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What Does Google’s Hummingbird Mean for SEO in 2014?

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Semantic Search.

That’s the phrase to keep in mind with the introduction of Google’s new Hummingbird algorithm. While previous updates Penguin and Panda were modifications to the company’s existing algorithm, Hummingbird is a complete replacement. What does that mean for SEO? In a nutshell, the days of extensive keyword data are over – at least in regard to individual search terms driving your site optimization strategy.

Google’s Hummingbird AlgorithmHummingbird is based on semantic search, which means that individual terms are no longer the main driving force behind what gets found during an online search. Instead, Google provides results it believes meet the context of the search and the user’s overall intent. Rather than one or two individual words triggering the results, entire phrases within the search help generate what is found.

For most, the change shouldn’t come as a surprise. Google has been moving in this direction for some time now, improving their technology to eliminate sites designed to game the system. Forward thinking web development businesses have anticipated the shift. Though extensive keyword data was valuable, and still is to some degree, it doesn’t remove the fact that what matters most is rich, engaging content that can be shared across networks.

Google’s position is clear: As the dominant search engine, the company wants to make sure they provide the results users want. The questions are simple:

  1. What is the user’s intent?
     
  2. In what context are they asking for this information? In other words, why is it valuable to them?

Though Google owns the market, they’re savvy enough to realize that the closer they are to the user’s target, the more likely they’ll remain the industry leader. At the heart of the movement is the need to instill trust. The user puts their trust in Google, and they, in turn, attempt to provide the best answers.

As a website owner, your job is to create valuable, relevant content. That’s what will draw people in. If you don’t, you can’t expect Google to find you.

Are you generating quality content that takes into account the changes in SEO? If not, Marketpath can help you put together a content marketing program. Contact us today to learn more.

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