Tags: homebuilder websites, Hummingbird, SEO for homebuilders, SEO news for homebuilders
This post was written by: Anna Chandler
Google recently announced their newest search algorithm update called Hummingbird, and we’ve had several homebuilders ask if the changes are going to affect their SEO. It’s the most significant update since 2001, after all. (That’s twelve years, which in internet time is practically an eon.) Surely some things shifted around, yeah?
Well, no. When Google announced Hummingbird, they also mentioned that they’d already been using it – for a few months. So if you didn’t notice anything then you definitely won’t now. If you did happen notice anything different about your results please of course feel welcome to contact us for all our research and details, but for the most part Hummingbird hasn’t been a big shake up. If you’re already doing what you’re supposed to be doing, just keep doing that.
So what is special about Hummingbird? The most significant and publicly discussed aspect so far has been conversational search. Let’s say a buyer was searching for a custom home (and definitely not a resale) in Texas. With the old search functionality you’d have to type in “custom homebuilders + Austin – resale” which is a mouthful. It’s clunky, mathematical, complex. And we say mouthful on purpose. Because that’s even harder to type on a teeny mobile keyboard and ridiculous to say; a lot of searches are done by voice while out and about nowadays. (We’ll talk about mobile searching and what you need to know for your SEO soon.)
Google is now focusing more on your statement as a whole; letting you search easily with normal sentences like “custom homebuilders in Austin” and comparing one part of the sentence to another, so that you see custom builders in Austin and not custom builders plus some facts about Austin. This is especially great if you’re using the voice search on the phone. Cooking and your hands are messy? Just ask “compare olive oil and butter” and you’ll see something amazing. More intuitive searches, better results.
What does that all mean for your homebuilder website? Your site, for people’s on-the-go search results, absolutely needs to be mobile friendly – whether that’s with a mobile site or using responsive design (more on that soon too). You can also consider your content as searchable by standard strings. But that’s something – writing for your user, not for Google – that you should already be doing. It just makes it a lot easier. Rather than fretting about where you rank for a particular query, you’re free to consider how you best answer and respond to the questions your buyers have.
It’s our suspicion that Hummingbird also updated a lot of the algorithms while they were at it. Google’s been building their formulas for 15 years now, so there was probably some cruft; while clearly nothing now has massively changed the update, if it was to “clean house”, could mean some other changes coming soon. And if so? We’ll keep you updated.