Google has, yet again, updated its search engine ranking algorithm. The new update is called “Hummingbird” and is one of the most important changes in Google’s search engine since 2010.
Hummingbird was created to respond to the increasing trend of “long tail keywords”. Essentially, this just means that people have started searching with more and more complex phrases. Instead of searching “coffee shops Toronto”, people will ask, “Where can I get the best caramel latte in Toronto?”
This new type of searching has necessitated new programing for Google’s algorithm, to ensure that Google will be able to serve relevant results for these types of queries.
What Does Hummingbird Mean for My Website?
It is now more important than ever for your company to be a content producing organization. People are searching using everyday language, and Google is getting smarter. This means that traditional “SEO” approaches are not going to produce the higher rankings they once did.
From our perspective, this is good news. Our belief has always been that online marketing efforts must focus first and foremost on your prospects and their circles of influence. If you create value for your target audience, Google will reward you.
If you have already published a lot of insightful, high-quality online content, it is likely your website will go up in rank as Hummingbird takes hold.
However, if you’ve been counting on SEO “tricks” to boost your results, you will need to take stock of your site and revise your tactics before your site falls off the map. Simply injecting keywords into your content is no longer enough to help you rank higher. You must use natural language and provide answers to the types of questions your prospects are seeking.
How to Rank Well with the Hummingbird Update
- Consistently create quality content that addresses prospects’ questions/problems
- Use natural language
- Create both a breadth and depth of relevant content
- Use a variety of content types: videos, infographics, whitepapers, etc.
- Be active on social media
- Promote your best content with Google’s Pay-per-Click (PPC) advertising
- Do not use SEO “tricks”, such as keyword stuffing
The Hummingbird update is actually a boon to small and mid-sized businesses that have had trouble being found online in the past. It allows well-developed, niche content to secure a higher place in search results.
As always, it comes down to understanding your prospects, customers and influencers and providing them with the information they need to make informed decisions. Google is simply improving its ability to serve people the information that is most relevant to them.