We recently shared all the gritty details of what exactly Hummingbird is and what kind of an impact it has had on SEO and Content Marketing. To learn more about the update specifically, read Google Hummingbird: Keep Calm and Optimize On.
In the February edition of our Client Success Webinar series, we explored the Hummingbird update in more detail and reviewed the realities of implementing these new strategies into your marketing efforts.
What Makes Google Hummingbird Different?
This update focuses on long-tail phrases, which are more natural and often needs-based. Google refers to this as “conversational search” or “semantic search.” For instance, “Where can I find Thai food in Barrie?” The phrase is more specific to the full need of the searcher, as opposed to simply searching “Thai food Barrie”
As with most recent Google updates, this change was implemented to improve the quality of results for the searcher. With more and more Google users getting very specific with their queries, Hummingbird was created to give the user a more natural search experience.
One likely driving force behind this update has been the increase in voice-based searches from mobile devices. Think of using the voice command feature on your SmartPhone and how detailed you can be with your voice search.
This update gives Google the ability to become a more intuitive search engine in the respect that search results will be based on Google’s ability to find the meaning behind the words. The best example of this was taken directly from a Google interview with the phrase “Where is the closest place to buy an iPhone 5 to my home?” Hummingbird should be able to identify you home (if location is shared), the fact you are looking for a physical place vs and online store, which sells the iPhone 5s.
What Was the Impact of Google Hummingbird on SEO and Content Marketing
In short, Hummingbird has had very little impact on the basic principles of Web Presence and Search Engine Optimization. The rules of the game that have evolved over the past 2 years remain the same. You still need to be focused more on creating great quality, valuable content that is written for the visitor, not the search engine.
Unlike previous updates, Google has made it very clear that very few business will have seen a direct change in their traffic as a result of Hummingbird.
Following the theme of the last two years, old school methods of SEO are even less effective with Hummingbird. Enabling Google to become more intuitive about a piece of content ensures that strategies such as keyword stuffing is truly not needed.
How Do You Implement Hummingbird Strategies into Your Content Marketing?
Determining the right Hummingbird-friendly phrase around a specific keyword can be tricky. Start by selecting a keyword from your current pool and think about how a searcher might phrase a statement or question around that term.
You need to get inside the head of your consumer or prospect. If you were searching for your product or service, what phrase would you use?
You may find there are multiple possible conversational searches around one keyword. This is is not a problem at all. It will all boil down to how your write your content around them, which we will get into in a moment.
The basics of how you want to optimize for your focus keywords has essentially not changed. You are not specifically going to use a Hummingbird keyword phrase in your HTML title for instance. However, you want to ensure you write your page content with the phrase in mind. Your page can be optimized with the base keyword placed in the SEO fundamental locations, however you want the body of the page to answer the greater need-based question your prospect has in mind.
The bottom line is, if you have written the content to answer those conversational search terms and provide real value to the searcher, Google will be able to determine the same and rank your content accordingly.