Google Hummingbird One Year Later
One year ago, search engine optimization (SEO) and marketing experts like Brent Franson were learning the details of Google’s latest algorithm, known as Hummingbird. Following on the heels of other changes Google has made to their SEO rules over the past few years, Hummingbird promised to radically change how SEO was done in the future. Now, one year later, experts look back at the changes to see what adjustments were necessary to keep websites ranking high in Google’s search return.
Keywords Don’t Rule
In the beginning, keywords ruled SEO. By simply throwing a ton of keywords in website content, your page ranked highly so that customers could find it easily. Slight adjustments were made over the years so that you needed keywords and a local destination to rank highly, but basically the practice known as “keyword stuffing” was the best way to get your website notice by Google’s search engine spiders. Instead, Hummingbird rewards sites that use question-based, conversational semantics searches. The search engine has learned that people rarely enter one word in the search box when they are looking for information on the internet. Instead of entering “apartment rentals,” they search for “low cost apartment rentals in the Gaslamp district of San Diego.” For this reason, key phrases are now more effective than using simply one word to attract search engines. The use of voice-activated searches, such as Apple’s Siri, is another reason for the key phrase method used by Hummingbird.
Hummingbird also rewards content that is well-written. Everyone has come across a website with poor grammar, large blocks of text or misspellings. Most of the time, when we come across a site like that, we move on to another. For this reason, Google now rewards sites that have quality, well-written content. If you are creating your own website, be sure that everything is spelled properly, formatted so it is easy to read and has proper grammar. If your writing skills are not great, consider hiring a professional content writer to create your content for you.
At one time, online retail stores could simply take the product description provided by a manufacturer and place it on their website. Doing that today with the Hummingbird algorithm could lower your page ranking significantly. Google now searches for unique content, so using canned product descriptions will not set your page apart from a competitor carrying the same items. Rewrite all product descriptions in your own words or hire someone to do it for you so that the content on your site is new and unique.
Credit for Social Media
The new algorithms also give credit to websites that have a strong social media presences. Therefore, it is important to connect your website, Facebook, Twitter and other social media accounts as much as possible. If you write a blog, post a link to the blog on your social media pages. Be sure to add social media links from your website. The more of an online presence you have, the more likely it is that Google will discover you.
With Google Hummingbird now entering its second year, these fundamentals can help keep website rankings high in search results. Although new algorithms will continue to be developed, staying on top of SEO changes is the best way to be sure your company gets the recognition online it deserves.