Georgi Roberts  |  Thursday 3rd October  2013

You may have heard that the Penguin has now changed into a Hummingbird. What?!? you cry – it only seems like yesterday that the penguin used to be a Panda! 

If this sounds like a children’s story, I apologise. I am actually talking about the Google search algorithm story. 

The search algorithm is what makes Google choose which sites to show once you’ve hit search. It is a formula of over 200 items, from Page Rank, to freshness of content (both confirmed), from number of visitors, to your spend in Adwords (both unconfirmed). The search algorithm is IMPORTANT. 

And yes, Google names the algorithm. Well, let’s face it Google can do whatever it wants as it currently owns over 90% of the search engine market. Right at this moment, making Google love your site is incredibly important to all businesses. 

This week, Google has made the biggest change to its search algorithm for years.
But don’t panic*, Google’s search has changed to help users find the content they are actually looking for

Google’s Hummingbird (named so because it is precise and fast) is a conversational search. It places less emphasis on keywords and more emphasis on what the user is trying to find, focusing on the whole query. And it’s impressive. It is like a conversation.

So what does this mean for your SEO? 

  • It’s the same rules. Content is important. Current, descriptive content. 
  • Remember, it’s not just your website. Social media is playing a bigger part (especially Google+), think about your Google places listings, think about your internal, inbound and outbound links. 
  • Be your customer. Place yourself in your potential website visitor’s shoes and ask ‘ what would I type into Google search to find my products or services’. Users don’t just type in one or two words anymore, they type in the start of their conversation, eg. “Vet” is now “What is the best vet for rabbits in Adelaide?”. Think about these terms, and optimise your online presence, not just your website. 

And Google’s advice? “Our guidance to webmasters is the same as always — we encourage original, high-quality content, since that’s what’s best for web users.”

So keep going, keep delivering good content. Monitor your topics and your organic search traffic. 

Feel free to give me a call or email if you’re not sure on where to go with your SEO strategy, or if the mention of content creation makes you break into a cold sweat. 

*Unless you’ve been filling your site with search terms that have unrelated content, just to get traffic – which will probably leave immediately anyway.