The Internet tripped over itself last week in reaction to Google’s announcement of a new algorithm (code named “Hummingbird”) powering the world’s best-known search engine. Searching for the term “Google Hummingbird” itself brings back 501,000 posts, images and videos mostly trying to explain what this change will mean for consumers and producers of content.
So what does this mean for your business and the future of Search Engine Optimization (SEO)? In short, SEO is not dead, and the update should cause no one to lose traffic. The update added the ability for Google to understand context around natural language searches. Following up a search for the Washington Monument with the question “How tall is it?” will return the monument’s height. You can also say, “Compare apples to oranges” and Google will give you a breakdown of nutritional information for both fruits.
Content producers should still tag content with keywords relevant to their material. Keyword tagging will always contribute to SEO, but producing contextually relevant and original content will create more value in Google’s evolving world than mere keywords ever will.
Searchers want content that best meets their needs at the time and place they need it. I may not even know I want to try the newest brand of coconut water. I just want “the best way to hydrate after a 5K.” A blog post from a running enthusiast who drinks coconut water will find it’s way to me faster than any banner ad or ordinary product review.
No matter what changes Google rolls out in the future, influencers should always focus on the depth and authenticity of their content first and then layer on all the best practices that exist with keywords, plugins and syndication tools and techniques. Bottom line, the best quality content will garner the most organic traffic.
Contextually relevant quality content matters.