Internet marketing experts are continuing to watch “Hummingbird”, the latest update from search engine leader Google that officially launched in September.
What is Hummingbird? It’s a shift in the way Google delivers search results. Major search engines such as Google match a user’s query to web pages, and deliver the results with pages ranked according to how well the search engine believes the page matches the query.
Before the Hummingbird update, web pages were “largely” matched according to keywords (keyword phrases), selected words and phrases that the search engines matched to pages previously crawled and noted for those phrases. Now, however, Hummingbird matches pages not on exact phrases but on more intuitive language and phrases.
Hummingbird’s emphasis on organic language matching makes perfect sense in this world of increasing reliance on smart phones and mobile technology to access the internet. The Pew Internet Research Center recently reported that as of May 2013, 63% of Americans use their cell phones to access the internet. Many people need to access the internet while driving, and use voice-activated commands to conduct searches. People tend to speak in whole phrases such as, “Where is the nearest gas station?” rather than “Gas stations in Hopkins, Minnesota.” Google’s Hummingbird update brings internet search closer to the way most people think and speak, which satisfies their stated goal of improving search quality for users.
If your company relies on search engine traffic to grow its business, don’t panic. Search engine traffic patterns may shift for a while as the new search algorithm is refined, but until the results are in, it doesn’t make sense to tinker with your website outside of improving visitor experience.
Search engine optimization is much, much more than keyword selection and usage, and a good internet marketing firm focuses on myriad methods of optimization, most of which remain unchanged with the launch of Hummingbird. High quality content that engages your website visitors, for example, remains something that the search engines favor, as well as high quality links into your website, load times, and many, many more factors. With over 100 factors feeding into the proprietary algorithm used by the major search engines, there’s plenty to focus on without undue focus on keywords.
For companies who would like to learn more about the Hummingbird update and discuss potential impacts to their business and website traffic, please call Dashboard Internet Marketing at 800-807-1852 for a consultation.