As someone that performs SEO activities on a daily basis, it continues to blow my mind just how many educated and professional people do not even know what SEO stands for, let alone what search engine optimization actually is. Granted, teaching a college course strictly on SEO would be rather difficult due to its fickle and complex nature. In general, however, we are rapidly approaching the year 2014, and SEO should be fairly common knowledge.
It is almost as important for consumers and online users to be aware of SEO as it is for business owners and online advertisers. Although many folks might believe that Google only wants to help themselves in regards to search engine optimization, the truth is that their primary focus is to improve the user experience – wean out the garbage, provide desired and quality search results, and make the entire process of online search as easy and smooth as possible.
What’s Up with Updates?
It is hardly a well-kept secret that Google likes to surprise us SEO folks with algorithm changes and tactical updates. The most recent of these updates that graced the virtual stage with its presence is Hummingbird. Naturally, since Google released Hummingbird, the SEO world has been a flutter with questions, discussions, and analyses.
Although Hummingbird is going to significantly impact how search results are ranked from here on out, it is important to gather as much credible information as possible before making any rash decisions pertaining to your current SEO strategy. After all, not everything you read on the Internet is true, and that is precisely what Google is trying to overcome by launching Panda, Penguin, and now Hummingbird.
One of the unique things about search engine optimization is that even “experts” in the field are constantly doing research and learning about new strategies, tools, and best practices. Maintaining a well-developed and implemented SEO strategy for your business does not mean you need to spend hours each day listening to webinars and reading SEO blogs. You do, however, need to put some effort into staying up to date with SEO trends if you stand any chance at being competitive in your niche.
How to be in Harmony with Hummingbird
In order to overcome and adapt to Google’s most recent algorithm updates, there are a few key things you need to know about Google’s Hummingbird. In general, it is essential that you do not allow Hummingbird to fluster and frustrate you. Just get familiar with the changes, and react accordingly.
· Conversation is Crucial. One of the most important changes that Hummingbird has established is an emphasis on conversation. This applies to every aspect of the search process. In other words, users are typing search strings into Google that actually make conversational sense, as opposed to just being a random compilation of keywords. Google can now understand these requests in order to provide more precise and quality results to the user.
· Queries are Questions. In order to adjust to this conversational shift, the best thing you can do is ask any and all questions that a current or potential customer might type in to a Google search bar. Provide the answers to the questions on your website.
· Content is Critical. Consistent, quality, and regular published content has been highly regarded by Google for some time now, but now you must be sure to maintain a conversational tone in all of your content. Flowery language and keyword stuffing are a waste of time and will harm your SEO strategy overall.
· Link Building Lives On. Despite what some may believe, Hummingbird has not killed link building. Basically, as long as you currently have a white hat link building strategy in play, Hummingbird will not negatively affect your search results rankings. Those who practice link building but neglect the quality aspect, however, will certainly see rankings drop.