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Top Secret SEO Tips, aka “Waiter there’s a Hummingbird in my search”

by Chris Sutton | October 8, 2013
Top Secret SEO Tips, aka “Waiter there’s a Hummingbird in my search”

Now that we’ve got your attention..., this blog isn't about SEO secret tips, it's about something far more important. There are some massive changes that are occurring in Google search, some of these changes began some time ago, but the pace of change seems to be accelerating. Last week, the Google Hummingbird update was announced (and apparently launched just over a month ago), and rather than just a normal algorithm update, according to Google this is a complete rewrite of the core ranking engine.

We can’t know exactly how the Google algorithm works, but we do know that Google is focusing more and more on Semantic Search. The Wikipedia definition of Semantic search is: “seeks to improve search accuracy by understanding searcher intent and the contextual meaning of terms as they appear in the searchable dataspace, whether on the Web or within a closed system, to generate more relevant results.”

Effectively this means that as Google proceeds along this path, a simple focus on keywords will no longer be the primary ranking factor, but that social signals, search history and a multitude of other factors will be used to “understand” the intent of any search and consequently to provide better and more relevant results.

One theme I seem to return to over and over again in this blog is exactly what is online marketing. I’ve been banging on about how the traditional definition of marketing (Marketing is the process of planning and executing the conception, pricing, promotion, and distribution of ideas, goods, and services to create exchanges that satisfy individual and organisational goals.) is often overlooked in the online environment, where there has been a focus on the technical elements of SEO.

One of the most exciting changes that the Hummingbird update heralds is that merely throwing money at technical processes such as link building will no longer ensure high ranking. Of increasing importance for businesses will be understanding their customers needs, communicating effectively with them and writing content that is relevant and answers their questions. This activity will take place over the whole online space, including websites, social media, YouTube etc.

So as Google moves towards semantic search, one of the outcomes is that all businesses will be back on a much more level playing field. The small business that truly understands their market and their customers, and has a passion for their products and services, has as good an opportunity to rank well in search as a large corporation.

As usual, there’s not a lot of specifics from Google about this update, and this has lead to quite a lot of speculation from within the industry.

But while the detail may be unclear, and possibilities such as author rank still seemingly on the horizon, one thing is crystal clear and of vital importance to any business that needs to rank well and be found online:

You simply can’t afford to ignore the new direction Google is taking with search.

There are however many ranking factors that can influence your results and achieve the best search results online you need to pay attention all those factors.

I read an excellent article recently by George Williams that provides both the context for the evolution of Google search and some very sound advice on how to prepare your website and online activity to rank in the latest and next incarnations of Google Search. I’d strongly recommend that you take the time to read the article.

Also essential reading is this article, What Google's Hummingbird Update Really Means, by David Amerland

If you want to read more of the discussions that are taking place about Hummingbird and the evolution of Google Search, then you should check out the following people and companies on Google+. There is a wealth of knowledge on this topic and online marketing in general, and they are essential to have in your circles if you are on G+ yourself. (and if you’re not, why not?)

Mark Traphagen

Joshua Berg

Martin Shervington

Search Engine Journal

Search Engine Land




SiteSuite Website Design - Online Marketing Blog Author Chris Sutton

Co-founder and Managing Director of SiteSuite Australasia, Australian pioneers in web design and ecommerce since 1997. For more from Chris you can follow him on Google+ or Twitter, and for further professional musings and thoughts on his other passions in life,

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