October 10th, 2013

Google’s Hummingbird – What will happen with your SEO?

hummingbird-web-content In September 2013, Google introduced its brand new algorithm known as Hummingbird Algo Change. This advance finds countless SEO companies curious and gives rise to many unanswered questions, specifically: what effect will this algorithm have for any kind of website? To help make sure you don’t fall straight into a panic attack and to help you prepare your SEO strategy properly, I prepared a simple guide to demonstrate what the Hummingbird update is, its effect on your rankings, and how to exactly modify your SEO technique to benefit from the updates.

So, what do we know about Hummingbird?

Even though Hummingbird was announced on September 26, it was in fact released a month before that and is said to affect up to 90% of search queries.

Compared with Penguin and Panda, Hummingbird is not a consequence-based update. In the past, Google aimed at SERPs clean-up through low quality-level content. Now, Hummingbird transforms the way Google responds to several types of queries, allowing the search engine to get the actual significance behind a query, instead of the individual phrases in it.

Additionally, the algorithm highlights a better option with conversational queries, taking into consideration the increasing number of mobile search customers and the use of voice recognition technology.

So most importantly, Hummingbird is about Google aiming to catch users’ actual search intent and to best find the content that matches it.

But what does this mean for Internet Marketers and SEO?

Several issues now become more essential in website development, but the most important is the relevance of the written content on a website, instead of a site loaded with keywords and phrases. To get a better idea of how to adapt your digital marketing strategy, it is wise to gain an understanding of which mechanisms Google likely uses to achieve the “relevance” goal, and what each of these mean for your site.

1. Adapt your Keyword Strategy for Conversational Queries

What’s happening? The first challenge Google has to deal with today is the growing number of conversational phrases people use to search the Web. Quite likely (and that is especially true for mobile voice search users), these queries will be of a longer, more question-like type for example: “how do I…?”, “where is the nearest…?”, “where can I get…?”, etc. By interpreting these longer phrases, Google can no longer rely solely on keywords and provide different results for each of them. But getting many queries ties to a tighter “common term”, based primarily on the searchers’ intent:

Informational Intent

  1. The user wonders, “How old is Miley Cyrus?”, so…
  2. The user wants general information about Miley Cyrus.
  3. The users will find that info in Miley Cyrus’ biography:

MileyCyrus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Navigational Intent

  1. The user looks for “What is the official website of WAEC”, so…
  2. The user wants to get to a relevant website.
  3. The user needs results for that relevant information.

Waec

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Transactional Intent

  1. The user searches “Where can I find the nearest Starbucks”, so…
  2. The user wants to locate and visit the nearest Starbucks.
  3. The user will find it using the Starbucks locator.

Starbucks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What should you do?

Try determining all conversational phrases people are likely to use when searching for your services, and classify them into informational, navigational and transactional queries.

Make sure your content covers each of the 3 types:

-For informative requests, create educative, Wikipedia-type written content.

-Navigational requests are your own brand name, your product or service name, the brand of your website, etc. Precisely what often allows you rank better for your brand keywords and phrases are the brand and website names described by thematically related information.

-For transactional inquiries, use suitable keywords in your written content – for instance “hire John Bertrand – an SEO expert with years of experience”.

Whenever possible, target conversational phrases just as they are. For the rest of the conversational terms, use their shorter equivalents.

2. Leverage Synonyms and Dual Search Terms in your SEO

What’s happening? Another step towards relevant search results is determining what a page is about using not only individual keywords, but their synonyms and dual search terms.

Basically, this indicates that Google’s current search results are not just for the specific phrases the individual entered in, but for additional theme-related phrases.

For a theme-relevant website, this results in extra exposure opportunities; it’s likely to get to Google’s top result not only for your targeted keywords, but for their synonyms, too.

On the contrary, a page cut for a separate keyword (without keeping in mind its dual search terms and synonyms) is likely to be replaced with a page from a theme-relevant site.

What should you do?

-Expand your keyword research, focusing on synonyms and co-occurring terms to diversify your content.

