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As the world’s most widely used search service, Google is constantly making changes to adapt to new user needs and the technologies supporting and creating those needs. Mobile in particular has grown more influential, as more searches and different kinds of searches are being performed on mobile devices. In response to this new reality, Google has unveiled a brand new algorithm update for us all to get to know – Hummingbird.
How Does Google Hummingbird Compare to Penguin & Panda?
If you haven’t noticed any significant changes in traffic or rankings, it’s because this update isn’t aimed at devaluing certain kinds of links (Penguin) or devaluing and ignoring certain kinds of content (Panda). It’s not intended to eliminate spam or come down on black hat SEOs that go against Google’s guidelines (those guys are our enemies, too!). Instead this update is about new features, expanded functionality, and the Google search engine adapting to the contemporary search world.
Google’s last major update of this nature was Caffeine, an upgrade to the Google engine designed to index the massive amounts of content being produced each second online. Hummingbird is an update to the Google engine that is designed to answer more complex questions by interpreting the relationship between words in a query rather than just deliver a list of content containing keywords. For example, Google is addressing questions that deal with comparison or knowledge seeking such as, “Is sugar or Splenda better for me?” or “What is best way to get to the mall and avoid traffic?”
Voice Search Optimization
Google is heading towards the optimization of voice-based search, so that when someone asks a device complex and conversational questions, Google will be able to return accurate results. Hummingbird also focuses on remembering the topic at hand so that various questions may be asked about one item without repeating the subject. For example the question, “Where was Shakespeare born?” can be followed by “Where did he study?” and Google search will interpret he as Shakespeare.
What Does Google Hummingbird Mean for SEO?
This still means that original and relevant content is key, and SEO writing may become easier and definitely more natural as search engines will go about searching for answers as a human might go about research. Hummingbird will focus on the overall concept of a question rather than the individual words of the question. We’ll keep you up to date on more Google Hummingbird details as they come out.
People have access to mobile devices from virtually anywhere and shopping behavior is changing as well with the growing usage of smartphones and tablets. Studies and research have shown that consumers even prefer to use their smartphone/tablet at home, while watching TV instead of turning on their laptops or desktops. Many advertisers are only slowly adapting to this change by specifically targeting mobile users online. They are also often forgetting what happens after the consumer clicked on their online ad from their mobile device. Do they have a mobile-friendly site in place? What if the site doesn’t show up in the right format and the consumer leaves right away?
But before you begin to just blindly build out a mobile site for your business, you should be aware of two different ways to do so. You can either create a separate mobile website for your business or use a responsive design instead.
What is responsive design? Responsive design is an emerging trend among web developers which adapts to the device a consumer uses to view your website, whether it’s a tablet, smartphone or laptop. While a website built with responsive design automatically resizes for different devices, the advertiser still has to decide the content he wants to prioritize. Smartphone users might be more interested to find your contact information quickly, while tablet users just try to simplify their online purchases on the go or sitting at home on the couch. With responsive design you could focus on a click-to-call button for smartphone users, while the tablet site could prioritize the whole shopping experience, from selecting the product to an easy check-out process. If you wonder about the technical details to build a mobile-friendly site with responsive design, please read Google webmaster team’s blog post.
The illustration by Google below shows a quick overview and points out differences between the two approaches.
Google also helps you decide which mobile approach is best for your business with a few guidelines.
What you need to know, if you decide to use responsive design:
- You don’t necessarily have to build a completely new site, if you want to use responsive design. A sophisticated web developer can implement the necessary changes and make adjustments. However, you should be aware of additional costs in terms of time and budget.
- There will only be one URL for desktop, mobile and tablets for a site built with responsive design. If you built a separate mobile site, this site typically uses a different mobile URL. However, users should be taken there automatically if the desktop site has an auto redirect code enabled.
- It is hard to determine what a responsive design for mobile costs as prices vary by developer and agency.
For additional information on how to build a mobile-friendly site, finding resources as well as testing the site, visit howtogomo.com.