Google Introduces Hummingbird Algorithm To Aid Voice-Based Queries

In an effort to understand and process more complex queries, Amit Singhal, Google senior vice president of search, said Thursday that the company released an algorithm about a month ago it calls Hummingbird.

Google is making the change to ensure that search query results work well with voice-based queries, because when people speak rather than type on a keyboard or even a touchscreen, they use more complex phrases.

It's part of an initiative to understand more complex search queries. Traditional keyword-based systems no longer work as well because there's a growing need to match concepts and meanings, aside from just the word. The new algorithm makes search results more relevant, as people begin to ask engines to answer more complex questions.

"We keep expanding features of the Knowledge Graph so it can answer more questions -- even those that don’t have a simple answer," Singhal wrote in a blog post.

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Google also introduced a new look for ads on Google Search for mobile phones and tablets. It’s clean, simple and optimized for touch, with results clustered on cards to focus on answers rather than more questions. 

The algorithm allows searchers to ask questions such as: "Tell me about Impressionist artists” to not only see the top-line results for that artist, but dive into the content to learn more about each. "Switch to Abstract artists" means using a new filter tool.

Authorship becomes more important. For content producers, it means the content must be the most relevant piece of content for the query, according to Rick Egan, vice president, group account director at The Search Agency. "Strategically, sites that are developing rich content that help to answer questions increase their chances of ranking well," he said. "Sites will need to rely heavily on both rich content, but also maintain well designed sites that make it easier for Google to dub them the content king for that query."

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