Why Google’s Hummingbird Update is Awesome For Your Small Business

By Ryan Ledendecker | Small Business

If you’re one of those types of business owners who actively participate in your website’s online marketing campaign, or maybe even run it yourself, then this article could be of help to you. If you’re running a small business, you certainly don’t have time to be an expert in cutting-edge SEO tactics, or even have a chance to stay up on the latest and greatest news from the search world. That’s okay – you have better things to do, and I’ll fill you in on what happened a few months back and why it’s a good thing for you and your business.

Way back in late 2013, right before we got in the swing of the holiday season (Sep 26th to be exact), big daddy Google announced that they implemented major changes in their main search algorithm, and code-named it “Hummingbird.”

Cute, right? They all are. Penguins, Pandas, etc.

Anyway, they also announced that the changes that took place due to Hummingbird were perhaps the biggest changes since 2001 – which, considering all the thousands of changes since then, is a pretty big deal. But not long after the announcement, after SEOs around the world had mini-strokes, it was stressed that Hummingbird was an “evolution” of their search algorithm, not a revolution. Not only that, but they also announced that it had actually been rolled out and put in place a month before the official announcement. Whew.

How does that affect you, the small business owner who wants an online edge over his/her competitor?

Well, the long story short here, and realistically the meat of the issue, is that Hummingbird was designed to understand and answer a user’s query more accurately than ever before. Google is well-aware of the rapid increase in voice-based search queries (both from mobile and desktop) and how searches have shifted from keyword-based to question-based.

Why Googles Hummingbird Update is Awesome For Your Small Business image google hummingbird seoWhy Googles Hummingbird Update is Awesome For Your Small BusinessNeed an example? Ok, three years ago, when you were searching for a steak restaurant in Las Vegas, your search probably looked like this: “steak restaurant Las Vegas”.

Now, thanks mostly to voice-based search capabilities on smartphones and tablets, your search ends up looking more like this: “Where is the closest steak restaurant to my location?”

That second search phrase is different in many ways, notably the lack of geographical location, since we know and are used to our Android phones knowing exactly where we’re located at all times. So Google can now, theoretically, serve up much more specific results that will actually be of great help to the end-user. And guess who else it’s beneficial for? That’s right, you, the owner of that steak restaurant, or gas station, or auto-mechanic. See what I’m saying?

It’s not complicated. The bottom line is, and all the top SEOs are saying the same thing, that instead of building SEO campaigns around keyword searches, start building them around question-based searches. Get directly in the mind of your potential customer, and think about what they would ask their smartphone or tablet in order to find your business. As the business owner, you may need to go outside your inner-circle to get a good idea of the range of possible queries that customers might use to find what you have to offer, so ask around.

As the experts have stated: don’t freak out! If you’ve been doing SEO like you should have been doing the whole time, then it’s not going to be an issue.

High-quality content is still the key. This will once again allow end-users to get better, more accurate results and hopefully weed out nationally-based sites when they’re looking for a specific local service or product – which is obviously good for you, Mr. or Mrs “Mom & Pop Store.” Google is finally dialing in on what they’ve wanted to improve on for a long, long time: semantic search.

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