SEO isn’t dead after Hummingbird, but like past Google algorithm changes, Hummingbird is making SEO practices more difficult. It’s estimated that Hummingbird has impacted 90 per cent of searches.
Why Hummingbird matters
Hummingbird made the focus from keyword searches to conversational and question-based searches. This helps users find what they’re looking for easier and improves Google’s search capabilities.
So did the Hummingbird release kill all SEO in place now? No. In fact, Hummingbird has given copywriting agencies and SEO experts more room to move since content is officially not all about keywords anymore.
Google’s Hummingbird won’t make as big an impact as Panda or Penguin, but it is forcing SEO specialists to make a shift from traditionally keyword-based content to a more question-answering type of content.
Some of the changes:
- Google Will Be a Smarter Searcher – If you want to know more about something you have to input keywords for Google to find the answer. But, now with the Hummingbird release, users can input things like “Tell me more about search engine optimisation” or “Tell me about pop artists today” and Google will be able to find the most relevant, quality answers by delivering web pages that offer those answers.
- Google Can Compare – If you are looking for a direct answer to a comparison, such as “oil versus water in a cake mix” Google can pull up websites that offer that comparison, even if their keywords aren’t “oil versus water in a cake mix.”
- Geo Enhancements – Want to know where the best cup of coffee is? Ask Google and Google will find it based on your location.
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What you should be doing to survive the post-Hummingbird era
Since Google isn’t putting as much emphasis on keywords, it’s obvious that you shouldn’t either. If you want to be one of the worthy, top-level sites that Google recommends to answer a user’s search query, you need to create genuine, unique content that readers can appreciate.
Some things to do:
- Create useful content for readers that include images, videos, audio files and other sources of media.
- Create content that is distributed and shared on social media.
- Create content that is syndicated on RSS feeds.
- Create content that builds links from other sites to drive traffic – not just use links for SEO.
- Create content that is for the user and not for the search engines.
- Create actionable content, i.e. helpful and interesting content that readers will want to bookmark and share.
- Answer user questions with real, valuable solutions.
- Provide necessary information without a 500 page web book to do so.
- Avoid flooding internet users with advertisements that don’t answer their questions.
Some best practices for post-Hummingbird SEO
The three things SEO experts should be doing to stay ahead of Hummingbird:
- Target long-tail keywords and phrases, not short keywords. This prepares your website for search queries that match everyday speech patterns, in other words, semantic searches. Use long-tail keywords that pose a question users might search for. For example, you sell gardening equipment. So perhaps a keyword phrase to target would be “what equipment do I need for gardening?”
- Create content that is well-structured, concise, and well-written with no grammatical errors or spelling errors.
- Create content that answers the who, what, why, when, where and how about any service, product or solution.
Google might not admit that Hummingbird has impacted search results, but websites that have focused solely on one and two-word keyword phrases are seeing the impact. Sites with long-tail phrases and targeted sentences are receiving more traffic and search engine attention than those with one and two-word keywords.
If you want to stay ahead of Hummingbird, it’s time to shift your focus from keywords and well-linked sites to being an answer-driven website. Use long-tail questions in your page titles, tags, headings and subheadings.
What has been your experience in the post-Hummingbird era?