What is Google Hummingbird and What Does it Mean for the Advanced Searcher?

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Nov 1, 2013
This article is part of a series called News & Trends.

“The change needed to be done, because people have become so reliant on Google that they now routinely enter lengthy questions into the search box instead of just a few words related to specific topics.”

Amit Singhal – Google Chief of Search

On September 26, in celebration of Google’s 15th anniversary, Google executives announced that a new search algorithm called Hummingbird had been released and had been in use for about a month. We’ve covered Google algorithm updates on SourceCon in the past, but this one is a major change. Per the search marketing focused blog MOZ, Google updates its search algorithm 500-600 times per year. However, Amit Singhal, Google Chief of Search, stated that the last time a change of this magnitude took place within Google was in 2001.

What’s different about Google Hummingbird?

Hummingbird focuses on understanding natural language, or searches that are more similar to the way a person might speak, as opposed to shorter keyword based searches people often use to search.

Why do they call it Hummingbird?

Like a Hummingbird, this algorithm is intended to be “precise and fast.”

What do recruiters and sourcers need to do to prepare for the changes taking place in the internet search world?

This is a very complex question. To help answer this question, Laurie DesAutels and I will be interviewing David Amerland on Thursday at noon central during our weekly Google+ Hangout ON AIR. David is the author of Google Semantic Search, and is a regular contributor to multiple websites including including, and socialmediatoday

RSVP for the event here.

Below are a few articles to help you learn more about natural language search and Google “Hummingbird” in preparation for our Hangout next week.

Google Hummingbird Explained – Social Media Today

Using Extended Boolean to Achieve Semantic Search in Sourcing – Boolean Black Belt

Semantic Search Explained for Sourcing and Recruiting – Boolean Black Belt

FAQ: All About The New Google “Hummingbird” Algorithm – Search Engine Land

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This article is part of a series called News & Trends.
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