How Google's Updated Search Gives Small Businesses an Edge How Google's Updated Search Gives Small Businesses an Edge
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How Google's Updated Search Gives Small Businesses an Edge

by Rodrigo Mejia

October 25, 2013

Before it marked its 15th birthday last month, Google announced it was tweaking its search engine algorithm with a long-overdue update, dubbed Hummingbird.

So, what does it do? 

First, Google's Hummingbird update moves away from catchy search terms that SEO specialists have used to lure users to their pages. Instead, it favors more "conversational" search terms to land users at more precise, desirable content. In other words, instead of looking up "pizza," "giant crust," and "cheese heaven," users are more likely to search, "Where can I get a pizza with giant crust that can take me to cheese heaven?"

The result—and the second big switch—is that website rankings on Google are going to see a reshuffling. As smartphone users use voice-powered options for search, results will favor the conversational over the generic terms. Writes Wired, "By making its search engine better at understanding people, Google is paving the way for the future."

For small businesses, this means a leveling of the playing field as content, not how many iterations of the same search term, become of import. 

So what to do if you're a business preparing for the change? In Mashable:

"Businesses need to consider as many queries as possible, and what search could really be asking," said Bill Sebald, owner of Greenlane Search Marketing, a search engine optimization consulting group. "If your business is relevant for a search like, 'the best plasma TV to buy,' are consumers looking for bang for their buck in this case? Or rationale as to why it's the best? Popular opinion? Content should now expand to cover as many meaning as possible to be more appetizing to the Hummingbird algorithm."

And for consumers: the update to search results will also include content summaries to better aid users in their picking and choosing. 

Photo via (cc) Flickr user mjmonty

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How Google's Updated Search Gives Small Businesses an Edge