What Does Google’s Latest Update, “Hummingbird”, Mean for Your Dental Website?

Google recently made an announcement that has the Search Engine Optimization community buzzing. The two largest components of this announcement include the release of a new algorithm, called “Hummingbird”, as well as the intention to hide user keyword data from future reporting.

hummingbirdWhat is Hummingbird?

Hummingbird is a complete overhaul to Google’s algorithm, designed to provide users with better search results to longer questions. With more and more users performing voice search, short keyword searches are becoming less common. For example, instead of searching “Delta Dentist San Francisco” someone might speak the search “I need a dentist in San Francisco who accepts Delta Insurance” into their mobile device’s search function. Rather then focusing on an individual keyword match to a website, Google is now evaluating what they determine as the intent of the search and attempting to provide the most relevant, user-friendly, high quality content based on more than just matching phrases.

What Does It Mean for Me?

Fortunately, the PBHS Dental SEO team has always focused optimization techniques on quality content, clean coding and mark-up languages that make it easier for Google to determine the intent and purpose of a website. Because PBHS follows Google’s best practices, and does not optimize using older methods, such as keyword stuffing, our clients will only benefit from this algorithm update. PBHS prioritizes creating websites and content that provide real value for patients, an effort that will always provide valuable by Google’s standards even when the metrics change.

What Can You Do?

This update will reward unique and engaging site content more than ever before. If you have not done so already, please provide your SEO account manager with any missing content they have been requesting. Doctor and team member biographies, smile gallery photos and testimonials are all very beneficial pieces of unique content you should provide to PBHS.This type of unique content often represents the most popular and engaging pages of the website. Engaging the user is becoming more important factor in your website’s campaign results. If you have a site that you can edit yourself, please make sure to contact your SEO Account Manager when you make updates. This way, they can optimize the updated content, to further enhance your search results.

What Is Google Doing With Keywords?

One of the biggest changes included in this update has to do with keyword data. You may have noticed on your website reports that more and more keywords are showing as “not set” or “not provided”. Until now, these titles have indicated users that are either using a browser (such as Firefox) with increased security settings, or have been logged into a Google Account. With increasing concerns about user privacy, Google recently announced that they would be hiding all keyword data from reporting systems as of November 22nd.

If Keywords are No Longer Available, How Do I Gauge SEO Success?

Keywords became less important as a search metric since the implementation of personalized search and the increase of voice search on mobile devices. Instead, there are three metrics on your SEO reports that are more valuable indicators of success. Search Traffic – An overall increase in search engine generated traffic to your website means that more users are discovering your site from search engines. Ranking for search terms is simply a means to an end. More traffic to your website results in increased chances of converting a user to a new patient. Leads – A lead visitor is a more specific segment of your search traffic. A lead is a user that was located in your local market and spent quality time looking through your site. They used a search term that did not include the names of doctors, your practice name, your phone number or your address. In other words, they found you without specifically looking for you. An increase in leads show that it is easier for target demographics to find your site in the search engines. Conversions – A conversion is a user who performed an action that engaged with your site, indicating contact with your office. This includes calling you from a mobile device, filling out a contact form, getting driving directions to your office, or emailing you. We cannot track all conversions (for example, if a user calls your site from a landline) Increasing conversion, the metric most indicative of getting new patients, is the ultimate goal of your website. For more information on these changes, contact your PBHS SEO Account Manager. If you are not currently an SEO client, please contact a representative to learn how our Launch Dental and Launch Social Products can increase your practice’s online visibility. 800-840-5383.

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