Getting to page 1 on GoogleGoogle Panda, Penguin, and now Hummingbird… what’s with all the critters? Google uses code-names for each version of it’s search algorithm. Hummingbird is the newest flavor, and it represents the most significant rebuild to it’s search algorithm in a very long time. It’s all over the blogosphere right now. Without getting too technical, here’s a quick Q & A and what it means for your business. Just remember, getting to page 1 on google requires a long term strategy but it can be done.

Isn’t this just the next step after Panda and Penguin?

Not exactly… those updates were only to elements of the old algorithm. Hummingbird is a NEW algorithm. Google is in the business of providing relevant search results. They feel this change will help them accomplish that.

What has changed?

Google is focusing on “conversational search”. Think of it as asking Google a full question, rather than providing it with a few words. Here’s an example:

OLD: Small Business SEO

NEW: How can I get my small business to the top of the search engines?

With Hummingbird, Google is trying to apply meaning of the search to provide the best results.

Why conversational search?

First, relevant results. Second, mobile search numbers continue to rise. With many mobile platforms now offering speech recognition, we’re now having conversations with our phones. We are much more like to say, “Where can I buy the new iPhone?” than, “New iPhone”. By applying meaning to some of the smaller words, Hummingbird takes cues from ‘where’, ‘buy’, and ‘iPhone’. More of the words in the search are now being used as signals… That’s conversational search.

What else has changed?

Google continues to place more weight on content. We never really left the “Content is King” mentality, but this should remind everyone it should be our focus. You need to be adding quality content to your website on a regular basis. Position yourself as the answer or resource in conversational search.

What about backlinks?

They are still there, but don’t count on buying a bunch of links to launch you to the top of Google. If you are generating quality content, you’ll get the links.

The Takeaway for Small Business: This is great news for small business. You’re going to have to earn your search engine position, but now you’ve got a vehicle to do it with Social, Blogs, and Original Content. If you haven’t started yet, you need to get going NOW! Small Business SEO is back in the hands of the little guys, where it should be.

Take a look at our blog for more resources for your businesses.