From Keywords to Hummingbird … Now What?

So Google changed the playing field. The giant has decided to keep keyword details to itself and leave us guessing as to what specifically piqued our Web visitors’ interest.

Is this just so much silliness or is it all for good reason?

Secure search is nothing new to the search community. In 2010 Google introduced “encrypting” to its natural search in a small way, and dialed it up a notch in 2011. As the Website owner, you began to receive a bit less key information in the analytics package that drove that search. If you are not a mighty webmaster, all this means is:

The way you could literally see a report of which words were used in Web searches to drive viewers to your website became less helpful because Google did not provide all the words that users typed in on their searches anymore. Some of the information was encrypted.

In the past few weeks it has been confirmed that Google will default the vast majority if not all of its search data to be secure. This move to encrypting all natural searches will leave you unable to see any of the keywords that previously indicated how your audience initially sought you out.

This is specific to Google and it is a big change. It puts a veil over the eyes of your marketing and advertising content people. Those who write code are handcuffed. No one can make the search easier for the audience by optimizing searches with keywords that most people tend to use to seek out your particular brand or product. A new creative approach is needed.

But it does bring about an awareness that was a long time coming. SEO has become too easy to manufacture by stuffing links with keywords. Now, we have to redesign our approach.

How do we drive traffic to our website now that there is no analytic package spitting out a list of words like a roadmap to success?

In a big way, this might be the first time some of us really have to dig in, get creative, and be engaged in order to succeed on the SEO front.

So a door has been shut and Hummingbird has come flying through the virtual window. Hummingbird is a program that understands strings of words, synonyms, and valuable content. With the Hummingbird update, Google can better understand the context/concept of a search. Do you want an apple as in the fruit or an Apple computer? A street address or a URL? Hummingbird is the algorithm that provides context and encourages people to stay with Google rather than run to the other search engines out there that still allow for keyword visibility.

So Here’s the Scoop

It wasn’t just to mess with you. Google has a solid mission in moving away from the keywords and into the algorithms. The focus is on providing searchers with the most valuable content possible. Social signals give a better indication of what is valuable on the web. This also means that sharing/posting content that doesn’t drive engagement may result in negative impact.

Content and Authorship Counts

An online experience is now viewed as truly engaging. Measuring the time on site, sharing content socially, and not just clicking through, is the kind of truly valuable information we might have missed back in the day when keywords were king. People are searching on their phones, using voice, and Google is working to be up to date. Hummingbird readies the Internet to be responsive to what users are coming to know as normal. Speak your search and the Hummingbird algorithm responds.

It’s easy to see, the SEO focus has reached past the keywords to embrace content and answering the questions as they come. The ability to respond to customers’ needs has never been more paramount. One of the best ways to be prepared for this new SEO world is to blog. Online blogs naturally keep your website up to date. This is where your content is fresh and provides that up to the moment material, news, and information. Beyond the blog, focus on other pages that have driven traffic previously – ask yourself, how can I build off those themes? This will help you stay focused as you write, develop white papers, newsletters, blogs, Web content, Facebook content, everything. Do what you do best. It didn’t become more complicated – only focus has shifted.


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