Google Hummingbird: Finding the Nectar in the New SEO Algorithm

Google Hummingbird SEO Update

Google’s new “Hummingbird” SEO algorithm is a game changer for senior living communities seeking to achieve “Page One” search rankings to keep themselves visible and relevant in today’s competitive eldercare marketplace. Why is understanding how the new search engine optimization process works so important to you?  Simply because consumer web search studies indicate that if your community does not appear on the first page of a web search, you essentially don’t exist! The latest research on the subject demonstrates that 95% of all consumers do not look beyond page one of their search.

As so aptly stated in a recent Senior Housing Forum article titled “Hummingbird and Senior Housing Marketing” by John Gonzales“If your company doesn’t show up on page one, you’re done!”

What Hummingbird Means to YOU

Hummingbird places significantly greater emphasis on the value of the relationship between your community and the consumer and assesses the value of your website content through that prism. Of primary importance now is how your brand relates to the real life problems, needs and concerns of the market you serve, whether it’s independent living, memory care or skilled nursing.

To prepare for the new era of Hummingbird, you might ask yourself the following questions: Do you understand what your customers are really looking for and what they are worried about? Are you providing useful answers to your consumers’ questions? Are you offering effective solutions to your prospects’ problems, needs and concerns? With Hummingbird, your value proposition and demonstrated value to customers become increasingly important and transcends keyword “SEO loading.”  In other words, Hummingbird assesses and rewards tangible, value-added benefits over keyword density.

How to Make Your Search Rankings Soar

When in doubt, view your content from the perspective of your typical website visitors, i.e. adult children and/or their aging parents or grandparents. Would it provide real value to you? If you can’t answer with a resounding “YES,” you need to spend more time on your messaging. Make sure it is worthwhile to your customers and it will be nectar to Hummingbird.

Helpful hints to help your rankings take flight:

  • Place greater focus on your brand and how it creates VALUE for your customers.
  • Remember that keywords still have a place in the process, but are given less weight than previously. (Under past algorithms, it was too easy to “keyword load” to increase rankings without providing any real value to consumers)
  • Demonstrate your value by answering customer questions and providing solutions to their needs, i.e. function as a purposeful entity with actual goals that benefit people.
  • While keywords are not going away, there will now be a greater focus on more complex “long-tail keywords,” e.g. “memory care assisted living for your aging mother.” These more detailed or expanded keywords will be given greater weight.
  • Social Media Optimization (SMO) tactics are important. Think of this as SMO in SEO. Optimizing your Social Media activity reflects positively on your Search Engine Optimization. Social sharing and engagement are key to the new optimization model. For your social media, videos tend to be the most appealing and engaging, followed by pictures and other visuals. Basic text articles with no visual elements tend to be the least appealing and engaging. Also…
    • Create links to other related sites and articles
    • Use Infographics
    • Create videos and post them on YouTube
  • Promote your social media! Set aside a small budget to promote your high value social media e.g. Facebook. The greater consumer awareness is, the greater the potential for consumer engagement and higher search rankings.
  • Write blogs frequently and then share often. Activity on your website and social media accounts becomes your pulse on the Internet.
  • Be mobile app friendly by using responsive web design. Today, 50% of all searches start with a mobile device. Mobile searches are becoming more popular due to voice activation becoming more available and more mainstream.
  • “Authority and Authoritativeness” – The more value you contribute to your customer group in terms of useful information, the more Hummingbird recognizes you as a thought leader and authority in your field.
  • Diversity of your links is rewarded by Hummingbird. Producing the “same old, same old” may actually be detrimental to your ranking.

By following these best-practice guidelines, you can master Google’s new Hummingbird search algorithm and keep your community’s ranking “Page One!” 

Implications for Senior Living Providers

Google’s latest SEO algorithm has upped the stakes and increased the importance of effective website development and social media strategy. Today, not getting it right can have major consequences for your brand’s visibility, credibility and marketability. If you require proven expertise and experience to strengthen your website’s value and your social media’s impact to achieve optimal growth, be sure to look for an experienced organization that operates exclusively in the senior living marketplace and has the specialized expertise and the award-winning experience required to succeed