latest alternation to search algorithms impacts on your website or your business, why don’t you contact one of our diligent professionals here at Titan Digital on  9242 5255 or, even if it is just to put your mind at ease.