A Layman’s Guide to Understanding the Google Hummingbird Algorithm


Let’s start with a “before and after” example. Search for the phrase “attractions in Sydney”. Don’t just read; actually do it. Did you notice a bar that read “Sydney points of interest”? Did you also see that the same bar had 10 different images to help you know more about the attractions? Go back and check again, in case you missed it the first time.

Just so you know, had you searched for the same phrase prior to the Hummingbird update, the horizontal bar wouldn’t have been there. In fact, you would have got the usual results, comprising paid and organic listings.

This brings us to the obvious: With Hummingbird in the picture, Google is trying to make the data available in a better format. More importantly, the search engine major is advocating the delivery of the data in a faster and more efficient way, through this update.

Knowledge Graph Bar

Talking of the bar, well, you may not always find it when you search for something online. Take for example, the phrase “hearing aid providers in Sydney”. You will get the same results that you would have got otherwise. That’s because in this case, a commercial search is involved. Apparently, Hummingbird has no effect on any search of this sort.


The focus continues to be on quality content. Authorship also enjoys the same weightage, may be even more. That said, with Google now answering the questions directly, at times you may need to look beyond content and think out of the box.


Every time Google comes up with new algorithms or updates, there’s panic all over. Everyone’s like “oh my God, my rankings are gone”. It’s only ironical that half of these updates are not as bad as they are made to look like. But, no one cares. To top it all, some self-proclaimed experts come up with guides that are full of technical jargon. So, it should come as no surprise that they are doing the same, now that Hummingbird is here. However, this time, it is different. That’s because Google chose to keep mum prior to the update. It did make the matters worse. This guide should be seen as an attempt to clear the air.

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