Lacuesta’s Lessons on the Hummingbird Update
Over the past few months I was able to give a presentation on Google’s Hummingbird update to local SEO groups in Denver and Boulder and more recently to the Colorado Community College System. It’s been interesting to see how others look at their content strategy and what questions arise, so I thought it would be worth sharing the most helpful points that came up.
The beauty of the Hummingbird update is that it allows for more natural language to be used within a site’s content because it picks up on synonyms and similar phrases. With the rise of mobile search and the way people use natural language when using those devices, the engines are now looking at better understanding the meaning of semantic search queries rather than just the keywords by themselves. Your content does not need to have repetitious keywords or every conceivable variation of a keyword phrase to be relevant for whatever you are optimizing for. As search queries get longer and become more long-tail, the relevance of your page to a theme or category becomes just as important as it does to a specific keyword.
This is why it’s important to start looking at each of your pages to be sure that your content is clear and organized so users and engines alike can figure out what each page is about. This is why it’s important to have a clear content strategy as we’ve discussed before.
I’m a big fan of the show Jeopardy! (even now with all the controversy) and that format is the way we need to look at our pages. In Jeopardy! the answers are read first and the contestant asks the question. What answers does each page provide and what questions are people asking when they are served your page?
With the decrease in granular keyword data we are focusing more on segmenting organic search traffic by landing page. By looking at each landing page and knowing what each page is optimized for and what it answers, we can see which categories are performing. Once you identify what’s working and where there is room for improvement you can adjust accordingly.
Despite being pretty significant, this update hasn’t created as much buzz as some of the other big updates due to the fact that it does not create any penalties. The sites that focused on creating good content in the past were rewarded and will continue to do so as this update helps Google understand queries better and hopefully bring more targeted traffic to your website.