You know, if we’re sure about one constant with Google, it’s that they probably encourage a Zen mindset to deal with their incessant changes.
As well they should. It’s not easy being on the top and constantly having to lead innovation and making the future happen now. We should all be in their shoes.
Since we’re not all there, we get to take the backsplash from Google’s changes and updates and growing menagerie of algorithms, and move forward with a deep breath.
You’ve probably already heard that Google’s announced a new algorithm, i.e. the Hummingbird. According to Google, it’s named thusly because it’s fast and precise, a la hummingbird fashion. The brand new algorithm, carrying functional components of the older algorithm and its updates, is structured to make web searches faster, a lot more accurate and recognize a wider variety of voice searches.
But What Does it Do?
Apart from everything we just said above, Hummingbird has also been developed to offer relevant results for complex queries. The idea is to make search a lot more intuitive and a lot more accessible for users; in other words, the algorithm is designed to have a stronger grasp of concepts instead of a string of words.
Google’s Inside Search blog explains it best.
“Let’s say you want to get your daughter excited about a visit to the Met. You can pull up your phone and say to Google: “Tell me about Impressionist artists.” You’ll see who the artists are, and you can dive in to learn more about each of them and explore their most famous works.”
Perhaps the most significant impact from Hummingbird will be felt on long-tail keywords. A while back, we’d told you to not ignore long-tail keywords, and for good reason. Since search queries are getting much longer (Where can I find the best cake shop in Chicago?) and more specific (Red ballet shoes in a size 9), marketers will now have develop content with these details in mind.
For added measure, the content will have to be developed keeping different the contexts in mind as well, i.e.
a) Where can I get chocolate cake?
b) Where’s the best chocolate cake in a 5 mile radius?
c) Where can I get the best chocolate cake and muffins in Chicago?
Will Hummingbird Break Search as You Know It?
No, it won’t. We were all pretty surprised to discover that Hummingbird has been active for a whole month already, and overall, people haven’t really reported any issues with their search results. You’re not going to search for shoes and find yourself staring at chocolate cake.
Is SEO Dying?
Once again, a resounding “No!” SEO is not dying, but all tactics that Google deems to be spam-related and executed solely for the purpose of building backlinks that aren’t relevant or valuable for the target demographic will be flagged and penalized.
How do We Fix Our Rankings?
Develop great – and we mean exemplary – content. There’s no way out of this one, folks. Not if you want your rankings to eke up instead of disappear on the 2nd page (or deeper) of search results.
Instead of pushing your products, offer your audience solutions to their problems and then develop those solutions in the form of great content – textually, through images, through video or in an integrated manner. And then get to work on distributing that content via the relevant channels.
It’s entirely possible that your traffic/rankings might have taken a hit, but for all we know, this consequence comes from the constant tweaking to different parts of the algorithm. It’s gargantuan, so there’s no definitive way to tell, but Google is driving home the point that content quality cannot be sacrificed at any point.
Naturally, we’ll keep you updated as and when we hear more, so stay tuned. And don’t forget to call us if you have any questions.