Content Marketing Blog

Google’s algorithm humming a new tune

This week Google celebrated its 15th birthday with a press conference and news of a brand new algorithm, which has been impacting content marketing strategies for about a month.

The new algorithm, code-named Hummingbird, is a semantic search that is designed to respond to all the words in a search – taking into account all possible meanings and connotations – instead of relying purely on keywords.

Although many had predicted the arrival of a new algorithm, it was surprising when Google revealed Hummingbird has been in effect for the past month, for the most part going unnoticed.

In the past, algorithms such as Panda and Penguin have had a significant impact on search results and page rankings, but Hummingbird has not had the same effect.

Google's Panda algorithm was released in 2011 as an attempt to eliminate low-quality sites from search results and reward those that have fresh and original content. Google's Penguin was released last year to stop websites from using unscrupulous linking techniques to gain higher search rankings.

Google's Search Chief Amit Singhal and Vice President and Google Fellow Ben Gomes, told Search Engine Land's Founding Editor Danny Sullivan about the changes, explaining that the algorithm was completely rewritten, replacing the old model while incorporating many former features such as PageRank.

Singhal told Sullivan that it is the most drastic change he has seen since he started working for Google in 2001.

Earlier this year in an interview with The Puget Business Journal, Google Fellow Jeff Dean said the company was looking to provide user-relevant answers, and also pick up on natural language

"Once you understand text, it changes the game," said Dean. "But if we really understand the text we see, and the text you entered for a query, that would fundamentally be pretty important."

The Hummingbird algorithm is designed to do exactly that. Previously if a user type in "acid reflux prescription", Google would list all the different drugs available, but now users would get all the relevant information about treatment, from medicinal solutions to natural remedies, Sullivan explained.

Posted by Dylan Brown