Google Hummingbird, a new search algorithm used by Google, was formally introduced last September even though Google starting using Hummingbird in August. The primary stated reason for this update is for Google to provide more relevant search results.
Because Hummingbird rewards relevant content (and links), it will enhance both the searching and reading experience. Past techniques such as keyword density checkers and link builders were frustrating to searchers, readers, and web content writers. Keyword density checkers forced writers to make content that often times felt forced and awkward. Link builders produced ads that interrupted our reading by blocking content or producing audio to ensure we noticed them. Now, with Hummingbird, not only will SEO reward more relevant content, it will also make SEO more natural and less forced.
Long ago, Google punished keyword stuffing and encouraged more content per page. Although this probably won’t change, Hummingbird will demand keywords to be better integrated into the content. Users aren't necessarily looking for all the keywords they type in but they are looking for relevant content based on some of their keywords. For example, a user is looking for a forensic accountant but is unfamiliar with the term “forensic.” The user searches for “accountant who looks into crime” but the search results will find articles on forensic accounting. Add “Denver” to the search, and there will not only be listings for Denver-area forensic accountants, there will be listings for local college programs in the discipline as well. Another user might want a CPA in their neighborhood. This user searches for “Sloan’s Lake CPA” or “Sloan’s Lake Accountant.” Right now, the user will get a listing of all accountants because only Dex, Citysearch, and Yellowbook are this specific. With Hummingbird, if one of those accountants is mentioned as either a Sloan’s Lake accountant or CPA in a website, blog, or news article, this accountant’s information will appear in the search results.
Previously, Google frequently had to update its search algorithm to block or dissuade tricksters. Just in 2013, Google had Panda, Payday, Penguin, Caffeine, and Phantom algorithms before Hummingbird. While Penguin’s anti-spam efforts will continue and Caffeine will continue to reward content updates, Hummingbird will be the new normal, for now. All in all, Hummingbird has not completely killed SEO as we know it. In fact, some argue it's easier than ever; just ensure your web content is relevant so searchers can easily find you.