Social and Search, Google’s “Hummingbird” Algorithm

With very little pomp and circumstance, Google changed the way you find information on the web. With the amount of traffic that Google directs through the use of their search tool, this is a significant change to Internet traffic. The “Hummingbird” which Google named for being fast and precise, changes the core engine that runs search. But many marketers are wondering, “how do their changes affect me?”

Let’s highlight a few of the major changes to the way you find information:

Google continues to emphasize “local” in search. You will notice this as you search for terms like “bank” that typically the bank with a location near you will show up higher in the search results. You may turn-off location-tracking, but most users leave this on to provide better results.

Longer search terms. Since the early days of search we have been used to Boolean search terms like Pizza and carry-out. But with voice-search being an increasingly-used tool, Google recognizes that it is more natural for people to ask questions like, “where is the nearest First Bank ATM”? These longer search terms mean that to find accurate information we may need to input our data into Google+ results or other directories.

#bankingSocial is a greater factor. Google has been valuing search results higher based on social data for quite some time now, but with the amount of social data being shared. this is increasing. Essentially for a search engine to work correctly in today’s market it has to be able to gauge the sentiment within posts to determine how people feel about a brand or service. Google’s new search algorithm also includes hashtags which incorporates Google+, Twitter and Facebook results while you search with hashtags.

Are we held-hostage by Google’s algorithms?

No. In fact they are beginning to play in our favor as relationship-builders. In financial services, our customers trust us more than almost any other relationship to do what we say we are going to do. Since we are in the business of building relationships, we need to continue to develop our social strategies to help our customers and potential customers validate that positive relationships exist.