In the world of digital communication, people have had to learn how to speak like computers while computers continually improve their ability to speak like humans. With new search tools like the Apple’s Siri and Google’s voice search, the volume of voice-centric, ‘natural-language’ data users provide to these search giants thins the communication barriers dramatically. Thus, Hummingbird, Google’s latest algorithm update. This release, written from the ground up, now prefers content with less computer-like language “Where is the nearest coffee shop?” rather than, “coffee shop, Nashville.”

Websites whose content has thrived in search rankings have recently found their way off the first page of Google for a specific local keyword search and local directory listings that provide large volumes of business listing data (but a poor user experience) have quickly come bubbling to the top. The game has changed, at least for the time being, and the world of search marketing has a challenge ahead.

1. We must relearn how to communicate with search engines. This looks like writing valuable, quality content that includes less keyword phrasing and more topic-related language.

2. We go where Google goes. The bigger directory listings are very important right now, so,, Yelp (to a degreethe G/Y relationship has a troubled history), and others are seeing growth with this latest update. Being listed in these directories isn’t as likely to generate a click as showing up at the top of Google, but it’s important to be there if it make sense for your company.

3. Google Places listings. Local search phrases have seen decline, but Google’s knowledge graph and Maps listings remain stronger than ever. Having an accurate, local listing in Google Places is crucial.

4. Positive reviews. Like it or not, your company is open to scrutiny online. If you have customers, they’re going to talk about you. Make sure your sales team, customer service team and your primary products and services deliver on the promise your company (or marketing message) makes. Reviews should work themselves out at that point, but you can better control the message by asking for it directly and providing a link to your company’s Google profile.

Contact Horton Group for a free, local search evaluation or speak with an account manager today at 615-292-8642.