Google Hummingbird’s Focus on Semantic Search

Since day one, Google has evolved their search algorithm so that when you search, you get the best answer to your queries.

As you have probably noticed, search results today are really different from what you saw five years ago. With the Knowledge Graph, Carousels and Suggested Search, getting just the answer you are looking for has become more efficient than ever.


As this mobile devices have become dominant and searchers have become more sophisticated, search engines are working to evolve into answer engines – ones that understand searcher intent and context.

That’s the focus of Hummingbird – a shift from keywords to entities or, strings to things in an effort to process “real” speech patterns, otherwise known as “conversational” or “semantic” search queries.


For example, On a mobile device or even a desktop, you can type a question with context: How far to Starbucks? 

how far to starbucks

Google infers that you are asking to find the closest Starbucks to you and even takes the next step – giving not only distance, but directions.


Hummingbird uses Google’s Knowledge Graph, which was introduced last year. The Knowledge Graph allows the search engine to better understand the relationship between concepts instead of individual keywords by mapping relationships between “entities”, meaning people, places, and objects.


This network currently contains 570 million objects and over 18 billion facts that aim to uncover the most relevant connections between keywords and the answers searchers want to see.

What does this mean for marketers? It means we’re on the right path. We have to continue to create quality content that is valuable to our customers. The big change is that we have to shift focus from keywords to providing solutions to our customers’ needs.


Take a look at this #451HeatTV episode for more:

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Francis Skipper is the Executive Vice President of Digital Marketing at 451 Marketing @FSkip

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