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In the quest for rankings, SEO and SEM professionals have been messing with the system for years. King Google finally got fed up and summoned their soldiers to restore order.

Out came the updates. Penguin. Panda. Then came updates to the updates. More birds. More bears. Scammers were getting snuffed and spammy sites nosedived.

A new algorithm is among us now: Hummingbird. Playing the SEO game the same way won’t fly any longer.

Hummingbird marks a new quest, or goal, for search. Old school SEOs chasing Google’s algorithm with a focus on keywords are to become decreasingly relevant. The new rules make search about the user’s context.

Pundits are calling it “semantic search.” As it begins to take hold, you’re left with only one credible option: focus on the reader’s needs with your content. High quality content, the kind that prompts readers to recognize you as a trusted authority, is the only sure way to rank.

Raise Your Hand If You’re a Robot

Your hand’s not up. There’s not a robot among us. The act of serving links to someone searching for content on the web remains a function of computers and software, but a new wave is forming.

Of course, we’re going to need a new acronym. I submit we call it “HEART.”

I’ll spell it out. HEART stands for “human emotion and real trust.”

As members of an infinitely connected society, we don’t want phonies. We don’t want facades. We really don’t even want web pages. We’re searching for something real.

We’re Searching for HEART

We all have a reason for doing what we do online. For most of us, money plays a part. There’s no shame in putting an “e” into our commerce system. Nor is there shame in wanting to have your company discovered via search.

But now, thanks to some major refinements to the almighty search system that brings consumers and companies together, there’s new hope in finding what we’re really searching for: people who want to help. People who feel good about making you and me feel good. People we can trust.

Hummingbird demands you scrap your ambitions to play the keyword game forever more. Google now relies on humans to do the optimization.

It’s the little bird telling you, “Think human. Put some heart into your content.”