Google’s New Update and What it Means for Your Keywords

Google Updated algorithm: the Hummingbird.  As someone involved with SEO and marketing, you may be wondering how Hummingbird will affect the keywords that you use.

If you want to create content and keywords that are successful with Hummingbird, the tips that follow are for you:

 Go Long Tail

Long tail is a type of query that is typically longer with regard to the number of terms in the phrase.  With Hummingbird, Google is now able to understand longer, more complex searches.  It’s been highly adapted for conversational search, meaning that more keywords will be used in search queries, and the results will be more focused.

With this in mind, content marketers should be creating micro-focused content.  For example, instead of writing about “The Healthiest Restaurants in NYC,” it would be better to take a more specific approach, writing instead about “The Best Restaurants in NYC for Gluten-Free Eaters” or “The Best Restaurants in NYC for Vegetarians.”

As searchers become more familiar with Hummingbird, they will gradually start asking more detailed questions in a conversational manner.  Once this happens, if you’re creating micro-focused content, you’ll be able to snag highly targeted traffic.

 Expand Your Vocabulary

Flexibility is a great advantage of Hummingbird.  Now, searchers aren’t limited to one specific word or phrase to get the results they want.  Based on its interpretation of the query and the searcher’s intentions, Google can substitute an alternate keyword.

What does this mean for you?  Rather than sticking to the same term or phrase throughout your writing, you should use synonyms and varying forms of that phrase or term.  Using the restaurant example, you could use terms such as “eatery,” “café,” or “fine dining establishment” instead of writing “restaurant” over and over, assuming those terms fit with the content.  With Hummingbird, Google is moving away from individual terms and gravitating towards a holistic understanding of the actual query.

 Use Structured Data

Another feature of the Hummingbird update is the capacity to understand when a searcher is looking for a certain kind of information.  With structured data, you can accurately convey specific types of information to Google.  There is a wide variety of structured data forms that vary according to medium, with specific formats designed for books, movies, reviews, etc.

For example, if the searcher is looking for Xtrema cookware, but they left the term “cookware” out of their query, Google is now capable of inferring that the searcher is looking for a type of cookware, and it will display Xtrema cookware products in the search results.  Unfortunately, if your content mentioned relevant cookware, but you didn’t use structured data, your page may not appear in the search results.

Content Should be Rich

In order for marketers to focus their content to fulfill more complex user intent, content needs to be deep and rich to be considered the most applicable piece of content for a given query.  The sites that attempt to answer more comprehensive questions, rather than just focusing on individual keywords and phrases, will be successful with the Hummingbird update.

Authorship is Important

Google+ recently made a change to authorship that makes it easier for Google to link content back to its author.  That being said, it’s important to take authority into consideration when creating your content.  Make sure that you’ve developed profiles, kept them up to date, and linked them to all pieces of content.

With all the changes Hummingbird presents, what’s the bottom line?  Content needs to fulfill the searcher’s intentions.  Context has become increasingly important, as factors such as the searcher’s location, platform, and device are now taken into consideration.  The key to doing well and making a smooth transition to Hummingbird is to be mindful of context and what the searcher intends.  If you can do that, and you write clear, rich, straightforward copy that uses word variations and structured data, you’ll do more than survive—you can rise above and thrive—in this new search playing field.

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