On September 26, 2013 Google announced that it had launched its newest search algorithm, “Hummingbird.” Unlike previous updates like Panda, Hummingbird is a complete overhaul. The update addresses the change towards more complex searches as more users are now able to utilize the voice command capabilities of smartphones and tablets. The algorithm allows Google to provide more precise results tailored to delivering the user exactly what he/she is looking for. Although it is not expected to decrease traffic to websites, the changes are expected to make searches more reliable and give results that are much more relevant to the longer more complex search strings individuals are now typically entering.
This new change is referred to as a “conversational search.” Meaning, information can be retrieved from the search engine by entering a string of text similar to natural human speech rather than technically constructed key word search queries. Now when someone is looking for information such as calorie content, where to purchase a product, paying bills online, etc., Google is more likely to give them the most relevant web pages first. One example Google shared at their unveiling was when searching paying bills online with a specific bank, you will get hits to the page link that contains the actual bill pay information rather than the bank’s home page.
How does the change affect your website’s effectiveness?
Well according to Google, not much, that is assuming your focus has been on delivering rich and relevant content all along. But the bottom line is that if you haven’t been doing it already, it’s now high time to evaluate your website’s content. Sites that currently have and continually develop unique, popular, quality content will succeed in ranking higher in the search results. You will need to consider the needs of your past and present clients and the questions and information they seek from you. The information sought out by these clients is likely to be the same information that potential clients are searching the web for. If your website’s content can address many of these concerns then it is more likely you will appear higher up in the search results. This will increase your site traffic as well as open the door to potential new clients. If it doesn’t, however, you will need to begin to think about developing a robust content strategy for your firm to ensure you continue to generate quality leads through your website.