No more tweaks, Google has installed an entirely new search engine.
Google dramatically changed the SEO strategies for most businesses when it rolled out its initial Panda algorithm update in 2011, and since then businesses have had to focus on creating fresh, high quality content to improve their rankings on search engine results pages (SERPS). Since then, there have been a series of updates to Google's search engine algorithm with the intent of blackballing businesses that practice poor SEO strategies, and most recently the Hummingbird update has been added to the mix.
Google announced the Hummingbird algorithm update on September 26th, although it really went into affect at the end of August. This algorithm update makes one of the largest impacts on searches yet with approximately 90 percent of Google searches being affected. The goal of this update is to improve Google's speed and ability to return more accurate results when long-key phrases are used in its search engine (historically, Google focused more on ranking searches based on individual keywords). The overall idea behind Hummingbird is to make Google's search engine site more human, and this makes sense considering that you would probably ask someone a question such as, "How do I fix the blade on my Honda lawnmower?" versus asking, "blade Honda lawnmower?" If you think about the Hummingbird update on a deeper level, you can see that Google is already ramping up to prepare for new technology that will soon be coming to the marketplace, such as the smart watch that you can give voice commands to for searching the internet or making calls.
How will the Hummingbird update affect your page rank?
This is a difficult, yet popular small business internet marketing question to address since it will vary widely; however, considering that Hummingbird has been live now for over a month, you can utilize analytics tools to determine if you've experienced a dramatic decrease in traffic to your website. If your SEO strategy in the past has focused on using one or two short tail keywords, you probably have not been impacted too terribly by this algorithm update.
How will Hummingbird help your business?
If your business is already blogging and has a solid SEO strategy in place, the Hummingbird update will actually prove to be beneficial to your business and reward you for your high quality content creation by boosting your rankings. According to a recent HubSpot article, this most recent change to Google's algorithm puts those that are already involved with inbound marketing at mobile marketing at a huge advantage. The key is to blog about topics that your target audience is genuinely interested in and searching for on the web.
One thing that you can be sure about is that there will be additional updates to Google's search engine algorithm that will likely affect your business's SERP ranking. Be sure to subscribe to our DigitalSherpa blog to stay in tune with the latest updates to search engine algorithms to continuously improve your SEO strategy.
(Image by Alana Sise via Flickr)