Hummingbird Reinforces Content is King
November 6, 2013
A couple months ago, Google indicated it released an update that was intended to improve the manner in which the search engine processes text. The update was named Hummingbird because it was supposed to be “precise and fast.”
You may have heard or soon will hear rumblings as to what you “need to do” in response to this update. This article, by our friend and search expert Bill Fukui, president of Page1 Solutions, answers as best possible what the change to Google’s proprietary formula means to you now that we have had some time to see its effects on search results. In short, keeping your content up to date is requisite, particularly your personal biography by adding recent matters, speeches, awards and distinctions. But that’s not the whole story. As Bill wrote:
Different than Panda and Penguin
Where Panda and Penguin were algorithm updates to improve how the search engine indexed information, Hummingbird was more of an infrastructure update in how the search engine processes text. Panda and Penguin were modifications to the existing algorithm, Hummingbird is the new algorithm.
Hummingbird is Google’s next step to take search to the next level. Where many marketers focus purely on keywords and links alone to get high listings, Hummingbird goes beyond just words and focuses on the meaning behind them. This goal is to provide better results by matching the meaning of a search query rather than just the words within it.
Although Hummingbird is not directly tied to mobile marketing (smartphones, tablets, etc.), Google recognizes the growth of Conversational Search, otherwise known as “long-tail” searches. Many of you already speak to Siri. Speaking your search in mobile devices, asking complete questions and providing full thoughts is becoming an important area of search, and will only grow in the future.
Is Traditional Optimization Dead?
Of course not. Keyword optimization (meta tags, title tags, descriptions, headings, etc.) is always one of the foundations to help Google index relevant, high quality content. The real takeaway is that you can now show up for long-tail keyword searches as well, even though your page (or blog, video, etc.) may not be keyword optimized for it. The key is to make sure your content is written with meaning, substance, and has substantive value to searchers.
Content is Still King
What this update reinforces is that content, and not just the volume of copy, is still king on the web. It is about the quality, meaning and relevant value of content, and providing searchers with the type of information they are looking for. We need to look at content in a new and more comprehensive way.
If you want to improve your search engine listings and traffic, particularly from long-tail search results, you need to go beyond meta optimization and link building. Maybe a good place to start is the beginning – your content. In many cases, practices have not even read any part of their website since it went live.