Blog Post By: Emily Martin, BPM Marketing Intern
Traditionally, Google has pride itself on giving users the most search results in the fastest amount of time. However, with the rapid growth of mobile searching, users no longer care about how many results Google finds if the results are not the right results. The original Google algorithm was programmed to search for keywords in websites. When mobile users were using Google, search results were commonly inaccurate. They would find themselves having to search through many Google pages to find the information they were initially looking for. Problems also occurred when searching the web through voice activation like Siri. The rapid growth of mobile searches motivated Google, and they recognized the need for fast and precise results that could be found easily within a mobile search. With that in mind, this past week, when Google turned 15, they announced their new algorithm, “Hummingbird”.
Google’s Hummingbird is the first complete algorithm the company has produced in 10 years. Google has not released too much information on the new algorithm, but we do know the main objective for Hummingbird is to be concentrated on the content of the search rather than the keywords. Hummingbird will also move the emphasis of the search from “results” to “answers” and is designed to understand the meanings and relationships behind the words and phrases.
One of the main reasons Google developed Hummingbird is to make mobile searches easier, faster, and more relevant for users. Since Hummingbird focuses on the content of a search, it lets the search become more conversational and more compatible with a voice search, such as Siri. In addition, Hummingbird is designed to consider question words like “how”, “why”, “where”, “when” in search phrases.
An example how a new search could go is a user could ask, “What is the closest place to buy a Macbook”. A traditional Google search would be focused on key words like “buy” and “Macbook”. However, Hummingbird focuses on the meaning behind the keywords. If the user has their location feature enabled on their phone, the search will take their location into consideration. Hummingbird is also programmed to realize the user used the word “place” so it will make the connection that the user wants to go to a brick-and-mortar store. It even recognizes a “Macbook” is an electronic device only sold in specific stores. Based on this content, Google will provide the user with more accurate search results.
Also, a user could search for “Papa John’s calories per slice”, and the new algorithm will look through Papa John’s website first for the information instead of automatically bringing up calorie counters as the first results.
Small business owners need to pay attention because Hummingbird is leveling out the playing field for Google searches. Traditionally, large companies and brands dominated search keywords because they could afford to do the keyword research and design keyword-based content websites to manipulate search results. However, Hummingbird’s semantic search results are less predictable. This should allow smaller businesses to have a higher page rank.
Tips for Small Business Owners to improve their Google presence:
1. Answer questions that customers are asking within your website
2. Make sure your website is full of quality content
3. Using your town’s name in your title can be helpful
4. Make sure your website is mobile friendly.