A Question for PR Pros: To Kill a Hummingbird?

In a concentrated effort to keep hackers, black-hat dudes from Anonymous and other ne’er-do-wells living in their mother’s attic on their collective toes, Google decided to add another savage beast to its algorithmic zoo.

First, it was Panda. Then, it was Penguin. And now, it’s…Hummingbird?

With all these updates, many PR pros are happy relying on the usual tactics like a press release or a pitch. However, with the Internet superhighway building off-ramps to your agency, all flacks need to brush up on the ways these updates affect them directly.

Here are three ways Hummingbird will change the way you do your job:

1. Search – When you get to the search bar, do you type words or questions? Most type the top two or three keywords and only look at the first page, above the fold. Google knows this so its wizards decided to make search “more realistic and lifelike.” For example, “How do I fix my computer?” Before, Google would act like Siri – either assume it knows what you want and send you shopping or just give up and show you images of employees at Best Buy. Now, context of the question matters as much as the content of the question. In other words, Google has learned to read and comprehend. Eerie.

2. Site Visits – If you are at an integrated agency, or understand the metrics of a successful website, the amount of time unique visitors go to a site and stay there matters. Hummingbird streamlines its algorithms to improve complex search retrieval and makes better (not more) data available based on your query. This will increase exposure to sponsored advertising, increases revenue and keeps users on search results pages longer. In addition, this benefits mobile search as well. Going responsive? You will love Hummingbird. Focusing on mobile? Your clients will like it too.

3. Writing – I love Google updates and changes for one primary reason – it forces PR professionals to become better writers. Today’s language has been abbreviated, initialized and shortened. I suppose lethargy has set in across the industry. You know, “totally” is such a terribly long word, so “totes” has become acceptable. Fortunately, Google has become a more skilled PR pro than humans, what with being a fan of the human language and all.

In short, we should all remember that content – good, well-written, crafty and slightly intelligent content – really is king. And if that’s the case, are you representing your clients as royalty or just a court jester? Who’s laughing now?