The Hummingbird update was released by Google on August 2013 and introduced by their representatives as the first significant update since Caffeine at 2010, and the biggest update of its kind since 2001.
This update is actually an upgrade to Google’s core algorithm, and it affects the great majority of queries – according to Google, about 90% of search result queries were affected. With that being said, this change is relatively small news for website owners and SEOs due to its infrastructural ‘behind-the-scenes’ nature, and for the most part does not aim to influence search result rankings.
Hummingbird aims to better understand the web surfer’s purpose and interpret the meaning of their searches. Among other things – the update is supposed to affect particularly long queries containing natural language, and try and present users with more relevant results. It should be noted that Google has maintained a high level of ambiguity about this update’s exact influence, and most of the information found on the web regarding the update is based on assumptions.
As to SEOs, this update did not cause a need for any changes in work methods, but rather emphasized the need to focus on quality content in order to attract web surfers through search results.