Making Sense of Google Hummingbird Search Algorithm, Knowledge Graph and Keyword Not Provided

Google launched a new Hummingbird search algorithm, apparently because it is introduced to make search “precise and fast.”

According to Amit Singhal, Senior VP of Search, Google, “Hummingbird” algorithm was launched about a month ago. This new search algorithm is currently affecting 90 percent of worldwide searches via Google.

Google has made Hummingbird Search algorithm to match the meaning of queries with that of documents on the Internet. To me it sounds like something that would aid what Google previously launched and what is known as Knowledge Graph.

To me, this Hummingbird upgrade better explains Google going completely SSL i.e. search referral data returning Not Provided in Google Analytics. As a Search Engine Marketer, Hummingbird Search Algorithm comes as a breather to me.

Hummingbird Search Algorithm

Hummingbird Search Algorithm – Fast, precise and relevant search result Photo Courtesy Terry Sohl @

I believe that Hummingbird Search Algorithm is going to reinforce – with a force – what Google has always cautioned about especially to SEOs who manipulate search algorithms for better ranking.

Hummingbird Search Algorithm is meant to retrieve search results not based on keywords but on relevance, meaning and context of the phrase typed by user. Now keyword is any way redundant because most of the users type phrases.

From the data of the sites I have managed, I have noticed that most of the users prefer 3-5 words when they make a search query which goes as high as phrases 20 letters long.

Google Hummingbird search algorithm update is aimed to understand the concept behind these phrases rather than to look for matching keywords.

What it entails is that Google search will increasingly focus on conversational results. This is something very similar to and will significantly enhance Google’s Knowledge Graph search. Both Knowledge Graph and Hummingbird Search Algorithm are aimed to present search result in a very simple way

It is something as close as Google can get to the way a human brain might think. Both these changes are aimed to integrate multiple complex search ideas into most relevant result.

These recent update are also aimed at smartphones and mobile users who tend to use the voice search functionality. Users even use voice search through their desktop hence the shift to this “conversational search”.

In an excellent and lucid example Danny Sullivan explains the difference at Search Engine Land :

“What’s the closest place to buy the iPhone 5s to my home?” A traditional search engine might focus on finding matches for words — finding a page that says “buy” and “iPhone 5s,” for example.

Hummingbird should better focus on the meaning behind the words. It may better understand the actual location of your home, if you’ve shared that with Google. It might understand that “place” means you want a brick-and-mortar store. It might get that “iPhone 5s” is a particular type of electronic device carried by certain stores. Knowing all these meanings may help Google go beyond just finding pages with matching words.

So why do Google’s Knowledge Graph, Hummingbird Search Algorithm and Not Provided search referral data together makes a lot of sense?

I say this is great news for content marketers and those who have always produced great content and believe in doing so to add value to internet and to help users looking for solution to their queries online.

  1.  While first 2 of them are meant to simplify complex search, keyword not provided will ensure that Black hatters have less tool at their disposal to manipulate search result
  2. With keyword not provided, content marketers and those producing quality and useful content (the latest revelation by Google  about Content Quality Vs Usefulness) would rank higher with higher probability of ranking over those sites that are on top just because of SEO manipulation.
  3. It will encourage content creators and marketers to come up with useful and new solutions and idea that would in turn benefit users.
  4. It will definitely raise the entry barrier which unfortunately is virtually nonexistent when it comes to online/search engine marketing because quality content will become a prerequisite for search engine ranking performance.
  5. It will mean that content marketers and creators will eventually create encyclopedic content to leverage Knowledge Graph and Hummingbird Search Algorithm whereas keywords will be relegated as less important.


Keywords will still be important just as backlinks to your website are for search engine ranking performance (SERP)

Despite the Hummingbird Search Algorithm change and despite the Penguins and Pandas and EMDs, a link to your site from relevant, quality and authority website still remain the single most important factor when it comes to your site performance in SERP

As a search engine marketer, you must know the importance of keyword prominence. We have been told by Google, by Moz by Matt, by Rand, by Danny and various champions of search engine marketers since the beginning how important it is to include the keyword in the title, description and URL of the webpage/content we are creating.

Believe me as long as there is search engine, this will remain the fact just as the backlinks from authority sites. What won’t work now is keyword stuffing but LSI would still add relevance to your web copy.

Just as the way link building became inbound marketing and SEOMOZ became MOZ, the way to do keyword research and inclusion in the copy will change. The content creators will need to evolve to adapt to these changes incorporated by Google in their search algorithm.

Content will rule now but unfortunately, I still come across some pathetic sites coming on top of Google Search for some very competitive keywords. I suppose, the changes by Google is working but still it’s just an algorithm. Just as one believes there STRONG password would never get hacked but they do, some sites do manage to dodge the updates of Google, after all it’s just an algo.

What’s your thought on the latest update by Google? Do you agree with what I have to say or do you disagree? Do let me know through your comments on how you feel about these latest changes in Google Search especially the Hummingbird Search Algorithm Update.

Google also announced updates in Knowledge Graph Search on its 15th birthday.

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