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Google Hummingbird

Hummingbird is the codename given to a significant algorithm change in Google Search in 2013. Its name was derived from the speed and accuracy of the hummingbird.

The change was announced on September 26, 2013, having already been in use for a month. "Hummingbird" places greater emphasis on natural language queries, considering context and meaning over individual keywords. It also looks deeper at content on individual pages of a website, with improved ability to lead users directly to the most appropriate page rather than just a website's homepage.

Unlike the previous Panda and Penguin updates which were initially released as add-ons to Google’s existing algorithm, Hummingbird has been cited as a complete overhaul of the core algorithm. While it’s believed that many preexisting components of the core algorithm remained intact, Hummingbird signaled Google’s commitment to an increasingly sophisticated understanding of the intent of searchers’ queries with the goal of matching them to more relevant results.

How does the Hummingbird update impact SEO?

The clearest impact of the Google Hummingbird update on SEO was a decreased focus on keywords. It is no longer as important that the words you use in your content directly match the words used in the person’s query.

While some argued that this meant keywords were obsolete, really it just means that their importance has shifted. Now, instead of writing content for specific keywords, you need to create content that addresses particular topics. Keyword research, like the capabilities you have through the BrightEdge Data Cube, remains important because it sheds light on the topics that people search for the most. Performing this research will help you align your content creation process with what your targeted customers want to see.

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