-To see which search terms Google takes into account concurrently, pay particular attention to the relevant keywords and acronyms as well as spelling alternatives of your keywords outlined in search results:

Desktop

 

 

 

 

 

-Expand your synonyms list with the keywords that already bring traffic to your website (check your site’s Google Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics).

-Tap into Google Suggest for relevant keyword ideas:

 

Search Engine Optimization NY

 

 

 

3. Strive for Co-Citation

What’s happening? Another way for Google to identify what your website or your business deals with is co-citation. In a simple language, this mechanism means that each time your brand (or a link to your site) is mentioned alongside with your competitor’s or similar web resources, this serves as a hint to Google that your firm and those other companies are related. On top of that, if the competitors are already authoritative in your business niche, your site for Google now also seems a weighty niche representative.

Example: If your website (1) is mentioned on websites A, B and C together with your competitors (2, 3 and 4), for Google, the 4 websites become associated (see the scheme):

 

Web Marketing NY - Co-Citation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What should you do?

-Determine your top rivals (the biggest niche specialists trustworted by Google) and make certain your brand gets described together with them

-Perform a Google search for “Top 10 [the generic term for your biz]…”, “Best [the generic term for your product] of 2013″, etc. If your business isn’t there, reach out to the publisher and ask them to put you on the list.

-Research the competitive brands ranking higher for your keywords and phrases, to find more citation possibilities.

-Reverse-engineer competitors’ backlink user profiles to see which niche information the links are returning from.

 

4. Your Anchor Texts

What’s happening? Even though using “industrial” anchor texts in hyperlinks is one of the most significant SEO no-no’s these days, Google still depends on backlink anchor texts to much better understand the theme of a website.

The perfect proof for that is the famous example of Adobe.com that (still!) ranks due to the anchor texts in its links:

 

SEO NY

 

 

 

 

What should you do?

-Perform an inventory of your website’s internal links and discover if you can better optimize the exact anchor texts for LSI semantically-related keywords and phrases.

-Check your site’s external links’ anchors to make sure they are relevant enough or revise your anchor text strategy.

-Don’t forget to not only use keywords in the anchor texts themselves, but also to surround the links with keywords and their synonyms.

5. Pay More Attention to Universal Search Listings

What’s happening? Another thing to pay attention to in the age of smarter Google is Universal Search. It’s quite likely that the new, relevancy-focused algorithm will make Google show more Universal search results to your target users.

Let’s say that Google sees your intent – learning a chest workout. Obviously, the most informative result for you is a training video:

Content Marketing Firms NY

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you’re wondering where to buy pizza in Chicago, no doubt you need local pizzeria listings:

 

Google Search Engine Marketing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This means that now, even more than before, Universal Search gives you the opportunity to outrank competitors when cracking the “organic” top 10 seems improbable, and, drive more traffic to your site by using additional traffic channels.

What should you do?

-See what types of search results appear on Google for your main keywords.

-Consider the possibility of getting a Google+ Local listing.

-Optimize your images for Google Images.

-Make videos and optimize them for YouTube.

6. Utilize structured data markup

What’s happening? To collect more info about your website, its theme and content, Google is likely to pay even more attention to the so-called “structured data”. That is a perfect way to get extra exposure in Google’s Knowledge graph; to add more info to rich snippets, to feature your article’s authorship, to get into the search results carousel, and so on.

Get Top Search Results on Google

 

 

 

 

 

 

What should you do?

-Make sure you use the maximum number of structured data properties, that is, let Google know more about your site (use Google+ for Google authorship, get listed in Freebase to increase your chances of hopping on the Knowledge Graph, etc.).

-To help Google make better sense of your site, whenever possible, try implementing schema on your site (use Schema.org markup for Videos, use Organized Data Markup Helper towards Google recognize more regarding movies, events, and so on. on your website).

-Use Structured Data Testing Tool to make sure Google interprets structured data correctly on your webpages.

Now your site is all set for Hummingbird!

Read original article HERE.

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