Google’s Hummingbird arrived earlier this year with fast less fanfare than most of its predecessors generated. In fact, most of us Sydney SEOs only learned about it several weeks after it had been rolled out. It was definitely an example of a soft launch.
Hundreds of articles and blog posts and even a few books have been penned advising us of what we must do to cope with these new changes. Yet few SEOs have reported any shift in rankings that can be directly attributed to Hummingbird.
So how are you handling Hummingbird? The fact is that if you’re following SEO best practises, you should be unaffected. And if you’re not, this new update should be a wakeup call for you to change a few things. Here are some ideas:
- Focus on a clear content strategy. Your keyword research should not just be about gathering loads of key phrases but should be a springboard towards developing ways to satisfy user intent. You should base all content on a clear understanding of what the visitor really wants, whether it’s simple information, to find the best product for his needs, or to make a purchase. Knowing your audience is the first step towards satisfying them.
- Create content that provides genuine value to visitors. Avoid thin, keyword stuffed fluff that’s just there to fill up a page. People visit your sites to find solutions to their problems. Since Hummingbird, Google is now better able to process natural language queries so don’t be afraid of optimising pages for long tail phrases that are full sentences, especially in the form of questions.
- To allow visitors to take full advantage of all your quality content, create a clear information architecture for your site. Searchers should be able to easily navigate around using semantically rich menus, in context links, and proper tags and categories.
- When building links be sure to vary your anchor text and make sure the majority are branded links that feature the company name or URL. Look to build more natural links via quality content. By providing visitors with what they need, you’ll build authority and trust and get the natural links that Google values.
So there you have it. I think you’ll agree that these are all things you should have been doing anyway. In the bustle of daily SEO work here in Australia, it’s easy to forget the basics.
Google’s regular updates, changes and penalties cause outpourings of anger and dismay in the SEO world, but I believe that’s the wrong reaction. In a sense we should value these Google updates for reminding us of what’s important in SEO.
Each algorithmic and policy change should be an opportunity for us to focus on ensuring we provide value to our clients by helping them be found in the search results and then presenting their message to the world in a way that’s clear and accurate.