SEO after Hummingbird ~ Facts You Must Know to rank better in Search Engines
Google Hummingbird update has been the most recent move in the search engine industry that has created a lot of waives and thrown most SEO experts into heated debate on what it is and how it affects SERP and content marketing.
We know that Google cares about quality so it’s putting in its utmost to filter thrash away and present researchers with the most accurate results matching their queries.
Search result ranking in the past has a lot been based on keywords optimization. This gave birth to a plethora of black hat technics aimed at manipulating search engines and placing contents on top of SERP. Fortunately, Google, the search engine giant is now smart too with a larger radar, making it difficult for crappy keyword stuffed contents to escape and go under. If you want to rank well in search engines, you have to play by the new set of roles which is a complete re-look of SEO.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is simply the act of trying to rank your content based on keywords. Search engines used to consider keywords in title, url, keyword tag, keyword in content and keyword in inbound links to determine the relevance of your content.
There is been a major shift from this keyword based processing to a more complex conversational query processing algorithm. Google is trying to understand your visitors’ need and provide them with what they need. Simple keywords (long or short tail) may not really convey ones needs or wants so there is need for a more specific and semantic expression;
“Make money blogging”
“I want to know how to make money as a blogger”
Long-Tail Keywords and Conversational Queries
Our second example above expresses a more specific want. Google knows exactly what this searcher’s intent is. You notice this is more conversational and semantic and the simple long tail keyword “Make money blogging” (repeated or not within your content) may really not help Google in the new updates. This keyword may have different connotations;
- Suggestion 1: I want to teach you how to make money blogging
- Suggestion 2: I want to know how to make money blogging
- Suggestion 3: Stop struggling to make money blogging
- Suggestion 4: It’s not possible to make money blogging
Now if a searcher enters this simple keyword in search engines, I can imaging Google asking “… What does he really want to get from me? ” Google may find pages with conflicting and misleading content and may not know which to match with the keyword.
Now think of this … What if Google ranks Suggestion 4 on its page 1 while the searcher’s intention was to get Suggestion 2 (i.e. wanting to know how to make money blogging) ? That goes to mean that the searchers will have to tell Google in more specific terms, exactly what they want.
Hummingbird concentrates more on whole queries rather than individual words, with greater understanding of words like ‘when’ ‘why’, ‘where’ and ”how’, as well as the user intent that sits behind these word.
Getting a better Ranking
Getting a better ranking after hummingbird becomes a bit more of work focused on quality in treating a specific purpose rather than keyword optimization. You now need to think and develop content that truly addresses and communicate relevance to a specific want and need and go beyond just scratching the surface to creating in-depth content that meet a need.
Does your content communicate relevance to a specific want or need ?
Do you answer the need better than anyone else ?
How many topics do you treat in your content ?
How deep is your content?
SEO extinguished or evolved?
I don’t think SEO is dead. There is just been a snappy touch to it. There is been a smart move from keyword optimization to content usability optimization. Rather than carefully placing keywords to rank for it, content developers will have to carefully develop their content to fufil the purpose of the searcher.
What Google wants is the most in-dept content that answers the need of the searcher without leaving him with unanswered questions. See where there is the need to completely dig the topic out?
Signals that may boost ranking
While Google is good enough to know how relevant your content it, there are a couple of other signals that can help boost your ranking. Google wants to give appreciable content to searchers so inevitably, visitors’ behavior towards your content will help the search giant appreciate your content even more. Let’s have a quick look at 4 of these signals or factors:
1 – Natural links
Note I didn’t just say ‘backlinks‘. I’m more specific about they type of links to your content. Earning and building links are two different activities –
Link building is your action to link any external resource back to your content. This is done through blog commenting, forum posts and signatures, article writings, etc. Another approach at building links is when you reward someone to link to your content. For the most part, the links you build are non-natural.
Link earning is action by your readers to link to your content from theirs because they find your content useful. Links earned are natural.
“The objective is not to ‘make your links appear natural’, the objective is that your links are natural” … Matt Cutts
Natural links are effective signals to tell search engines “hey this content is cool. We love it” and the best method to get more of these links is to create exceptionally good content and let others link to it on their own.
2 – Social signals
Social media today has taken over a great portion of the Internet. In recent times, one way for Internet users to approve and endorse content is to share it on social media. Though users have created black hat methods to generate more likes, tweets, plus and shares on their contents, these signals could still be an important way to determine the usefulness of your content
3 – Bounce rate and Time on site
A low bounce rate is a good indicator that visitors love your contents. That makes them move from one page to the other on your blog, increasing time on site.
4 – Load speed
Google has problems with sites that take more time to load. The search giant knows Internet users generally don’t have time to wait for a single page to load. That’s reasonable if they give more importance to fast loading sites.
These are just 4 of the many factors that affect search engine ranking. Remember that there are just supporting factors that help search engines get a clearer idea how searchers feel when they get to your site. Content remains one of the most determinant factors in ranking.
Share your thoughts with me in the comment box. If you think there is something I missed, let me hear from you. Thanks for reading 😉