A little over a week ago, Google unveiled their Hummingbird algorithm update on the search giant’s 15th birthday. The Hummingbird update may turn out to be the Mother of all Google updates when all of the research is in.
The new Hummingbird algorithm is said to have been built from the ground up unlike Penguin or Panda updates which concern smaller algorithm changes. Google’s Matt Cutts says that the Hummingbird update is less focused on keywords and more focused on anticipating what a user’s intent is when searching.
The “hummingbird” part of the update is meant to mean “precise and fast.” One of the biggest changes for the new algo is attention to conversational search. If you can remember back to the old days when Ask.com was still AskJeeves.com and people would type in questions and the quick witted butler would try to answer them, then Hummingbird is supposed to handle this at a much higher level.
On October 4, 2013, Google launched its fifth and latest Penguin update dubbed 2.1 (yes, it is confusing). Penguin 2.1 is supposed to go deeper into websites checking for spam. Cutts says this update affects ~1% of the searches. According to the webmaster community, however, it may be more severe.
To use one more bird metaphor in this blog post, many webmasters are now looking to duck and cover.