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Google Hummingbird is a major algorithm change Google officially announced in September 2013. The Hummingbird algorithm substantially altered the way Google search results work in an effort to improve the way users interact with those results and provide more direct answers to specific queries. This is part of Google's process to shift from simply searching individual query words to instead understanding the meaning of a query as a whole, and therefore providing more useful and relevant results.
Those looking at Google’s trajectory can point out major updates like the Caffeine update in 2010, or its Panda and Penguin updates, as examples of Google’s efforts to promote relevant search results, deal with all kinds of black hat SEO or marketing practices, and generally police the efforts of website builders to attract readers. Like other updates, Hummingbird could lead to changes in Web traffic for some sites. In general, though, consistent changes to Google algorithms are happening on a frequent basis, and may also have their own effects on Web traffic.
One of the major new elements in Hummingbird is called conversational search. This general concept is that of replacing the traditional idea of using specific individual keywords to rank pages without taking into account the rest of the words in a phrase or sentence. By analyzing some of the less important words in a search phrase, experts believe Hummingbird will be able to further refine the results that searchers get. This conversational search is being driven by an increase in mobile devices and talking into a phone to get an answer as opposed to typing into a keyboard at a desktop.