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What Google’s Hummingbird Update Means for Your SEO

Google just recently released it’s Hummingbird algorithm, and those checking the top keywords bringing traffic to their site have likely already noticed a difference: instead of groups of words like "small business organization help," the keywords are suddenly more conversational. Google’s aim is to better determine a searcher’s intent, and then provide the content that best suits that intent.

While this is bad news for those who are still relying on trying to keyword-load to beat the system (a practice Google has been trying to discourage for years), it’s great news for everyone genuinely trying to create content of value.

A benefit to the content creator is that they’ll get a clearer glimpse of the things people are talking about and searching for, and can tailor their content accordingly. After all, tailoring your content to what your audience actually wants and needs to read has always been the best practice.

However, seeing "tax help" in your data is so general that’s not of much use. If you’re a tax attorney, you already know people are looking to you for tax help. On the other hand, seeing "does a tax lien get removed when non collectable status expires" gives you a very specific question that people need answered. These long tail keywords will help you help even more people!

Another benefit for businesses aiming to serve locally is that Hummingbird will now use any registered locations to help point people to results in their current area. So instead of finding answers to questions from a company located on the other site of the country, people could see results from someone in their own city. This creates better quality leads for you, and helps consumers find an expert who can answer their specific questions more easily.

Here are a few tips to help you create Hummingbird-approved content:

  • Regularly publish high-quality content. If you just have a static website with an About page, Contact page, etc., but no regularly updated content, people aren’t going to keep coming back, and people searching for your type of expertise will not return (or they’ll leave quickly) because you’ll have a limited amount to offer them. Publishing blogs and articles remains an extremely important way to keep people coming back.
  • Use those long tail keywords. Long tail keywords are basically telling you exactly what your site visitors want to know, so make sure you give them what they want. And use those keywords well, so that people can easily find the content. For example, if you find the keyword used above, "does a tax lien get removed when non collectable status expires", turn that into your blog title and your META title to help people quickly find what they’re looking for.
  • Link to other pages on your site. But only when it really works. But if a current blog references a topic that you’ve written about before, then point your readers to that related blog using clear keywords that fit the current blog. If searches are bringing people to your site, put it in the effort to keep them there with more high-quality content.
  • Make sure to share your content online. Whether it’s on your own social media profiles or through social syndication, anything you can do to encourage people to share your content will increase your site’s authority, which is something that continues to be important to Google.

Have specific questions about how Hummingbird could affect your site? Don’t hesitate to get in touch today!

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