My October column about the changes in search engine optimization expressed the need like never before for small businesses to hire marketers who write well. For several years now, I have observed an evolution towards what I term a new journalism, where skilled content creators hone and shape companies messages effectively and drive new business to your door.
Marketers and SEO specialists who once depended on carefully-constructed and placed text content to enhance being found online are now having to rethink their strategy since the August 2013 launch of Googles Hummingbird algorithm. Launched in August, Hummingbird shakes up the content creators standard keyword search model. Today, people are more likely to search online by asking questions on their mobile devices instead of typing in keywords into a computers search box. Hummingbird now addresses your question -- either typed into your computers search box or voiced into your mobile device -- and will launch a search via the context or semantic relevance of your input instead of using keywords. As the popularity of voice search grows, you can expect marketers to start scrambling for new ways to push forward their clients websites, blogs, landing pages and other messaging.
On your desktop or laptop, Googles Chrome browser will perform this conversational, questionbased search on your computer using a tiny microphone at the top right of your screen that allows you to vocalize your question. You can see how this new algorithm might eventually threaten the success of web marketers in the future because they will essentially be competing with Google instead of merely figuring out and getting a one-up on it. One blogger pointed out that we should remember, however, that its not Googles responsibility to optimize search for marketers; its goal is to make search more convenient for browser users. (By the way: the Chrome browser is a Google product).
Dont dismiss keyword search anytime soon, however. Having compelling, keyword-rich content on your website will still work to enhance your SEO.
As always, I emphasize the importance of establishing your company as an authority in your particular industry and providing consumer advice or insiders tips will work well to gain a foothold in the mind of your customer or potential customer, client or patient.
Paige Henson is a new media consultant for small businesses. She specializes in inbound marketing and content management. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.