In today’s virtual world, the competition for online visibility, and of course those frustratingly elusive search engine rankings has become nothing short of cutthroat. So whether we like or not, Google is the God to please when it comes to garner those golden search rankings that will drive visitors flocking to your site. With all the constant changes in the complex and often counterintuitive world of SEO, how can online businesses and their webmasters stay current in terms of SEO in 2014?

The answer, of course, lies in a thorough understanding of the latest algorithmic model developed by Google, the much vaunted Hummingbird.

What is Hummingbird?

In essence, Hummingbird is the next natural step in Google’s quest to direct searchers to useful, relevant information, while simultaneously waging an algorithmic war to free the internet of dodgy websites. While Penguin changed the SEO scene dramatically last year by insisting on high quality, original content, Hummingbird only expands on that paradigm shift by employing more sophisticated system of semantic recognition than Penguin allows. Penguin and older generation search algorithms worked by separating each search term into its component keywords and then finding the most relevant results for those keywords, often leaving searchers with a frustrating list of mostly irrelevant websites. Hummingbird recognizes the context of the search terms, as opposed to just the terms, and this leads to more relevant search results.

Hummingbird and SEO in 2014

SEO in 2014 will challenge webmasters to get back into the dwindling art of long-tail keyword definition to take advantage of the semantic sophistication of its design. Beyond that, the practical effects of Hummingbird differ very little from those of Penguin, a point made clear by Matt Cutts, in his discussion of SEO 2014 trends.

So, what becomes the best way to do an SEO update in order to stay current? The answer really is quite simple – keep your content relevant, useful, and niche-based. The point is that Google’s search engine continues to rank websites that use white-hat techniques. So as long as webmasters continue to provide high quality content, keep blogs and articles regularly updated with new information, and keep their websites clean of illicit ranking techniques, there is no reason to fear being banished from the incomparable marketing platform that Google provides.

SEO 2014: The Bottom Line

Changes in SEO 2014 will be a result of Hummingbird, with the increasing need for webmasters to use long-tailed keywords to promote website visibility in search engines and to link their sites to Google Plus. While other social media marketing platforms such as Facebook and Twitter are helpful, they do little to improve search engine rankings, and even less to drive traffic to a given website.

In the final analysis, SEO in 2014 will only expand on the trends of 2013. Webmasters who are in compliance with Penguin protocols and work regularly to maintain a presence on Google Plus, providing fresh, original content will see strong rankings. However, if your website fell short of Penguin’s standards or was even subjected to ranking’s penalization or worse yet, banishment to the Google sandbox, it might be time for a complete SEO update.

To learn more about Penguin, Hummingbird, and the latest in SEO trends and strategies, or to schedule an SEO consultation, please read more about Buzz Consulting Services.