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How The Google Hummingbird Update Changed The SEO Landscape For Online Businesses

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Do you run an online business that receives a significant amount of traffic from Google? If so, then you need to acquaint yourself with the Google Hummingbird update. The update was announced during Google’s 15 year anniversary in a Silicon Valley marketing event. Although journalists and Internet Marketers bombarded the Google staff with questions, not too many technical details on ‘Hummingbird’ were released.

Google's Hummingbird update
Google’s ‘Hummingbird update will change the landscape of online business.
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What is known is that the Hummingbird update allows the Google search engine to deal with long tail queries a lot better than it previously did. It does this by paying attention to the context in which the words are used, as opposed to only looking at each word in turn separately.

The change is said to affect 90% of searches worldwide; so if you are operating a business online then you do need to take note of this update. As an online entrepreneur, the question that must be burning in your mind is “what do I need to do in order to not get penalized by this update?”

This question is completely understandable because the previous big Google search updates – Caffeine and Panda – had people pulling their hair out due to the big SERP movements that it caused. However, with the Hummingbird update, the best question online entrepreneurs need be asking is one of a more optimistic approach: “How can I take advantage of this new update?”

What the update means for online businesses

For those of you that are publishing high quality content which focuses on the readability and user experience, as opposed to the use of keyword stuffing, then this update is only going to benefit you. In fact, if your content strategy is geared towards only satisfying the readers (which is what I’ve always recommended in order to build a truly loyal following), and not the search engines, then you do not have to make any changes at all. Just keep on doing what you do, and your rankings will remain stable (and likely improve). The one addition I would add however, is to write follow up stories and articles to your popular content, as Google will reward you in the rankings based on related phrases to that popular topic.

The reason why the Hummingbird update has resulted in Google favoring higher quality content is because it allows the search engine to analyze content in a more sophisticated manner. Meaning that you don’t need to stuff keywords in order for Google to get the gist of what your content is all about. Some people say it is a step closer towards artificial intelligence, but without much in the way of technical details we can’t get carried away here.

Some of you might be asking, “what is quality content?” Well it’s simply content that is well-researched, will maintain its value for a long period of time, and often has a good dose of educational value. Stick to these somewhat vague parameters with your writing, and you will be on the right track.

Why Google made the update

One of the reasons why Google introduced the Hummingbird update is due to the fact that most searches are of a lengthy nature these days. When people enter lengthy questions on Google (questions are the most common form of search) and don’t get the answer that they want, they then become dissatisfied and will begin to look elsewhere for answers (likely Google’s competitors such as Bing and Yahoo). Google is too smart to let any of their users turn elsewhere from sheer dissatisfaction, which is why they addressed the problem of being able to accurately provide relevant search results to lengthy queries.

Another reason why Google made this update is so that higher quality content is rewarded, and as a result diminishes the effectiveness of keyword stuffing which has plagued the internet for too long now. What Google wants is for publishers to create content without them worrying about things like keyword density. Instead, Google strongly believes that content should be created with the notion that the reader comes first; and with that in mind Google has released this Hummingbird update that rewards higher quality content. This is a step in the right direction for web-based businesses, and actually has me quite excited for the advantages it will provide my online publications.

Algorithm changes are a big deal

Any Google algorithmic change that takes place always leaves online  business owners holding their breath – at least until they figure out how it affects them.

You need to pay attention to what Google expects from content publishers. If you ignore big brother Google, and fall behind in the latest on SEO, your incoming search traffic could dwindle to insignificant amounts.

Google puts out information, either through YouTube videos or on their blog, about what you can do to create content that is to their liking. And because Google is the industry leader in the search market you would do well to listen to everything that they have to say on this topic.

There is no need to panic

In the aftermath of big Google updates there tends to be a panic among web publishers; this is because updates are usually accompanied by changes in the SERP’s which causes some websites to go down in rankings. If this does happen to your website then do not be alarmed, it could just be a Google dance, which is just a nickname for when the rankings of websites frequently change position.

After a while the rankings of your website will stabilize and as said previously, if you follow a solid content strategy that puts the needs of the reader first, then you have nothing to worry about. Don’t forget that. Build your publication with the reader’s perspective front and center in your content strategy.

Looking into the future

As an online business, your company relies on search traffic and therefor every update Google releases will impact your ROI.  But, if you have learnt anything from Hummingbird, and the Panda update before it, it’s that Google is hungry for high quality content, which is why you can expect updates in the future to be pushing this agenda even further.

Instead of worrying yourself to death about what this update  will do to your rankings and the countless others that will surely greet us in the future, concentrate on publishing high quality content that your readers will love, and also share with their peers. As a result, big brother Google will reward you for it.

Stay hungry

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