Google Reveals A Birthday ‘surprise’

Today is Google’s 15th birthday and to kick off this milestone, it’s only appropriate that the search giant announces a new algorithm!

This announcement, along with a few others, took place at a sentimental birthday celebration in the garage where it all started.

The new “Hummingbird” algorithm, named for being ‘precise and fast’ is an entirely new algorithm that focuses on conversational queries. While Panda and Penguin were updated to an already existing algorithm, “Hummingbird” is a new algorithm altogether.

Hummingbird has essentially replaced the older algorithm, but it still incorporates some important aspects of the previous algorithm, as well as some new ones. One of the biggest changes is the ability to parse more conversational and complex queries. For example, if you search for ‘places to buy flat screen TVs’ Google will try to decipher the meaning behind your query to come up with results that are more relevant to your location and what you are looking for.

Should I be concerned about my rankings?

While the new algorithm was announced today, it was actually rolled out last month. The change was so seamless that most websites suffered no ill effects. The ‘Hummingbird” algorithm doesn’t indicate any drastic changes for websites but instead offers a more efficient way for individuals to search on the world’s largest search engine.

After 15 years of search, Penguins, Pandas, an overdose on caffeine and now Hummingbird, we can honestly say we’re excited about the future. Happy birthday Google!

If you have any questions about Hummingbird and how your site may be affected, please contact us below.

Submitted by Erica Machin, Titan Growth

Hashtags Now Supported In Google Search

Google search has taken another step towards social (or should we say Google+) integration with the recent launch of SEO hashtag search.

Now, when you search certain hashtags in Google, you may see a stream of related Google+ posts on the right-hand side of the page. The posts will scroll automatically, but you also have the option to manually scroll with the up and down arrows provided. If you click on any of the posts, you will be directed to a Google+ search splash page for the hashtag you have just searched.

Of course, it’s not social integration without some of the other big social networks. So to play nice and avoid any negative publicity from social media’s biggest players, Google has also added links to other social networks where you can continue your hashtag search.

Currently, this update is being rolled out to English language users in the U.S. and Canada on and

What this means for you

To say that hashtags are important is an understatement. SEO hashtag search has been adopted across all of the largest social networks and is now integrated into search itself. This is a big eye opener, as well as a big opportunity for brands.

To increase the chances that your brand posts will show up in searches on the social networks (and now Google!) it is important to:

1. Have a Google+ page

There’s no denying it now, Google+ is a key network since it is so heavily integrated into Google search. Now that hashtags are supported in Google for users who are logged in or not, it is more important than ever for brands to be active on Google+.

2. Use relevant hashtags

Hashtags are like keywords, so use rich, relevant hashtags that you would want associated to with your brand, products or services. In this case, broad is better since it increases the chance that someone is searching for that hashtag.

3. Stay on top of what’s trending

Trending hashtags, while more competitive, have extremely high volumes of searches. If you can utilize trending hashtags and still tie them into your brand message, it can create great opportunities for exposure.

Updates like this stress the importance of social media, and Google+ in particular. It also creates huge opportunities for brands to leverage hashtags for their own advances, so savvy marketers take heed.

If you have any questions about Google hashtag search or how to better leverage hashtags in your social media SEO strategy, contact us.

Submitted by Erica Machin, Titan Growth

Google Now Withholds All Keyword Data

After a gradual decline in keyword data over the past two years, Google has finally pulled the plug, deeming all keyword data ‘not provided’. What may be seen as a huge blow to some can be considered an advantage for companies with the right technology.

Not Provided Data Google Analytics

In an effort to make search ‘more secure’ Google is now encrypting all searches. This means that keyword data from Google organic will no longer be passed on in Google Analytics, or any other analytics platform.

Titan Growth’s president Danny Shepherd had this to say about the recent change.

“This will affect the way we track keywords and will change the playing field for SEO in general. Over the last two years, Titan Growth has invested heavily in new proprietary technology that will still allow us to get the data we need to track keyword rankings on an individual level for our clients.”

A background on encrypted search

The encrypted search initially launched in 2010, where users had the option to search securely on a different URL. A year later in 2011, Google began encrypting searches for all users who were logged into their Google accounts, which commenced the infamous ‘not-provided’ data in Google Analytics. Now, Google has officially begun redirecting all searchers to secure search, meaning that 100% of keyword search queries in Analytics will be ‘not-provided’.

When asked about the change, Google responded:

“We added SSL encryption for our signed-in search users in 2011, as well as searches from the Chrome Omnibox earlier this year,” a Google spokesperson told Search Engine Watch. “We’re now working to bring this extra protection to more users who are not signed in.”

As a user, the only difference you may or may not notice is being redirected to anytime you search on Google, meaning that you are searching on a secure server. For SEO’s though, it means quite a bit more.

How will this affect SEO?

The steady decline in keyword data since 2011 has been a warning signal to SEOs to prepare for the day when all keyword data would finally be withheld. Unfortunately, that day was yesterday and SEO’s will now be in the dark about their keyword data. Will this make SEO reporting more difficult? Probably. Will it throw a wrench in SEO overall? No, in fact, this could be considered an advantage for agencies like Titan Growth that have the technology and know-how to work around these new changes.

While tying traffic increases and conversions to keywords will be that much more difficult, it will not be impossible to do. SEOs will now be forced to use alternate methods and expend more resources to dig up information that was once readily available. This change, while annoying, won’t have a colossal impact on good SEO companies who are able to evolve. Titan Growth’s proprietary TitanBOT technology will continue to allow Titan Growth to track, monitor and report on keyword rankings as well as a number of other metrics no longer available in Google analytics.

What happens now?

In the coming days and weeks, as Google continues to roll out encrypted search worldwide, webmasters will see the percentage of ‘not-provided’ increase until keyword data is completely eradicated. We’ll see a shift in methods used to obtain keyword data, with more webmasters turning towards Webmaster Tools, Paid vs. Organic reporting in AdWords and Bing to mine data.

While a lack of keyword data will provide a challenge for some SEO’s, specifically those who were underprepared for this change, resilient companies will take it in stride. Seeing keyword data shift completely to ‘not-provided’ will likely be detrimental to some SEOs and companies, but will open the door for change and new opportunities to succeed for those who were prepared.

If you have any questions about how this will affect your SEO strategy, or would like to learn how Titan Growth’s technology can help you to continue to track keyword rankings and traffic, please fill out the form below:

Submitted by Erica Machin, Titan Growth