How to Stay Ahead of Google’s Hummingbird Update

Google and other search engines regularly update their systems. However, many business owners and brands are unaware of the way these updates affect their SEO efforts, and therefore their businesses’ growth potential.

What Is Hummingbird?

Released in September of this year, Hummingbird is Google’s latest search algorithm. A search algorithm is a way to sort through billions of web pages after a search term is entered, revealing the best matches possible. The name “Hummingbird” is said to have come from the algorithm’s precision and speed.

Hummingbird affects conversational speech terms more than others, providing direct answers to complicated terms and questions. It is designed to focus on the meaning behind words and groups of words while working more like a human brain than a computer. Hummingbird ensures that meaning is derived as a whole rather than from individual words on their own.

Tips to Make Hummingbird Work for You

Following are ways to stay ahead of Hummingbird, ensuring that the algorithm works for your business and SEO efforts instead of against them.

Use Social Media to Your Advantage

More than ever before, social media matters in search engine rankings. While traditional sites like Facebook and Twitter are important for building credibility, Hummingbird is a Google tool, and Google has its own social network, Google+. Building a presence on the Google+ network means your business has a shot at higher page rankings. Take the time to research the network, build a business page and go from there. Use it regularly to post images and updates, to follow others and to invite others to follow you to build additional credibility.

Post Content Regularly

Blogs don’t exist without a reason. They’re an interactive way to connect a brand to its target demographic and to share relevant, useful information that builds credibility and establishes expertise. However, they’re also a way to stay at or get to the top of search engine results. Posting content shouldn’t be an “every now and then” endeavor; it should be a regular focus. This is especially true with the latest Hummingbird update. The new algorithm looks at how frequently content is posted and the results that content garners. A regular blog post is not only a service to your customers, it’s necessary if you want to use Hummingbird to your advantage.

Make It a Point to Stand Out

As any business owner knows, being different can be a good thing, especially in relation to the competition. Now it also matters for better search engine rankings.

By taking the time to evaluate your service offerings, and using language that’s different from the language on your competitors’ websites, you’re giving Google something different to work with. That something that could boost your position for certain searches. If you’re unsure of where to start, check out Google Adwords’ Keyword Planner. From there, focus on what your company offers that’s different from the competition and use it to your advantage.

Google’s Hummingbird update does not mean your entire SEO strategy needs to change. In fact, it should be viewed as an opportunity to reevaluate your goals and to set your site apart from the completion. A few changes could go a long way.

Scott Huntington is a writer, reporter, blogger, and social media guru. He’s a researcher for Maxwell Systems and lives in Pennsylvania with his wife and son and Follow Scott at @SMHuntington