Summary of Search, September 2013

Google announced that it rewrote pretty much it’s entire algorithm last month in that “unnamed update.” It’s the biggest change since 2001. Seventy percent of the Search Engine Results Pages were affected! Compare that to Penguin, in which something like 3 percent of SERPs were affected.

The new Google algorithm is code-named “Hummingbird.” Many of the basics are the same:

1. Content should be accessible / easy to navigate for search engines.

2. Keywords should be properly tagged, with special boost to those using:

a. Semantic markup

b. Rich snippets

c. Google authorship

3. Authoritative links

According to one expert, “Quick SEO” is firmly in the past. We couldn’t agree more: Google has been strongly advocating this direction for some time. And the Panda/Penguin updates began steering the industry more than 2 years ago. Panda & Penguin aren’t going away: They are parts of the new algorithm and are likely to get additional updates in the future.

Across our clients, we saw very little change. Certain keywords had light movement up or down on August 20, but not by much. If you follow Google’s rules, you don’t get hit.



1. Mobile/Voice/Location queries

Google expanded it’s ability to deal with mobile/voice & location based queries like: “What’s the closest place to buy the iPhone 5s?”

They also have more comparisons showing via the “knowledge graph” for queries like: “space needle versus empire state building”

2. “Entity search”

In keyword based queries of yesteryear (and even “yestermonth”), google sometimes couldn’t figure out queries like “windows replacement” and “windows 7 replacement”: Is it a PC user or a homeowner asking?

Google is using a database of facts about specific, unique entities (people, places, businesses, events, etc) to figure out how to return the best results. Think about the broad keywords you are targeting, and consider how you can “talk around” these topics.

3. Hashtag search

The only posts that will show up on Google searches are those that were shared publicly, or shared with you (if you’re a Google+ user). Clicking on one of the Google+ posts leads you to Google+ where the search is reproduced.

There are also links at the bottom of the sidebar to perform the hashtag search over at twitter or facebook, but these are bumped below the fold in less than 2 seconds – as new Google+ posts fill the sidebar.



1. Create content around your “entities”

Engaging, shareable, linkable content is now more important than ever. Do you have every kind of content about your subject? Consider videos, images, lists, podcasts, infographics, and articles regarding the entities you want to be found for. These are likely your broad keywords, but don’t go too broad.

2. Tag content with semantic markup & rich snippets

Google is smart, indeed. But semantic markup & rich snippets make it easy for Google to understand the correct answers for their users questions. Rich snippets have grown in importance, and are now “must have” for search engine visibility.

While Google is still working out the kinks in authorship for brands, it’s becoming increasingly important that authorship be implemented.

3. Content Marketing Link Building & Social Media Marketing

Having great content was never enough, and it still isn’t. There are more ways than ever to get the word out. Some will even help you win authority links.


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