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Google Hummingird

How can I capitalise on Google Hummingbird to increase traffic to my website?

Google recently announced the biggest change to its search algorithm for three years.

While previous updates, such as Panda and Penguin, were significant changes to their existing algorithm, Hummingbird is complete re-write of how Google processes and orders its search results.

The main purpose of the change is to enable Google to better understand the context of a search rather than matching keywords.

For example, a search for “where’s the closest place to my home to buy a McLaren P1” would previously have prioritised websites where you could “buy” a “McLaren P1”. Google’s new focus on “conversational search” will understand that by “place” you are looking for a shop rather than a website and will use your location (either by your Internet connection or information you have provided in your Google profile) to prioritise results for shops that are nearest to you.

Why has Google made the change to “conversational search”?

Because Google has recognised that searchers often don’t get the results they want from two and three word keyphrases and end up searching a number of times expanding their search phrase each time. This makes for a frustrating user experience.

Also, there has been a steep rise in searches from mobile devices and a large percentage of these searches are voice searches either from Google apps or others such as Apple’s Siri. When making a voice search, you are much more likely to ask a full “human” question rather than say a few keywords. Given that this trend is widely predicted to continue to rise sharply, Google needed to react.

OK, so how will this affect my rankings?

Essentially, the guidelines that Google has been issuing for gaining high rankings have not changed for the last 15 years. If content is King, then linking is Queen. This means that frequently adding useful and engaging content for your target audience that encourages them to reference link to you is the best way to gain quality traffic to any of your Internet assets (e.g. website, blog, social media account ).

Google Hummingbird hasn’t suddenly made great content irrelevant.

Although it is still a little too early to tell for sure, this change, along with the recent move to stop providing keyword data in their Google Analytics product, could mean that small businesses now have a huge opportunity to get more traffic that is relevant to their specific niche.

This is because the combination of not being able to track the specific key phrases that the majority of your organic traffic used AND the fact that Google is using more words from those phrases to understand context, means that the keyword bidding war previously dominated by the major players is effectively over.

Website owners that are continually add useful and engaging content that answers the questions that their target audience are asking will gain more visibility than static sites, even ones that have a large number of links.

One thing that will change is how you measure the success of your website or Internet marketing campaigns. The lack of keyword data makes reporting on conversions by keyword less useful. There will be much more focus on conversion by traffic source and entry page and the total number of entry pages in the future as these will provide better indicators of how successful your content is being in driving enquiries and sales.

In summary, your website will deliver better results for you if you:

  • Write engaging content that answers the questions your target audience is asking.
  • Add new content frequently.
  • Publicise your content through all of your web channels.
  • Measure the success of your site by revenue and / or leads.

If you are interested in making your website content deliver more leads and sales for you, please call us on 01252 727618 or email


Richard Joyce

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