Missed the Memo? The Latest Google Developments (Sept 2013)

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Written By Rick Eliason Posted On October 4, 2013

I spent the last two weeks of September in America (where I got to go to Google and Facebook HQ) away from an internet connection and I felt I’d missed out on one of the most active months news-wise this year – typical! In any case it seems that the news has bypassed many others so I thought I’d write a quick post for the benefit of our clients, partners and friends outlining the latest Google developments that have taken place this month.

Google Hummingbird – Upgrade rather than update

While online marketers are still reeling from the latest Penguin and Panda algorithm updates, Google have quietly released a new update. ‘Hummingbird’ as it has been named is unlike Panda and Penguin (which were simply updates to the existing algorithm – albeit major) in that it is a completely re-written upgrade to better accommodate ‘conversational’ search queries – those queries entered by voice (an increasingly used function of most smart phones). Hummingbird also looks to improve on Google’s own knowledge graph results for more search queries.

How does this affect you? Well, although the update is rumoured to affect around 90% of websites in some way, there has been little noticeable impact thus far – in fact most marketers didn’t even realise the update had happened until it was officially announced retrospectively! However…

1. As the knowledge graph seeks to answer more and more queries you could find that your site is pushed down in the results, or worse, ignored as the KG solves the user’s query entirely.

2. You may need to adjust your content and keyword strategy based on this new way of searching. Where you may have optimised for the term [used cars london] you may consider conversational terms such as [where can I find second hand car dealerships nearby]. Although Google is smart enough to extract the operative key words [second hand, car] and substituting your phone’s physical location for [nearby], it may be in the future that you need to tailor your content accordingly.

This and 5 other points on how to make the most from Hummingbird has been put together by Dean Marsden of Koozai.

Additional Reading:

100% [Not Provided] Keyword Data in Google Analytics

If you are a hands on digital marketer and often use Google Analytics to track your campaign(s) you will have noticed that the keyword-level data is slowly disappearing in favour of [not provided]. Eventually we can only suspect that no keyword-level data will be obtainable in Analytics.

For us marketers this poses a problem as it makes it difficult to prove to our client/boss the tangible benefits of ranking increases and improvements to non-branded search traffic. Additionally we will no longer be able to strategise and create content based on specific keyword opportunities.

Still, great SEO is not solely based on keyword relevancy, it is about delivering a great online experience. And keyword rankings only mean so much. Remember, you can get just as much traffic from a strategic keyword at #6 with a rich snippet as a low-traffic keyword at #1 for instance.

But for those of you still worried, this is a great post by Mike Murray on how to measure keyword effectiveness after the inevitable black out.

New Google Logo

On a lighter note, Google have updated their logo, (albeit subtly)! The new ‘flat’ design looks cleaner and brighter in a nod to Yahoo’s recently unveiled logo.

New Google Logo



About Rick Eliason

With a strong in-house SEO/e-commerce background prior to Reload, Rick is a firm believer in content/inbound marketing and is currently fascinated with the developments around Google+. Find Rick Eliason on Google +.
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