According to Search Engine Land “if there’s ever been any question that SEO marketers need to put user needs first, 2013 was the year the search engines made it clear. Nearly every innovation in search — algorithm updates like Google Hummingbird, SERP enhancements, social integrations — was aimed at creating a better experience for the searcher. These innovations require SEO marketers to think more closely about the value their content creates for users and to take the technical steps that communicate that value to the search engines. ” What this means for DTC marketers is that a lot of money used for search engine marketing could be wasted.
What Is Google Hummingbird?
“Hummingbird” is the name of the new search algorithm that Google is using as of September 2013, the name comes from being “precise and fast” and is designed to better focus on the meaning behind the words.
Hummingbird is paying more attention to each word in a query, ensuring that the whole query — the whole sentence or conversation or meaning — is taken into account, rather than particular words. The goal is that pages matching the meaning do better, rather than pages matching just a few words.
Google Hummingbird is designed to apply the meaning technology to billions of pages from across the web, in addition to Knowledge Graph facts, which may bring back better results.
Think of Google’s Hummingbird as a super smart and ultra fast reader. The following methods will help you in working with SEO:
1. Write rich, high quality content that responds to user needs
Google’s shift toward making results pages more valuable to readers favors rich content, helping people who are looking for your writing. Rather than focusing exclusively on key terms, littering the article with repeated phrases, articles should deliver quality content, with information and credible references. As long as you focus your article on a key idea, you don’t have to worry about using terms repeatedly.
Adapt your writing to meet the needs of the reader, anticipating answers to the questions they have. You should still research key terms, but pay attention to the heart of your reader’s question and what they mean, focusing on full phrases and sentences instead of two word combinations.
2. Write long, in-depth content
Replace the thin pages of your website, articles of 200 words or less, with content that delves deep into an issue or problem that concerns your readers. Your writing should be solid. Not just lengthy blathering to fill pages, but 800 to 1200 words of well researched and reviewed information. Practice your journalist questioning skills: who, what, when, where, why, and how.
3. Pay attention to social signals, especially Google +1’s
In turning search results to focus on the searcher, it makes sense that Google would reward pages with many +1s because people are marking the valuable content. According to the 2013 Moz.com search ranking factors study, Google favors their own system of sharing above those of other social networks. Measure and evaluate the sharing that takes place on Google Plus, and adapt to make this your most important sharing resource.
As time passes, Google Plus and social media will continue to become more significant in search ranking. Searchers are able to demonstrate their content preferences through social sharing. In 2014, Google will maintain the number two position in social media easily and will probably threaten Facebook.
4. Don’t assume everything you read about SEO is true
Even though so-called experts will pontificate on their understanding of the latest changes in Google’s algorithm, the truth is, only the developers and engineers at Google really know their own code. There are so many hundreds of updates and tweaks that it can be difficult to keep track, and supposed SEO experts are oftentimes as in the dark as you are.
5. Remember Google+ local and other consistent search ranking factors
If your business operates on a local level, make sure that you exploit Google+ Local and other social media resources that provide resources for searchers to discover places nearby and write reviews.
In September, Moz.com updated their local search ranking factors 2013 survey, which monitors successful SEO campaigns and strategies over time. The survey suggests that a few backlinks from high-quality websites can go a long way in elevating search rankings, and excessive backlinking is no longer desirable. The survey also shows that the business name should be present in headlines and title tags, to show its relevance.