Posted on October 21, 2013

Flying With the New Google Hummingbird Algorithm: How Does the Google Hummingbird Update Affect My Medical Website?

It’s no joke that I personally receive 5 emails a day from SEO companies promising better results, 99% of them have no idea what my keywords are or never even gave my website a look. Additionally, I receive calls from medical practice websites that have been penalized, 99% of these problems come from previous Google updates or poor link building practices.

With the advent of the new Google Hummingbird update, which Danny Sullivan of Search Engine Land has labeled the most significant Google algorithm update since 2001, it is important for medical practices to understand the value of white hat search engine optimization. Is it worth saving fifty dollars a month to get your domain blacklisted and losing all of your hard earned page rank and web equity to only start over? As a medical practice SEO professional, I am perplexed as to the poor decision making over this topic. Find a credible company with a quality track record to help with SEO. On top of the past Google animal updates of Penguin and Panda, we now have a new bird in town. Enter the new Google updated called “Hummingbird”. I hope for many practices this will not affect them, and in regards to sites I have worked on since the update, I haven’t detected any problems.

The Google Hummingbird algorithm is essentially the brain or “machine” of Google’s organic search results. This algorithm understands someone’s search queries better than ever before. Despite the fact that Google has made big changes with this algorithm, they are sticking to their core algorithm philosophy. Having great unique and custom content and a relevant, quality link profile will still be of most importance. According to Google, this search algorithm is much smarter. It can answer questions, filter the answers, and give you comparison data all at a glance. You don’t have to click away from search results, hoping web pages will have the answers. The search data one is searching for will be right there and easy to find.

Things to think about:

1. Ensure good quality content throughout the website.

Hummingbird will help ensure that Google delivers users to the most appropriate page of a website rather than to a home page or a top level page. As such, every single page should be closely targeted to potential visitors.

2. Stop playing Russian Roulette with link building and focus on quality.

It is about time Google starts to crack down on spammy links. If your website focuses on regular informative content updates this will start to factor in more in the future. There is nothing worse than finding a website that provides no good content, but showed up due to links. It is frustrating for the user and Google has worked hard here to make the algorithm better.

3. Consider content marketing and using your blog to attract quality links.

Use more questions in the body copy of the page. Rather than attempting to identify the individual keywords or phrases that are found in a search query, the new Hummingbird update looks at the query as a whole. It considers the entire sentence and then looks for the most relevant results.

4. Determine your future SEO needs.

Determining what your strengths and weaknesses are in regards to your SEO is critical at this point. Once the dust settles from the new update you should start to figure this out. I would suggest an SEO SWAT analysis to move the ball forward. You may need reputation management or local search support, you may need onsite work or even some better content strategies. At the end of the day, if you work on making your website appealing to the many SEO variables it will increasingly improve. It’s not about being #1 all of the time, but making conservative, quality strides forward.