The best way to look at Google Hummingbird isn’t as if it were a “traditional” algorithm update, but instead, a whole new engine. As it apples to creating content, it’s time to refresh your whole mindset of how webpages should be written and what it actually means to be search engine friendly.
Conversation is Everything
The Hummingbird release places emphasis on conversational search queries over “conventional” keyword search queries. For example, “where can i buy red sneakers in pasadena?” over “buy red sneakers pasadena” Google really had voice-based search in mind with this latest overhaul. Instead, queries and content really should be more straightforward and natural, as if you were speaking. This also means that search is supporting more “natural” queries that a person would ask, meaning: questions, sentences, questions, and longer, more complicated queries.
If you look back in your historical keyword data, you’ll most likely encounter a question or two. In some industries such as the medical or legal field, your search query history could actually be filled with different types of long-tail, complex questions.
This is a great starting point of creating new content or even answering frequently asked questions on a broad topic. The point is to still provide customers with high-quality page that are relevant to their search needs. It’s just the execution that is a little different. Instead of feeling so confined to repeating the same keyword over and over again, there is more creative freedom to incorporate similar words, topics or even closely related subject matter all on one page.
Updating Quality Content You Already Have
If you have good landing pages, with high visits and low bounce rates, you can further enhance them by making them Hummingbird friendly. Think of questions customers might have about that page and answer them. Everything doesn’t have to be in a Q&A format, but it helps to think along those lines so you can answer questions that customers will likely ask. This is also where you can weave in the social aspect and add or update topics that people would want to read and share.
Google’s Social Aspect of Hummingbird
Discussion of the new Hummingbird engine isn’t complete without being tied to social media. More specifically, Google+. Of course, the details aren’t clear or concrete yet but we can only speculate. Since Hummingbird is a new engine being run by different “parts”, it’s natural to assume that social signals from Google+ will play a bigger role. That also includes Google Authorship. Many recent studies have shown the correlation of high ranking sites and the number of +1’s, and it can’t just be a coincidence… although Google denies it.
Once your content is created, the next step is social sharing. Google+ can’t be missed and you should have your individual pages (and even blog posts if possible) tied to the Google +1 button. Although this doesn’t guarantee better rankings, it will definitely help in exposure, brand recognition and other benefits so that you don’t have to rely on Google organic traffic alone. That’s always a plus!
Create, Share, Repeat
So, get the high quality, in-depth content written, ready and shared on Google+. This helps with organic and social visibility but will also give you the opportunity to engage and be apart of something more. Think of it as a powerful extension to your website that you don’t want to miss out on. Hummingbird is a major game changer for SEO and content creation in many ways, but if you’ve been following trends and best practices, it shouldn’t be something groundbreaking. It should actually be something that you’ve been working towards these past months!
Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.