Google Hummingbird: What Small Businesses Need to Know

Owning a small business is no easy task. With caring for patients, managing staff, and a juggling personal life, the last thing on a small business owner’s mind is changes to Google’s algorithm. At iMatrix, we are here to help. Here’s the scoop on the latest search engine update, named “Hummingbird.”

Google Hummingbird Algorithm Update

Pandas, Penguins, Hummingbirds, Oh My!

Hummingbird is a little different than the past updates we’ve discussed recently. The previous few search engine updates (Panda and Penguin, just to name a few) changed the ranking factors (and consequently shifted rankings of websites), while Hummingbird changes how the results are displayed.
Hummingbird is an effort by Google to make search faster, direct, and less cumbersome. Conversational search can now be completed using Google. You (literally) can talk to Google, ask it a question, and (in theory) receive the most pertinent result(s). With Hummingbird, you can ask things like “where can I buy a new Sony home stereo?” Now instead of just listing links with those keywords, Google understands that you are interested in purchasing a new stereo and will deliver results where you can do exactly that. To put it simply, Google is getting better at understanding the intent behind a search, not just the search terms alone.

How Does This Update Impact My Business?

Generally speaking, there’s not much a small business owner has to worry about. Hummingbird is Google trying to better its core product so it can deliver the best results to online consumers. Hummingbird was released in September 2013 and really didn’t shake up search rankings a whole lot. That being said, small businesses can and should improve their websites to best optimize for the future:
1. Continually update your website content. The old adage of “content is king” remains. Without fail, the best way to get your website to rank well in your market is to generate quality content on a consistent basis. This isn’t easy, but long story short, it works. Check out our Dominator service to receive quality, SEO-optimized content from our writing team.
2. Use Google Authorship. Google Authorship remains one of the easiest ways to increase your click-through-rate in search engine results. It’s easy to set up and pays dividends for that small bit of effort.

Google Authorship Affects SEO

3. Make mobile a priority. The use of the Internet is still growing and by far the largest increase of web usage is through mobile devices.  Give us a call and ask us about our newest mobile-optimized skin and how you can get it for your business.
4. Consider adding question-focused pages. As Hummingbird makes Google more conversational, consider making your website more conversational as well. Add a frequently asked questions page to show that you have content on your website geared towards that conversational model.
5. Set up some schema markup. This gets to be a bit more technical, but adding schema to your website is basically telling search engines more information than just content can. If you have a website through iMatrix, no need to worry: our websites are set up automatically with all the important schema markup that you’ll need.
If you have any questions specifically about Hummingbird or if you’d just like to get more information about iMatrix and our services, please give us a call at 1-800-IMATRIX today.

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