Some Background On Hummingbird
In September, 2013, to celebrate Google’s 15 birthday (and also in their bid to provide better search results for their users), Google unveiled a new search algorithm.
The introduction of Hummingbird was highly significant because, unlike past updates, such as Penguin and Panda, which were akin to, say, apartment block refurbishments, introducing Hummingbird was more akin to that same apartment block being bulldozed and replaced with a completely new one.
While Google Search does undergo between 500-600 changes a year, and though these changes do, to varying degrees, affect SEO, the significance of Hummingbird is exemplified by how 90% of searches were affected by its advent.
What’s A Search Algorithm, Anyway?
Think of a search algorithm as a recipe. Google uses this recipe to search through billions of webpages in order to return – what Google believes to be – the best answers. This recipe has many ‘secret ingredients’, so there is no complete SEO How-To Guide from Google. In saying this, a lot of what we do know about SEO and its intricate and secretive search engine ranking recipe comes from industry members who simply get into the thick of things: research, data, trial, error, success – and so the cycle goes.
Keys To Successful SEO on Hummingbird
As mentioned, numerous ingredients feed into the Google Search Algorithm recipe. The following, however, are cited by numerous SEO experts as very important contributors to successful SEO on Hummingbird.
Content: Was – And Still Is – King
First and foremost, you need content. It’s got to be relevant content, too – stuff that speaks to the wants and needs of your target audience.
To do this you need to, firstly, understand your audience (what do they want? When and where do they want it? How do they like to engage with business?). Then, if you don’t already have one, set up a blog. Blog posts are an effective way of driving traffic to your website because each post can be optimized to appear in search engine results. For instance, if you wrote an optimised post about “SEO Strategies For Hummingbird”, this post would appear in Google search results, and can therefore effectively drive traffic to your website.
Great search engine friendly content to post about on your blog:
- how to posts
- In depth FAQs
- product and service profiles
- lists: top 10; 5 Most popular; 20 tips, etc.
TIP: Think of your most common inquiries and use these to create content for your blog.
Social Media Presence
Search engines rank websites with a social media presence higher than those without one. Why? Because a social media presence tells search engines that this particular bite of content has a wider reach.
Tip: It’s better to do one social media platform right, than half a dozen halfheartedly.
Significant Forecast: According to Forbes, mobile search volume will exceed desktop search volume by 2015.
Fact: One in every three mobile searches have local intent. This is great news for small and local businesses. So, if your website isn’t optimised for mobile, now is the time.
Google expects voice search to become more important in future.
It works like this: instead of typing the query, the searcher can, instead, speak their search term to the search engine using voice intelligent assistance.
In this, it’s expected that much of how searches are phrased will alter. What we write tends to be significantly different to what we speak.
For instance, a user may type: Japanese restaurant Caloundra
And the same user may say: Where is a Japanese restaurant near me?
With this in mind, you can see how it’s important to begin optimising websites with content that can understand and answer naturally spoken searches
Keywords Are Still Relevant, But Best Used in Moderation
Dead are the days of keyword cramming. Keywords are still an important SEO strategy for Hummingbird, but they need to be carefully placed, and used in moderation.
Also, linking to the upcoming voice search trend, long tail keywords are, apparently, coming back. So, it’s wise to incorporate both short (digital camera) and long keywords (canon 550d digital camera free delivery) into your future keyword targeting strategies.