Google’s New Rollout of Hummingbird: What does it mean for your website?
Let’s face it, Google is currently setting the bar with regards to Search Engine Optimization standards and algorithms. So if you have a website and want to get it ranked high on relevant searches for your product/service, you cannot ignore the continually changing updates and improvements. Yes, I said improvements.
At the end of this September, it was announced that Google’s new algorithm was released (a few months prior), entitled Hummingbird which improves upon previous protocols (Penguin and Panda). Hummingbird does not completely replace the Panda and Penguin but it’s a dramatic overhaul that anyone concerned with their SEO stats should take notice of.
Does this new Hummingbird update change the way you are managing your SEO?
That depends. If you are using honest and trustworthy methods, avoiding spamming, backlink schemes or any other devises to trick the search engines to get your site seen, then you’ll be fine. If not, you’re in trouble.
No, SEO is not yet again dead. In fact, Google’s saying there’s nothing new or different SEOs or publishers need to worry about. Guidance remains the same, it says: have original, high-quality content. Signals that have been important in the past remain important; Hummingbird just allows Google to process them in new and hopefully better ways.
The new Hummingbird is using better techniques to pinpoint what exactly the user is searching for and provide only relevant results to that question or query. We’ve all done searches and questioned why certain links showed up because they had nothing to do with what we hoped to find. So rather than just focus on keywords, it will also take into account the entire conversation.
In particular, Google said that 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.
So what should be your take-away?
The same as it has always been, and oft repeated on this blog, “Content is King”. Make sure you are writing content that users want to read, not just content that will increase page ranking. Your primary audience is your users, with a definite consideration to how the search engine will process that content. Ask yourself, is your content interesting? Does it tell your story in an engaging and unique way? Does it effectively provide answers to your prospects and customers questions? And also, have you included keywords and phrases that users will search to find you?
For assistance on writing effective content, see our NEW Web Content Writing service.
Google+ – The Sleeping Giant
It’s been slow going for Google’s social media platform, Google+, which is just over two years old. They have made some improvements but their interface can be a bit daunting and confusing for new users. A recent statistic shows they are growing despite its issues, claiming an increase to 500 million users in July 2013. Yet how engaged are these users?
A recent graph shows the engagement is still very low:
So what are the benefits of Google+?
Besides the 2% of active users, the search engine optimization benefits outweigh its current lack of appeal to the generic public. Since Google is taking a more wholistic approach to page ranking, a trusted backlink from Google+ still offers a huge benefit, but their new focus on social media participation may motivate reluctant business owners to regularly share, post, tweet and pin. Google+ Business page offers a great way to increase your visibility through search results, which is its most valuable advantage over its competitors at this point.
So if you have a Gmail account, log in and start a Google+ profile and then build your Business page off of it (similar to Facebook’s structure). In fact, if you have a Google+ account, you can easily integrate it with your YouTube, Google Search, and Gmail.
Google+ offers some unique benefits with social Circles so you can organize your contact into Business, Personal, Family, etc and share content to your specific circle rather then the whole. This gives you better control of who can see your content (as opposed to Facebook). They also offer video Hangouts: Hangout allows you to hold video chat sessions with an unlimited number of people right from your Google+ account. You can also create Communities, which are groups around particular interests, or even brands. This is great way to connect with your customer base and prospects specific to your company brand.
Google Places for Business
Okay, I don’t mean to confuse you but Google Places for Business is a great directory listing tool that is easy to setup and verify your business, and a great way to add even more visibility to your local business. It only takes 15-20 minutes to set up your account, and approximately a week to get the postcard in the mail with your unique pin number (to verify your business location).
Once you do, the information you add into your Google Places listing will show up on a Google Map, which will show up on a Google search, usually at the top of the page. And not to mention the mobile device integration for the very popular Google Maps app. So it would be crazy to miss out on the benefits since its free and easy to use.
If you need help setting up your Google+ Business page or your Google Places for Business listing, please call Startup Production today!