...a better understanding of the concept of human language
On September 27, 2013 Google announced a major search algorithm release called Hummingbird. and we have had a few calls from UK businesses who have seen their websites plummet out of the index and have blamed it on Google's current update. However it is our understanding that Hummingbird is a search improvement and not an index reorganisation. Google told us the name come from being “precise and fast," however a Hummingbird can fly backwards and this is important in the name choice as this is all about context search.
What do we mean by that?
OK, the index is a list of all the websites Google copies and then displays to a user. A search improvement is how a user can access that list. Hummingbird is not looking for toxic links nor looking to catch out the overly aggressive SEO, it is about improving the way we use Google.
Imagine talking to Google (as this is the future: voice search), Hummingbird is about understanding a users search and trying to stay with the user as he / she continues searching.
Hummingbird is about connecting search requests or the ability to recognise the previous search or "backwards" search after all a hummingbird can fly backwards. Remember "Using previous search" which will soon be displayed on Google.
Pre Hummingbird - 'Parrot Searching'
Search (Google only) was previously an exercise of single data inputs. You would type in a word or sentence and press 'search'. If you were not happy with the results then you would amend the query and press search again. The two instances were not related in any way and Google would treat each search as a single entity.
One of Hummingbird's features is the beginnings of virtual intelligence being applied to a search. The concept is for the search engine to work with you to understand what information you are looking for in your repeated searches.
So what does it mean to my company's SEO
Not a lot really. This is a development to improve search methods and allows faster access to find the information on what you want. It is a major improvement and follows in the footsteps of predictive search (where a search engine guesses what you are typing in.
Future for SEO
If you are creating the very best website you can then you have no worries. Hummingbird will reward websites that are professionally written (by experts, not content writers). If anything it is further step towards semantic search, think synonyms, antonyms and the use of language. See advanced search engine optimisation.