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Google's Hummingbird Update: What it Means & What You Should Do About it

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If your business relies on your website to generate traffic, impressions, brand awareness and leads, then you probably live and die by Google's decisions. And here they've gone and made more changes …

If your business relies on your website to generate traffic, impressions, brand awareness and leads, then you probably live and die by Google's decisions. And here they've gone and made more changes with the Hummingbird Update.

So what does the Hummingbird Update actually mean? How does it impact business? What about consumers? Does this have more of a mobile or desktop effect? With so many questions, we know you need answers.

That's why Intrapromote has created this POV. We answer the three main questions that everyone wants answered:

1. What is the Hummingbird Update?
2. How does this impact online business?
3. What can businesses do to take advantage of this update?

The team at IP has put their heads together and has created this POV to help business owners begin to map out an action plan in the wake of Hummingbird's changes.

Need more information or have questions? Contact Angela Moore (angela@intrapromote.com) to find out more.

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  • 1. Intrapromote   Google  Hummingbird  Update  –  IP  POV     What  is  the  Hummingbird  Update?     Hummingbird  is  an  update  that  Google  implemented  on  their  search  engine.  It  is,  in  fact,  a  milestone   for  the  search  engine  as  this  type  of  update  hasn’t  been  done  since  2001  according  to  Amit  Singhal,  an   SVP  of  Search  at  Google.       Panda,  Penguin  and  other  similar  updates  had   specific  pieces  of  the  algorithm  updated,  tweaked   or  removed  while  Hummingbird  is  an  entire   update  of  the  algorithm  itself.  If  you  think  of  it   like  a  car,  Hummingbird  enabled  the  entire   engine  to  be  replaced  rather  than  only  a  few   parts  of  the  engine.       Hummingbird  was  actually  implemented  in  late  August  2013  but  the  announcement  about  the  update   didn’t  happen  until  late  September.  According  to  Google,  this  update  has  impacted  90%  of  searches   and  is  geared  to  improve  answers  to  queries  and  assist  with  new  types  of  search  that  are  becoming   increasingly  popular,  especially  among  mobile  users.     Google  has  adopted  the  name  “Hummingbird”  because  it  is  supposed  to  make  the  search  engine   “precise  and  fast”  like  a  Hummingbird  in  its  natural  state.       How  Does  This  Update  Impact  Business?     In  its  press  event,  Google  alluded  to  the  concept  of  “Conversational  Search”  which  involves  users   actually  speaking  their  query  rather  than  typing  it.  People  are  more  likely  to  speak  in  their  “normal”   manner  when  searching  in  this  way,  behaving  differently  when  compared  to  typing  when  they  find   themselves  forced  to  rephrase  or  adjust  their  search  phrase(s).       The  biggest  difference  in  typed  search  vs.  conversational  search  is  the  fact  that  Google  will  now  be   weighing  each  phrase  in  the  search  rather  than  focusing  on  the  main  words  in  the  phrase.     For  instance,  a  query  like  “Where  can  I  find  used  baseball  equipment  for  rent  close  to  my  home?”   would  have  focused  on  the  phrase  “Used  baseball  equipment”  in  the  results.  Now,  the  algorithm  has   shifted  to  consider  each  phrase  and  the  resulting  implications  of  each  to  display  a  more  complete  and   accurate  list  of  results  to  users.  The  search  engine  will  take  “used  baseball  equipment,”  “for  rent”  and   “close  to  my  home”  into  account  as  a  united  query.  It  will,  in  essence,  better  focus  on  the  meaning   behind  the  words  rather  than  just  taking  them  at  face  value.  Therefore,  content  that  matches  the   meaning  of  the  search  will  perform  better  than  pages  that  only  match  a  few  words.     www.intrapromote.com         1   Copyright  ©1999-­‐2013  Intrapromote  LLC.  All  rights  reserved.   866.570.1785    
  • 2. Intrapromote   Google  Hummingbird  Update  –  IP  POV     Businesses  are  reporting  varied  results  since  the  algorithm  took  hold.  Any  impact  would  have  begun  in   late  August  since  that  is  when  the  algorithm  took  hold.  Search  traffic  in  general  can  vary  for  a  number   of  reasons  so  it  is  always  difficult  to  pinpoint  what  causes  a  drop  or  increase  in  traffic  via  organic  search   engines.  Google’s  algorithm  is  a  recipe  of  over  200  different  data  points,  so  to  isolate  performance   down  to  even  a  small  handful  of  factors  is  incredibly  difficult.       Google  (as  usual)  has  taken  the  stance  that  SEO  is  not  being  greatly  impacted  at  this  time  by  this   update  and  that  websites  and  businesses  that  provide  meaningful,  relevant  content  will  be  rewarded   with  search  traffic  for  relevant  keywords.       What  Do  Businesses  Need  to  Do  To  Take  Advantage  of  the  Update?     Google  has  said  that  the  effect  of  Hummingbird  will  be  seen  in  a  query-­‐by-­‐query  basis  and  that  certain   searches  (like  long  tail  or  complex  searches)  will  be  the  ones  that  are  most  affected.  In  most  cases,   these  phrases  have  a  higher  rate  of  conversion  due  to  the  specific  nature  of  the  query  and  the  distinct   need  of  the  searcher.  So  ensuring  that  your  site  is  optimized  both  in  content  and  in  architecture   continues  to  be  critical.       Here  are  the  steps  that  you  should  take  to  capitalize  on  the  momentum  of  the  Hummingbird  Update:       o Consider  having  an  updated  site  audit  to  ensure  that  your  site  is  100%  search  engine  friendly   and  prepared  for  SERPs   o Have  your  content  optimized  for  targeted  keywords  that  are  specifically  chosen  for  your   business   o Align  your  website  and  social  assets  through  branding,  keywords  and  content  marketing.  Given   Google’s  focus  on  conversational  search,  leveraging  as  many  sources  of  content  as  possible  will   be  extremely  helpful  in  capturing  those  mobile-­‐based  markets   o Watch  your  metrics:  If  you  notice  a  sharp  increase  or  decrease  in  search  traffic,  dig  a  little   deeper  and  try  to  identify  what  the  catalyst  is.  Remember  that  fluctuations  are  completely   normal  and  expected   o Pay  attention  to  what  your  customers  are  asking  you  (sometimes  over  and  over  and  over  again)   and  write  content  that  answers  those  questions.  The  search  engines  will  reward  you  for  it   Resources       o http://searchengineland.com/google-­‐hummingbird-­‐172816     o http://www.marketingprofs.com/articles/2013/11833/should-­‐you-­‐be-­‐worried-­‐about-­‐googles-­‐ hummingbird-­‐update   o http://searchengineland.com/how-­‐will-­‐google-­‐hummingbird-­‐impact-­‐links-­‐here-­‐are-­‐6-­‐ways-­‐ 173702     www.intrapromote.com         2   Copyright  ©1999-­‐2013  Intrapromote  LLC.  All  rights  reserved.   866.570.1785    

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