The Google Hummingbird and SEO – What you Need to Know?

Google’s just launched a new algorithm called Hummingbird; its launch has the world of SEO in a tizzy. Questions like, should I be worried about my website rank?, what does this mean for SEO?, do I have to rework my SEO strategy?, why does Google keep coming up with changes that make my life hell? are being asked by webmasters, business owners and SEOs alike. So, if you’ve got those questions on your mind, let’s take a closer look at Google’s new algorithm, the Hummingbird and what it brings to the table for SEO.

Straight off the bat, the Hummingbird is Google’s continuing attempt to make the World Wide Web a better place for people searching for quality content. The search engine with its single minded purpose of cleaning the web of spammy, low quality information is going at it with a missionary zeal with the Penguin and Panda updates; and now the Hummingbird has been added to this mix as well. The Hummingbird is an algorithm change that seeks to improve the search process for Google’s users.

What is the Hummingbird?

The Hummingbird is a radical algorithm change as compared to the previous algorithm that powered Google’s search process. The makeup of this algorithm caters to ‘long tail’ search queries. Google believes in shaping the future of search keeping in mind the changing needs of searchers and this algorithm is the company’s attempt to break the old search habits of users.

The new algorithm approaches search engine queries in a whole new way and focuses on throwing up better results when a user enters a long tailed search query. While earlier the algorithm picked words from such entries and brought up links with those keywords in them, the new algorithm works towards contextual search wherein it will focus on the question’s context rather than the keywords that are a part of the query. The core objective of this algorithm is improving results for conversational search queries.

Conversational search is fast becoming the norm now and Hummingbird seeks to cater to the growing audience that believes in the use of conversation rather than keywords. It’s telling SEOs to move away from a keyword focused approach and focus on the users and content first.

What it means for SEO?

If you’ve not started doing it already, your SEO thinking should move away from its focus on ranking for a particular keyword towards ensuring you’re able to answer the needs of your target users better.

So, what’s changed for SEO? Let’s take a look:

  • The User First Approach Assumes Significance

Make no mistake, keywords are still important but you now need to put the user on a pedestal. Yes, worship the different types of users that your content targets, understand them and make sure you are able to deliver a rich and highly satisfying user experience through your content.

Keyword research will definitely help you figure out what your target users are searching for, but you need to make sure that you use this knowledge to create a useful page that best answers a user’s query. And yes, this page must also include the keywords that it needs to rank for. The change here is that you need to optimize your page for a particular query rather than focus on optimizing it for a particular keyword. The key is to deliver high quality user driven content. Moving forward, that’s going to be the lifeblood of all SEO.

  • Deep Linking your Site

Yes, natural high-quality backlinks from authority sites will definitely prove to be useful but it’s important that you link them to your website’s internal pages rather than your homepage. Don’t stop getting backlinks to your homepage but focus on linking deeper into your site. If you’ve already been doing this, you don’t need to reevaluate your SEO efforts, but if you haven’t been doing this, get started on it.

  • Increase your Entrance Pages

The Hummingbird incentivizes the growth of websites and blogs. What you need to do, is come up with more pages for your site with informative quality content that will help answer the search queries of your users. This is going to be a huge part of SEO. By adding more pages to your website or blog, you will improve its chances of coming up in long tail search queries, provided it has some quality content that answers those specific search queries.

SEO’s not going to change all that much if you’ve been doing things that Google’s asking you to. If you’ve been piling on quality content on your website, you need to keep doing more of the same. Remember, Google loves its users and will shower love on websites that love their users too. Hummingbird is a reality that is here to stay, so you’ll need to make sure your SEO is Hummingbird friendly.

And to put it simply, if your website offers great UX, it’s Hummingbird friendly as well.

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