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Google Hummingbird Update

It’s very interesting to me that I’m not hearing a lot of buzz (or maybe “hum” is the right term…) about this major, major change that Google made recently (calling it Hummingbird because the new algorithm is “precise and fast”). The fact is that was the plan all along. Google changed it’s search algorithm to provide better results for longer search queries. This has been their mission all along, provide the best search results. The foundation of website ranking and search engine optimization is pretty simple and straightforward, something I have been talking about and sharing with my clients for years. The search engines rank pages based on answering one question: “how relevant is this web page to the terms in the search box?” That’s it. That hasn’t changed since the beginning of Google.

What has changed is how Google figures out the answer to that question. And to their credit they are constantly analyzing the data to see how they can provide better results for those using their search engine. The way people search has changed, instead of trying to guess what keywords to search for, people are simply asking questions: “What is the most popular nail salon near my home?” Google’s previous algorithm would analyze the data for each individual word, or for two word phrases, so you might get results for popular nail salon, but they wouldn’t necessarily be near your home. Or you would get businesses near your home but not nail salons.

With Hummingbird in place, searchers will now be able to get accurate results for the questions they ask and the search engine will be more responsive to mobile and vocal searches (like Siri…). From all that I’ve read and seen so far, this should be a vast improvement for the end user and it will also help businesses and anyone wanting their content to be found online, especially if those folks are following the guidance that Google has always provided: have a site with high quality content that is updated regularly and is relevant to what people are searching for and your site will rank highly. If you try and game the system, eventually your rankings will suffer. There are no short-cuts or quick ways to get found but if you provide useful, free information, you will make it to the first page over time and you will be more likely to stay there longer assuming you continue adding quality content.

Do you have any thoughts about this new update? Questions? Comments? Please share!

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