Predicting consumer search behavior is like trying to predict hot trends—it’s doable, but takes a lot of research and hard work. Luckily, Google is doing a lot of the work for you; all you need to know is how consumer behavior affects your business and how you can get your business to the top of the Google search rankings. Google Hummingbird is Google’s most recent search algorithm and is not to be confused with Panda (which is Google’s algorithm to weed out content with poor quality content) and Penguin (which guards against Web spam factors, including keyword stuffing). Hummingbird improves on Google’s old algorithm by making each search more personalized based on information Google already has about consumers. That means keywords are still important, but adding specific details to your Web pages is even more important. Also, think more conversational; for example, when consumers go online to find answers, many ask questions in their search (“where is the best pizza in Long Island?”). Last, Hummingbird integrates social media as a factor even more than Google’s prior algorithm, so make sure you’re not slacking off on your social media presence.
Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media and custom content company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship. Email Rieva at firstname.lastname@example.org, follow her on Google+ and Twitter.com/Rieva, and visit her website, SmallBizDaily.com, to get the scoop on business trends and sign up for Rieva’s free TrendCast reports.