Digital content marketers focused on improving their clients' Google rankings will need to reconsider their approach following on from the news that the organisation has once again re-tooled its search algorithm.
The formula through which Google sifts through the detritus of the internet and brings up the most relevant results is one of the firm's best-kept secrets, although many marketers pride themselves on their ability to second-guess the company.
Hummingbird, as the new update is called, is intended to refine the search engine's ability to process lengthy prose questions, which have become more common over the last few years as the web has evolved.
Google's persistent attempts to tweak its algorithm have caused problems for content marketers in the past - however, the main issues concern 'black-hat' techniques such as spamming keywords, which are now considered unfashionable as well as almost useless.
"Hummingbird represents the most dramatic alteration to Google's search engine since it revised the way it indexes websites three years ago as part of a redesign called Caffeine," said Amit Singhal, a senior vice president for the company.
The changes, which will have major implications for all sites that base their content model on attracting Google-based traffic, may impact ad prices and internet traffic globally. Mr Singhal estimated that 90 per cent of search results will be affected by the update.
According to Content Standard, a large number of copywriters and SEO marketers were affected by the recent Penguin 2.0 change to Google, with 53 per cent of respondents to their poll finding their rankings dropped after the update.
So how can you avoid being hit by the further changes Google has made to its immensely-popular engine? Simple - write engaging copy with one eye on social media shares and your rankings should remain solid, however the company tweaks its algorithm.
While SEO is important for digital marketing, offering customers and consumers what they want in terms of content is even more crucial.