Feb 26, 2014
“But when I search for my business, or businesses like mine, I’m at the top of the list. Why do I need to do anything to my website?”
I get this from people all the time.
It’s a common misconception that your web browser is like everyone else’s browser ( Google, Bing and Yahoo… ).
Browsers are personalized and – this may scare you a bit, but it’s ok- they know you. They know your habits and have a sense of what you are looking for based on past searches. They know you’ve Googled yourself and your business, and return those results highly. It’s why it can autocomplete past searches and can tell you how often you’ve looked for yourself.
Google has made stark changes over the past couple years in the way it ranks websites. When one of its most recent algorithm incarnations, Hummingbird, was released in August of 2013, it created a whirlwind in the search landscape and has since continued to have far reaching impact. In its wake, businesses have been forced to modify their web marketing strategies and SEO efforts to regain favor with Google to reclaim their former search rankings.
Search Engine Land
It’s also why, in Google’s case, that they are the industry leader. They know, through what you’ve done in the past, what you are likely to want to find in the future. This is not so for your neighbor. Or your friends. Or strangers. Especially strangers who have money – your favorite kind. They don’t see what you see. They probably don’t see you at all. That’s a problem.
What does this mean to me?
Google’s semi-recent update, called Hummingbird, was released nearly a year ago and was the most significant change to the search giant’s algorithm. Gone are worrying about keywords, exactly, as well as things like “should I optimize my site for candy corn or candy corns?” the Hummingbird update, which abandoned some of its previous search ranking factors in favor of more humanlike factors, is designed to eradicate simple things like that and encourage quality content that is consistently published from websites.
In short, when someone searches for “candy corn”, Google will know what you mean and return results for websites based on your previous browsing history, your location and intent, as well as a website’s “usability”. The top few results may not even contain the phrase “candy corn” anywhere on their website.