The term “organic” defines Google’s search algorithms. Always changing, always evolving. If you’re a regular practitioner of spammy SEO tactics and cheap blackhat techniques; sucks to be you, because new evolutions in search engines like Google’s Hummingbird update will come in and wipe away all the cheap tricks.
You need a long-term plan for going about search engine marketing. It’s not about “beating the system”, it’s about working smarter rather than harder. So how will Google Hummingbird change SEO? We’ll get to that very shortly, but to clarify…
What is Google Hummingbird?
Just like with Google’s Panda update, Hummingbird is cracking down on just about all forms of search engine optimization.
Is this a bad thing? Not necessarily. Google is trying to bring searchers relevant results, and they don’t want websites appearing on the top results just because they know how to game the system better than the next Internet marketer does. What they want is for users to have a genuine experience, not a marketer manufactured one.
To make a point, Google Hummingbird has affected 90% of all searches. Things WILL be different with the Hummingbird update, and it’s your job as an Internet entrepreneur to adapt accordingly.
To wrap this segment up on a very important note; webmasters will no longer be able to receive organic traffic information from Google Analytics. This means that if you have visitors coming to your website via search engines, you’re not going to know the keywords they were using in order to find your page.
Does it sound unfair? Maybe a bit, but you have to remember that Google exists to cater to searchers, not marketers. They don’t want to lose their traffic to sources like Bing, Yahoo, or Ask, so they’re doing everything they can to improve the user experience first and foremost. Besides, when Google really wants money, they get it directly from their AdWords department.
Why Does Google Hummingbird Matter?
You already got a taste of this in the previous paragraph, but here’s some more depth to the subject.
Traditionally, you could connect with the right target audience by having a webpage with keywords that matched whatever the searcher typed in. Things are going to be different now in that Google is making a dramatic shift from traditional search, to semantic search.
A rough idea behind what semantic search means is that rather than connecting specific words to a number of search results that match those words; the context behind the search is considered. Think of it as somebody asking a question.
- “how do I …”
- “how can I…”
- “where do I…”
- “why is…”
- “what is…”
Notice the pattern? Google has realized that a LOT of searchers are typing actual questions in the search box, and so they’re using the Google Hummingbird update to cater to this manner of searching, by understanding the question itself and the context in which the search is being made.
For clients paying into AdWords, this isn’t too big of a deal because Google will make sure they get ranked accordingly – in a typical sense, paying clients take priority. However, for a SEO specialist, this means an entire shift in your approach to marketing from one of catering to search phrases to one of answering questions.
How Does Hummingbird Compare to Panda?
In regards to SEO terms, not much at this time. You might think that after all we’ve just gone over, there must be dramatic shifts in how each compare, right? Not entirely, and while more than 90% of searches have been affected, the Google Panda update was the crushing fist that destroyed a lot of underhanded search engine gaming.
In comparison, Google Hummingbird drills home the same message, but even deeper. This doesn’t mean that Google is somehow more harsh on people who abuse the system, but more that they’ve wised up even more and will recognize blackhat and spammy tactics even more than with Google Panda.
As a SEO Marketer, What Should You Do?
What you should have been doing before – providing killer content that people want to read.
The web is still littered with cheap outsourced garbage that nobody wants to read, and more of that clutter is being swept away with Hummingbird. This is a long-term ordeal, because searches are going to become less about keyword entry and more about question entry – or “semantic” entry. The shift will take place over time, but as a marketer you need to be considering how things will be down the road and cater your SEO practices to match.
Google is pulling a lot from Google+ as their social media source, learning what people do and how they search. This is the future of search results – an integration of search engine and social media response – so it’s time to adapt, provide great content to your readers, connect, and ride the wave of Google Hummingbird into the horizon.
In a nutshell: Provide great content, answer questions, and don’t spam keywords. You’ll be fine.
I’m a content writer, blogger, SEO enthusiast. My clients hire me to write engaging, high quality SEO copy for their websites and blogs. Find out more at GoodSEOCopy.com
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