By now, we are all aware that Google has launched yet another algorithmic update. It’s not new news and as with any significant announcement from the Silicon Valley behemoth the news has been met with a tidal wave of blog posts each of them claiming to know how to ‘crack it’.
In reality it is far too early to really begin to suggest how it should affect overall search strategy but based on what we do know there are a certain number of fundamentals we should all be thinking about in order to align ourselves to what is effectively an entirely new algorithm.
So, What is the Hummingbird Update?
We know that Hummingbird is designed to help Google understand semantic connection better. It’s predecessor, Caffeine, gave Google the ‘base’ from which to better police the web, giving them the engine to roll out mass changes and updates quickly. Hummingbird is there to give the search giant the ability to roll out knowledge graph and implicit meaning across the web to better understand the real meaning behind our search phrases (spoken or typed).
The theory, then is that a more refined, traditionally more ‘long tail’ search result might be surfaced. On the face of it that suggests we will see search volume spread across more terms rather than concentrated completely on head terms. And that is where content can help you win.
In testing we have seen a lot more traffic opportunity for answer-led content and that’s exciting news for content people!
This is where your content strategy comes in…
Do You Need to Change Your Strategy?
Changing your strategy really depends on how you were producing your content before Hummingbird was introduced. If you were smart and followed the general move to quality content creation then the impact will be minimal. Let’s look at a few simple tips to help you iterate further…
- The Hummingbird update is really content driven and it absolutely adores content that is specific, useful and relevant. You need to think beyond what it is you want to see and say and think about what the audience wants and needs to know.
- Content is all about the audience, they want it, they need it and they use it, unless it has no relevance or use to them. The SEO side of things is impossible if the audience does not care to read the pieces you produce.
How Do You Implement This?
- You remove the fluff from your content; no one wants to spend their time reading huge amounts of text to still be unsure of the answer to their question. They want fast answers in the most informative yet shortest way possible.
- Facts, figures, data and precision are the new focuses of your content, as this will provide the answers that the audience are so desperately seeking. Also create content that answers questions: so not just ‘Top 10 Restaurants in Rome’ but, instead, ‘What are the Best Restaurants in Rome?’ Think user first.
What Else Do We Need to Consider?
- Hummingbird also allows us to gain extra traffic from long tail searches. Rather than focusing on specific keywords and phrases, the entire search term is important and highly relevant. Content should therefore be geared towards this, which will enable the audience to find it.
- Make sure headlines and titles are in the form of questions and answers, which the body of the text will then answer. Work to identify and fulfill the needs of the audience rather than giving them something that you think they want. A keyword research led content strategy can be really powerful here.
Are You Mobile Enough for Your Audience?
- Ensure that your content is designed perfectly for mobile. Users need to be able to access and read your content on their mobile without having to compromise on the information achieved, the look and design of the content itself.
You really need to focus on the type of content and the way you present it when thinking about being mobile friendly. How do you do this?
- Think visually… pictures, short-form text and videos.
- Think sharing… Thanks to social media people love to share what interests them with like minded others. If your content is good enough then it can quickly become a social media phenomenon. This is precisely where the idea of creative and unique contents comes in to play. Make sure it is easy to share it afterwards.
- Think of your audience… You need to appeal directly to those who you want to read your content. You therefore need to look at trending topics, important information and anything that your audience is desperate to know.
What Does the Future Hold?
We all know the direction that content is heading in, long form is certainly the way forward but how does this apply to right now and the introduction of Hummingbird?
- By producing long form content that has a highly descriptive title and opening introduction you can fulfill both the elements from Hummingbird and mobile needs, which benefits both you and the audience.
What Can You Take away from this to Help Your Strategy?
By now you should know the ins and outs of the Hummingbird strategy and whether it will impact your content marketing strategy. But, what are your new areas of focus? How can you produce the best possible content whilst adhering to the guidelines established by Hummingbird?
- There is even more emphasis now on specific, relevant and unique content to keep both the audience and Google happy
- Look beyond specific key words and search terms and focus on the longer phrased searches
- Hummingbird encourages searchers to be more conversational and to ask questions which your content should provide the answers to
- Combine long form content with the audience need for detailed and informative responses
- Go mobile and make sure your content is readable and sharable through a mobile device
- Don’t be afraid to offer a question which you then proceed to answer within your content
- And think about the audience and their needs and fulfill them to really get the most out of your content marketing strategy
Have you experienced any ‘wins’ post Hummingbird? If so we’d love to hear about how you have made it work for your content strategy by sharing them below…