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Hummingbird Update
Customer Paradigm

Customer Paradigm is a Google Partner.
   Customer Paradigm is a Google Adwords Certified Partner

Paradigm Now a Google Partner
We’ve taken our search marketing to a whole
new level: Customer Paradigm is now an official Google
Partner for search marketing. This means that we’ve
passed advanced tests and have been certified directly
by Google as both individuals and a company. Google
Partner Profile Page >>


the past several months, we’ve been heads-down, working
on a variety of projects, including:

Car Accessories site
, built
on the Magento platform, with a responsive design.
Chevrolet Car Accessories Site, launched by Customer Paradigm
, a Magento Enterprise
site, with a retail and wholesale system
Yala Designs - Magento Enterprise Site
, including paid and
natural search marketing for 17 AAMCO dealerships
in Colorado.
AAMCO Colorado
many, many more projects than we can’t list here,
including some household, national brands.

Google Business Trusted PhotographerGoogle
Business Photos – Certified Photographer

now a certified Google Business Photographer, and can
do 360 degree panoramic photos inside businesses (similar
to Google Street View). I’m working with Moz.com to
publish a report that correlates Google Business Photos
with higher local search rankings (stay tuned).

Hummingbird Update

biggest change to the search marketing world is Google’s
Hummingbird update, which affects 90% of search queries.
What’s changed? What does this mean for SEO? Read more
below >>

— Jeff

Hummingbird Update
Hummingbird in Boulder, Colorado, by Jeff FinkelsteinHummingbird
in Boulder, Colorado,
Photo by Jeff Finkelstein 

Affects 90% of Searches.

new Hummingbird update affects 90% of search queries.

last time the entire search algorithm was so dramatically
rewritten was in 2001 — only three years after Google

2001, most people weren’t texting, because smart phones
weren’t at all common. Maybe you’d see a Blackberry,
but that was about it. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram,

Pinterest weren’t live. Nobody watched videos online,
because YouTube hadn’t been created yet. iPhones and
iPads were science fiction. And most companies had basic
websites, if they had them at all.

in 2013, the world is different, and always connected.
Information is always available at your fingertips,
wherever you are.

upgraded, too
. The past updates of Penguin,
Panda and Caffeine were incremental.

Is A Complete Overhaul of Google.

Hummingbird is an overhaul, and governs the
more than 200 elements that make up Google’s search

Sullivan of Search Engine Land compares the Hummingbird
update to a complete replacement of a car engine.
the past, Google changed out the equivalent of parts
here and there in the engine, but the Hummingbird update
is like dropping a whole new engine into a car.

Hummingbird in Boulder, Colorado, by Jeff FinkelsteinHummingbird
on a Branch in Boulder, Colorado,
Photo by Jeff Finkelstein 

to Google, the name Hummingbird stems from the metaphor
of being precise and fast.
If you’ve ever seen
a hummingbird hover, this is very true. (To capture
a hummingbird’s wings, you need to use a 1/2,000 of
a second shutter speed. Most iPhone photos are about
1/20 of a second.)

Understanding of End User’s Intent When Searching.
is not a new way that Google is indexing and ranking
pages to display search results. Instead, Hummingbird
attempts to better understand the end user’s intent
when they are searching.

People are now using longer "conversational"
type of queries.

think that this may be partly because of the success
of Apple’s Siri,
which allows you to ask questions
naturally. Instead of asking for a list of restaurants
around your location, you can simply tell Siri that
you’re hungry, and Siri figures out the rest.

to Sullivan, an example might be a search query like,
"What’s the closest place to buy the iPhone
5s to my home?"

the Hummingbird update, Google picked out the keywords,
and "iPhone"
and tried to find a page that matched.

according to Search Engine World’s Danny Sullivan, Hummingbird
should better focus on the meaning behind the words.

can personalize the search results based on where you
are searching from. For example, Google knows where
you are based on your IP address, or if you’ve used
Google Maps for directions, and registered your home

Hummingbird update may figure out that when you write
in a query, in a specific
part of the search, it signals that you want
to go to a physical store to buy the iPhone
instead of ordering it online.

to Google, here are other searches that have been affected:

  • Searching
    for "acid reflux prescription"

    the past listed a lot of the acid reflux medications
    on the market, and how to purchase them. Now, Google
    says their results have been updated to give more
    information about how to treat acid reflux in general.
  • In
    the past, searching for "pay your bills through
    citizens bank and trust bank"

    led you to the home page for Citizens Bank’s website.
    Now, Google’s Hummingbird update will bring you to
    the specific page about paying bills online.

Does Hummingbird Mean for SEO?

It means now, more than ever, having original,
high-quality content on your site is key. Engaging with
the customer is what moves the SEO dial.

you haven’t lost significant traffic, you should be
fine. Hummingbird has now been live for more than two

you’re not sure what it means to have engaging content
on your site, that’s the focus of my next few newsletters.

SEO Dead With Hummingbird?

No. But SEO firms that are stuck in the past
with trying to stuff keywords into pages, create meaningless
inbound links, and trying to "trick" Google
into giving higher rankings won’t do well.

top ranking can translate into a lot of business for
a company. Google knows this, and understands that this
is a reason why people try to abuse the system.

has a lot of smart people working for them. Writing
content with a white font on a white background hasn’t
worked since the late 90s, and will get you banned today.

Has Google Changed Over Time?
keeps changing and upgrading its search algorithm, in
order to stay relevant and give end users the best results

Paradigm’s search marketing team spends 25% of their
time devoted to research and testing.
this means is that two hours of each eight hour work
day are spent keeping up-to-speed on what’s changing
in the search marketing world, and testing out assumptions.

example, we might do additional split testing for a
client we’re working on, and apply this learning to
other projects as well.

a quick peek at how Google has changed over time:
How Google Has Changed Over Time
Larger Image >>


  • 1997
    – Google.com registered

  • 2001 – Did You Mean:
    search results page asks if you meant to search for
    something else

  • 2001 – Google images search launches

  • 2002 – Google News launches

  • 2002 – Synonyms – Google recognizes
    that you are searching for a word similar to another
    one in meaning.

  • 2004 – Stock quotes, Books

  • 2005 – Auto complete launches

  • 2006 – Weather, Flights and Sports Scores

  • 2007 – Universal Search – gave users
    a search results page that combined Web pages, images,
    video and other information.

  • 2009 – Google Voice search

  • 2010 – Google Instant
    – Huge infrastructure
    upgrade that returns results almost as soon as someone
    types in the search query.

  • 2011 – Search by image. Allows you
    to upload an image and search for sites that use that
    same or similar image.

  • 2012 – Knowledge Graph. Allows you
    to ask specific questions, such as "Who was the
    4th President of the United States," and have
    Google display the answer, instead of listing sites
    that might contain that answer.

  • 2013 – Google Hummingbird update
    – recognizes natural conversational search.


next week,

Jeff FinkelsteinFounder, Customer Paradigm
Jeff Finkelstein
Founder, Customer Paradigm

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Customer Paradigm
5353 Manhattan Circle, Suite 103
Boulder, Colorado 80303

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fax 303.374.6104

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