Google’s Hummingbird Search Algorithm – What you need to know

Google is the place where consumers and businesses come to search.  About two-thirds of all global searches happen on Google.  So if you want to be found, you need to know how to optimize for the latest Google search engine tricks.  Recently, Google released their new search algorithm called Hummingbird, a name that they say comes from being “precise and fast.”  This is the first major search algorithm enhancement since 2010’s “Caffeine Update.” So what does it mean for your site?  Check out this recap to help you understand the changes:

1. Google is focused on providing results that are best in class and trusted.  For that, they are placing additional focus on reviews, comments, and sharing.  Websites need to include product reviews and lessons on your website that can be used to produce voice search results. Take a good look at your site- are your visitors able to interact, share and provide comments/reviews?  If the answer is no, perhaps it’s time to plan on making content changes.

2. Including search queries from Google AdWords into your paid campaigns can make you more successful for voice search prominence.  Leveraging keywords that show intent will have a positive impact on your interactivity with searchers. Action Item:  Review your past three months of search queries and include them into your PPC campaigns. Ensure that the search queries are matched with relevant ANSWERS on your site.

3. Google will no longer be providing any keyword data in Google Analytics because all of Google searches will be encrypted.  You can still see some of the keyword data in Google AdWords and Google Webmaster Tools. This makes #2 especially critical as it will allow you to still gain access to keywords that users are interested in. This one is significant as it’s going to impact not just the information you see, but also how big data companies gain access to search data to re-target.

4. Use of Open Graph Tags are prioritized to gain entry into Google’s Knowledge Graph. The Google Knowledge Graph is a system that Google launched in May 2012 that understands facts about people, places and things and how these pieces are all connected. The goal behind it was to provide users with smarter, more relational search results.

5. It’s not fully clear the effect of Hummingbird on mobile, but Google referenced mobile extensively when announcing Hummingbird.  They focused on improvements to their mobile search, saying that the new algorithm and search results are “…cleaner and simpler, optimized for touch” and “results (are) clustered on cards so you can focus on the answers you’re looking for.”  Make sure your site is optimized for mobile.

Hummingbird will affect 90 percent of all searches.  Now is the time to take a good, long look at your website.  Are you engaging your visitors? Are you having conversations? Are you speaking in real life terms? Bottom line, this change, this buzzing Hummingbird, isn’t the end of SEO; rather, it’s a change on how results are returned.

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Written by:
Katya Constantine is a seasoned online marketer with over 11 years of experience. She has developed a uniquely comprehensive background in email and omni-channel marketing for large online brands. Most recently, she was at Expedia and Amazon, leading projects ranging from behavior-based programs to increasing customer acquisition and conversion with great results. Katya has successfully worked to bridge mobile, email, search and social channels to increase online performance at many large web properties and ecommerce startups. Presently, Katya is the CEO of DigiShopGirl Media. She is also a marketing mentor for technology startups via Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator program and an active blogger/speaker on topics ranging from mobile email to effects of the visual web on online marketing. You can follow Katya on Twitter @digishopgirl.
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