Like the changing of the seasons, it’s time, yet again, for another Google update. It’s also time to learn what this new search algorithm means for your online marketing and search engine optimization. Google has dubbed its new search algorithm “Hummingbird” because it is said to be “precise and fast.” And, according to Danny Sullivan of Search Engine Land, “Hummingbird is paying more attention to each word in a query, ensuring that the whole query – the whole sentence or conversation or meaning – is taken into account, rather than particular words. The goal is that pages matching the meaning do better, rather than pages matching just a few words.”
Hummingbird is the biggest change that Google has made to its algorithm since 2001, and it has lots of folks wondering what exactly will happen to their SEO efforts. Have they all been in vain? Is SEO finally dead? The good news is that SEO isn’t dead. In his article, Sullivan notes, “Google’s saying there’s nothing new or different SEOs or publishers need to worry about.” In fact, Google is noting that the same advice it’s been touting for years remains true: create original, high-quality content. The difference is Hummingbird allows Google to process content in new and hopefully better ways, to allow more relevant sites to appear in searches.
According to Mashable, Hummingbird works in two ways: “First, instead of traditional keyword searches, it uses conversational searches to deliver search results that are more on point with what users are looking for. It also displays search content right on the search pages themselves, which makes it easier for users to find the information they need.”
What this means is that your website copy MUST take into account what folks are actually searching for. Hummingbird is paying more attention to each word in a query, ensuring that the whole query – the whole sentence or conversation or meaning – is taken into account, rather than pulling out particular keywords. The goal is that pages that match the meaning of a query produce better results for searchers than pages matching just a few words. For example, under the new search alogorithm’s criteria, if you search for “Where can I pick apples in Asheville, NC?” you’re more likely than ever to get search results that list orchards and actual places to pick apples in Asheville, as opposed to, say, Asheville’s closest Apple store.
SEO is Still Social
Google has been incrementally releasing its Hummingbird SEO update over the last month, and its social media is becoming an even bigger player. So what does that mean for your online presence?
- If you don’t have a Google+ account, you better get one fast. Google rankings are already showing dips for clients who either do not have a Google+ account or who fail to update their account regularly.
- Facebook, Twitter and regular blogging are also more important than ever before.
What this all boils down to is that Hummingbird is putting less focus on keywords and key phrases, yes, but that certainly doesn’t mean they’re obsolete, just that you need to think more about your target audience and what they are looking to get out of their search queries when creating content. Our team of marketing gurus is staying abreast of all Google’s search algorithm changes, and we can help you create content that reaches your target audience every time. Contact us today to learn how we can help.