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If you’ve visited today, you know that Google is celebrating their 15th birthday.  Yesterday they held a press event to talk about their future and announce the biggest change to the Google search algorithm since 2010.  The Google Hummingbird update is a complete overhaul of the search algorithm rather than the incremental tweaks that have been represented by Penguin, Panada, and others.  This update has been made because of how people’s browsing habits are changing.  If you’ve seen Google’s Nexus 7 ad then you have an idea of the changes Google is making with Hummingbird.

Google has said that searches are becoming more conversational and Hummingbird is meant to address that by making search results more contextually aware.  Now when you use Google on a mobile device you can search for things like “Where can I get lunch?” Google understands that most likely you are interested in lunch places close to your present location.  Before Hummingbird, Google did not understand the context of the query and might not display nearby results and you were very likely to receive results such as “Fast lunch recipes.”

Fortunately the Hummingbird update isn’t expected to have a negative impact on page rankings.  Google says that since searches are executed in context, more relevant results can be returned.  One example offered by Google is that a search for “pay your bills through citizens bank and trust” will now bring up the online banking log-in page for Citizen’s, while previously only the homepage was displayed.

What hasn’t changed is Google’s recommendations for improving your page ranking.  Producing high quality, original content will help your site in the rankings and now with Hummingbird’s context search your content has a better chance of being displayed to users who are looking for an answer that you address.