Google has announced a new change to its search algorithms. The update – which has been codenamed ‘Hummingbird’ – is the first of its kind for a good three years, and as such will likely give many SEOs a few sleepless nights within the next couple of months.
Discussing the update in a presentation this week, the search engine giant was careful to avoid specifics, but did state that overall it was designed to help search engines deal with more natural and conversational interactions from users.
Essentially, Hummingbird will focus on interactions from voice requests made using Siri and other popular voice-activation systems. Doing so will mean that more and more queries take the form of full questions rather than key terms, ie. ‘Where is the nearest Indian restaurant’ rather than ‘Indian restaurants Chicago.’
According to Google, Hummingbird is focused on ranking information based on understanding search requests better, unlike the previous update – ‘Caffeine’ – which was more focused on indexing websites more effectively.
The new update works as an extension of the ‘Knowledge Graph’ which Google introduced last year, and which was in itself focused on making interactions a bit more human.
Danny Sullivan, founder of Search Engine Land, said:
“If you’ve been watching this space, you’d have already seen how they’ve integrated it into the [predictive search app] Google Now and conversational search.
“To know that they’ve put this technology further into their index may have some big payoffs but we’ll just have to see how it plays out.”