Over the last decade, local internet marketing professionals have helped small businesses boost their website search rankings by optimizing a range of search criteria to drive in web traffic. Google, which currently hosts the lion’s share of search, has been a major force in driving business opportunities to small and large businesses alike. While Google’s earlier search algorithms emphasized keywords, they have become almost obsolete in its new ranking system.
Google’s new algorithm, Hummingbird, places more emphasis on high-quality, original content. It is the most influential algorithm change Google has made since 2001. You may recall that about a month ago, Google made significant updates to its Panda and Penguin algorithms, which are part of the larger Hummingbird algorithm.
Precise and Fast Searches
Hummingbird’s name is not insignificant. Google chose it because it means “precise and fast,” which is exactly how the algorithm is designed to run. A few months ago, Google launched its Knowledge Graph, which made it easier for consumers to find local businesses online. Hummingbird takes that concept one step further, and applies it to web searches as well.
Major Shift from Keywords to Content
One major effect of Hummingbird is that keywords are becoming less important when it comes to Google search rankings. Instead, Hummingbird emphasizes users’ intent by interpreting their entire query rather than matching individual search terms to website keywords. In fact, Google can now recognize that the word ‘home’ is tied to a user’s physical location, and it’s beginning to understand more and more of users’ personal preferences.
Tell Google About Your Small Business
Be sure to help Google understand what your small business has to offer and where you do business. The more Google knows about your business, the more success it will have in connecting the right consumers to your website.
Since content is rapidly becoming more important than individual keywords, it’s important for your small business to keep producing web content that relates to your business and how you help your customers. Consider adding a blog to your website if you haven’t already.
Remember, Hummingbird is a major update that signals the change in direction for Google’s overall algorithm. Pay attention to Google Webmaster Tools for ways to improve your search engine marketing, and turn to our Google guide for more valuable insight.