Reno Tahoe Tonight Article (November, 2013) Blog

Reno Tahoe Tonight Article (November, 2013) Blog
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Google Updates the Way it Crawls the Web

[quote align=”center” color=”#999999″]Hummingbird combines Google’s Keyword Graph with semantic search. [/quote]

Google recently announced the newest in search engine algorithm updates, Hummingbird.  The Hummingbird update is largest change to the way Google searches the web since the “caffeine plan” three years ago.  In fact, unlike previous updates, Hummingbird is not just an update to an old algorithm; it is a whole new algorithm.

Google named this update Hummingbird because Hummingbirds are “precise and fast”.  That may be well and good but what does it mean for your business?

Hummingbird combines Google’s Keyword Graph with semantic search.  The goal is to provide search results for what people are looking for based on normal search habits, such as searches performed on mobile devices, and digital assistants like Apple’sSiri.  For instance; people are moving away from “hunt and peck” search terms typed into a browser such as; “hamburger, gluten free, Reno” but instead may speak into Siri, “where is the best gluten free burger in Reno”.  Understanding how people search is the foundation for Hummingbird.  Semantic search takes into consideration searcher intent.  They do this by utilizing context, location, intent, variety of words, synonyms, content matching, language, and other factors to serve up the most relevant websites.

Understanding how people search means that keyword clouds, keyword stacking, and hidden keywords won’t help you as they did before, but good solid website content that speaks to what the user wants is key.  Review your website and ask yourself, how will someone find me with my current content?  Am I answering questions my customers will have or is my website simply a directory?

In addition to semantic search, hummingbird also looks at Social Signals.  In other words, is your content shared on social sites, do people reference your business on social networks, and are your customers engaged on social networks?  Social media is a must for your online presence.   Be informative on social media, but also engage your customers as much as you can.  You want your customers to comment, like, and share what you write.  Each time this happens, you are creating a social signal.   Your engagement on social media sites shows your relevancy in the market.

Finally Hummingbird ranks websites higher if they have Google+.  This shouldn’t be of any surprise.  Google writes the algorithms and it’s logical they will rank their own properties higher.

SEO needs to keep up with how people search.  They key is to make sure your website isa resource to your customers.  Write relevant, engaging content that is likely to be shared on social networks and you will be in good shape.  And don’t ignore social media sites.  They aren’t going away.  Your customers are online and they will talk about you.  Don’t you want to be the one to lead the conversation?

Do you have a digital topic you’d like me to write about in a future column?  If so, please let me know by emailing me at

-Amber Howland
Dragonfly Media,, (775)746-4690

Amber Howland is General Manager of Dragonfly Media, based in Reno, Nevada.  Dragonfly Media works with small to medium size businesses to increase their digital influence through SEO/SEM, social media management, website/app development, and email marketing.