Google recently released a new search algorithm called “Hummingbird”. This secret mathematical formula is what Google uses to determine where websites appear in search results. Unlike previous updates to the Google algorithm, Hummingbird is expected to affect nearly 99% of all web searches.
How dental websites are optimized for search.
The search engine optimization of dental websites is generally focused on search that is localized. There is little need for your website to appear in a search for dentists outside of your city or local service area. This is why top web design companies like Smile Savvy would seek to optimize a dental website with a specific city, state and dental specialization. This gives a dental website the best possible chance of appearing in searches where a potential patient is looking for a dentist in their specific area. These are called “short-tail search queries” because they involve only a few words that tend to be generalized in nature.
How Hummingbird is different.
Hummingbird, on the other hand, focuses on giving better results for users who enter what is known as “long-tail search queries”. These types of searches are also called semantic searches, because they’re more similar to the way we speak. For example, instead of someone searching for, “Dentists in New York”, the Hummingbird algorithm is meant to target searches like, “What do I do if I break a tooth?” Hummingbird is part of Google’s goal of bringing relevant results to each search query.
What Google “Hummingbird” Means to Dentists.
As most dental websites focus on short-tail search queries, Hummingbird shouldn’t have much of an initial impact on the type of searches that eventually land on your website. But as time goes on, and as search becomes more semantic in nature, your website will face heavy competition from other dentists who are currently using their website to answer the questions their patients are asking.
Your website needs a blog.
Blog posts are naturally designed to give relevant results to long-tail searches because they answer very specific questions your patients might have. “What’s the best toothpaste to use?” “When should I take my children to their first dental visit?” “How do I know if I have a cavity?” Each of these questions is best answered on a blog and the Hummingbird algorithm is going to favor websites that provide those answers. Our recent post on blogs gives 26 other reasons why your website needs one. One note: However you move forward in setting up your blog, be sure that it is hosted on the same server as your website and is connected through your domain or the benefits of Hummingbird may be lost.
Why do things keep changing?
It’s easy to see the challenges posed by updates to the Google algorithm as annoyances. It would be nice to see a high performing website simply stay at the top with no extra work to keep it there. But ultimately, we all benefit from search providers that give us the data that we are actually searching for. Please visit the Smile Savvy website for more information on how you can have a great dental website from the leading provider in the industry.