In September of 2013 Google gave it’s search algorithm an overhaul. The dreaded Penguin or Panda updates were to an existing algorithm. Hummingbird is totally new algorithm. Google reports an algorithm hasn’t been rewritten this much since 2001.
With more focus on semantic search, Google now deals with complex search queries in a much better way. Overall it helps match complex queries with Web documents and pages. Google’s Hummingbird is trying to find the intent behind the queries. Still, your optimal goal should be to create quality, engaging, shareable, linkable content. For a more detailed article, check out Danny Sullivan’s review.
Other notable updates are it’s increase of conversational search brought on by the increased use of mobile devices and Social Signals. In a nutshell, Social Signals are a way for Google to better process your online social presence and apply it to your ranking.
Tips for taking advantage of the Hummingbird update.
• Businesses must understand and adapt to semantic search and the knowledge graph.
• Positioning yourself to be the provider of answers that people are seeking.
• Identify intent, needs and problems. Provide solutions and answers. Look at queries and what they really need. Give them what the people behind the queries want.