What You Should Know About Keywords and Google’s Hummingbird Update

Google Hummingbird

In the world of SEO, the ground tends to shake a little bit when the search giant Google announces a rollout of its fear and famed search algorithm. This past September saw the newest major update happen under the name Hummingbird. The update was meant to serve as a celebration of Google’s 15th birthday, and the result wasn’t as big as some SEOs were making it out to be.

Fact is, if you’ve been on top of performing the legitimate functions of SEO today, Hummingbird pretty much had little to no effect on your overall performance in rankings and search. What Hummingbird did do, however, is encourage SEOs to better think about the keywords that they are going after. This goes way beyond just the anchor text that you usually go after by building links (although they do play a big role still).

Google Hummingbird

What good SEOs want to start thinking about is: “Does my website have the answers to most, if not all of the questions, that my users might be looking for?” The reason why this thought should come about goes beyond just the obvious call for strong relevancy in your site, but what Hummingbird is doing to keywords.

Conversational Search

The most significant part of Hummingbird relates to the semantics of search.”Conversational search” is the usual terms being used in discussions, and the definition works out a little something like this: Search queries that speak like a normal question rather than a fragmented search term. An example of a conversational search term is: “Are satellite TV companies available in Atlanta, GA?” instead of the more stripped down search: “Satellite TV in Atlanta”.

What are some ways for you to consider in order to capitalize on the call for conversational search? It’s rather simple actually, and chances are that you are already doing it for you site. Keyword research is of course a must-do as you create content for your site, but just how informative the content is cannot be something overlooked.

Stop worrying so much about how many links you have pointing to your site, and how structured the URL is on your pages (but still definitely keep it in mind). Instead of trying to figure out how to rank so highly all of the time, start thinking about what kind of value your site has to users trying to figure out the answers.

Make your website part of the conversation that users could very well be having with one another. By keeping a strong presence of keywords in place, you stand a chance of being the site to answer all of the queries. But start thinking more about how these keywords get structured with the rest of the big picture, and you’ll see how Google is make the chance from fragmented search to more conversational search.

Relax and Keep Creating

All in all, Hummingbird isn’t meant to stress anyone out in SEO. This isn’t like the infamous Penguin update that punished a great number of sites back in 2012. Hummingbird is meant to encourage website owners to ask: “How can I provide the best answers to the people I want coming to my site?”

About the author: Ezra Melino is a content producer for businesses such as Direct TV in Atlanta, GA, as well as a blogger on tech and science on the side.