What Google’s Latest Updates Mean for Your Business


In the last month, Google has released two updates which impact the practice of search engine optimisation (SEO) and therefore your business’ digital marketing.

Google Keyword (Not Provided)

The first of these updates is a change to Google’s privacy and security policy. This change means data on the keywords people use to find our websites will no longer be available to us. 

This data has long been used by businesses to understand:

  • Brand perception; the terms people use to find our brand on the internet can tell us a lot about the understanding they have of our business and what we provide.
  • Types of traffic passed by different search terms; using keyword data, we can see the keywords people used to access our website and what they did after they arrived – therefore helping us to identify the keywords that drive the most engaged visitors or the visitors most likely to convert.

This information is used to guide digital marketing strategies and for this reason, many businesses will feel the loss of keyword data. As business leaders, we cannot ignore the change.

Assessing the performance of your digital marketing efforts post-update

It remains vital that we measure the effectiveness of our digital marketing, despite Google’s update, and all is not lost for businesses looking to measure the effectiveness of their search engine optimisation efforts.

Take a look at this article on Google Keyword (Not Provided) for a number of alternative options and insight into why Google has made these changes.

Google Hummingbird

The second of Google’s recent changes is the Hummingbird update. Hummingbird is a change to Google’s algorithm – the rules that influence the rankings of websites in the Google search results – and is therefore of great importance to our businesses.

As with all of Google’s updates, the purpose of Hummingbird is to improve the user experience and relevancy of search results; other recent updates you may have heard of include Google Penguin and Google Panda.

What is Hummingbird?

Hummingbird is a completely new search algorithm that affects an estimated 90% of all searches. It is focused on the user and on Google better understanding what we’re looking for when we enter our search queries. It will achieve this by examining not just the word(s) we search, but the meaning and context of our search queries too.

This means we’ll start to see Google giving much better answers to more conversational questions, the most cited example being that of the Eiffel Tower Search:

  • When was the Eiffel Tower built? 
  • How tall is it? 

Google will understand the connection between these terms and respond accordingly, thus paving the way for far more human interactions between Google and its users.

For us as businesses, this means we must continue our focus on high quality content, answering the questions and meeting the needs of our potential audience.

Staying up to date with Google’s changes is an important part of successful digital marketing.


Susan Halam is MD of Hallam Internet, a specialist specialist Internet agency that helps businesses to grow and develop their market share. She is also a Vistage member and an award winning Speaker.

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