Last year Google enacted the Hummingbird update, introducing their first new search algorithm in more than a decade. Comprised of new elements combined with the best of the old algorithm, Hummingbird was touted as a dramatic rewrite that would return better search engine results. SEO experts were concerned that the Hummingbird update would drastically change sites’ rankings across the board, but the new algorithm had actually been in use for a month before Google even announced its implementation had occurred. While the Hummingbird update did not transform the SEO landscape, it did make some important adjustments to the way it ranks websites in order to keep up with the changing way people search for terms and use the web. To take advantage of these adjustments, website owners are going to have to make some key changes to their search engine optimization efforts
The Hummingbird algorithm is a complex system that examines over 200 elements when setting its page ranking, but the most significant change is Hummingbird’s incorporation of conversational search. This reflects the change that has occurred in the way users search the web in recent years, with searches becoming more conversational and less structured. Search engines with the capability to search by voice have been around for several years, but the use of voice searches has soared over the past year or so, partially fueled by consumers’ shift to using smartphones with voice search enabled apps such as Apple’s Siri as a primary means of accessing the web. This rise in the use of mobile technology has prompted searches to change from individual keyword searches to conversational searches. As conversational searches are becoming the new standard, Hummingbird was designed to understand the contextual meaning of search terms, focusing on each word in a query to ensure that the whole query or sentence is taken into account.
Understanding this fundamental change in Hummingbird’s approach to searches provides insight into how the Hummingbird update affects your SEO efforts:
The importance of mobile technology is clearly demonstrated by the key role it played in the development of conversational searches and the direction of the Hummingbird update. Going forward, the mobile technology market is expected to continue its rapid growth, making mobile optimization essential for the success of any website.
Keywords Remain Essential
Keywords still play an essential role in search ranking, provided you make a minor strategy change. Instead of focusing on individual keywords, add in longer keyword phrases as they are now getting better results. Google searches for answers to questions now, so websites that employ longer keyword phrases that provide those answers are going to rank as more relevant.
Structured Markup Data
Since Hummingbird looks at an entire page when searching for the best answers to queries, make sure you use every available opportunity to provide complete information. Adding relevant markup data to the content on your site will help Hummingbird to recognize your pages as having the best and most complete answer to searches.
Since the Hummingbird update is focusing Google’s searches on pages whose content matches conversational queries rather than awkward keyword configurations, natural, relevant content will be given priority. Instead of trying to produce website content that manages to fit in the use of arbitrary keyword configurations, focus on high-quality content that provides complete answers for users’ questions in a natural, conversational way.
For more SEO tips and information on the latest Google updates, you can always turn to the marketing experts at Blue Interactive Agency. Our SEO gurus can provide expert assistance with search engine optimization, search engine marketing, and other interactive marketing services that will raise your website’s ranking and bring in the search engine traffic it deserves.
Contact Blue Interactive Agency today at 954-779-2801 for the latest SEO tips and information on interactive marketing strategies that can help your business grow!