New Google updates are always met with concerns from webmasters and business owners.
Is SEO still effective? What will happen to my rankings?
Should I continue using SEO services?
What is the next big thing for me to focus on?
Unlike the Panda and Penguin algorithm updates, the latest Hummingbird update is more of an infrastructural change that aims to better understand context. This means that users can expect even more relevant results based on what they are searching for.
But a shift is steadily taking hold and the rules are changing yet again. The following are 3 tips to improve your SEO following this latest update from Google.
1. Focus on Better Content
Ranking for competitive keywords in the past was easy. Find a high trafficked keyword, write optimised content, build backlinks, and repeat. This strategy was highly effective for generating targeted traffic from the search engines.
But it was also prone to abuse.
All one had to do was purchase hundreds, even thousands of articles and could literally start attracting traffic the next day. To solve the problem of relevance, Google launched the Panda and Penguin update to reduce rankings for low quality websites.
The Hummingbird update makes it clear that the focus should be on better content, not just more content. Focus on creating truly valuable content with less emphasis on keyword research which brings us to the next tip.
2. Focus On Solving Problems
The problem with conducting keyword research to identify topics is the lack of depth. Instead of looking strictly at keyword tools, conduct more focused research to identify problems your audience is having. This can be done in the following ways:
- Ask your customers: One of the best ways to identify what content your audience wants is to simply ask them. Contact previous customers directly or create questionnaires for new ones.
- Use social media: Twitter, Facebook, and other social media networks are highly effective platforms to use to gather content ideas.
What questions is your audience asking? What kind of problems do they have?
Look at the competition: Look at the kind of content your competition is creating. Then aim to do it even better.
What areas do they focus on?
Which areas are lacking?
What makes the Hummingbird update different from previous updates is that it now concentrates on whole queries instead of individual words.
Here’s an example to illustrate.
By typing in how tall is the one world trade center, Google understands that you are looking for specific information and displays the following above all the other results :
- But typing in one world trade center delivers more generic results with the Wikipedia page at the top:
This ties in directly with Google’s Knowledge Graph that ties concepts together.
- This is why focusing exclusively on keywords is restrictive. A better option is to focus on solving problems with your content and Google will reward your pages accordingly.
3. Focus on Improving Mobile Experience
Mobile is increasingly becoming more and more important. Research has shown that mobile traffic has already overtaken desktop traffic in some places. The trend is likely to continue as smartphone usage becomes more prominent.
This means that your website and content should be optimised for mobile traffic. In a post in the Webmaster Central Blog, Google has noted that websites that are not properly optimised for mobile will be affected in terms of rankings.
To improve the search experience for smartphone users and address their pain points, we plan to roll out several ranking changes in the near future that address sites that are misconfigured for smartphone users.”
Optimising for mobile becomes even more important particularly for local businesses.
Google strives to deliver the most relevant results and the latest update is no exception. SEO is still very much alive and kicking but the emphasis now is on creating better content. Solving problems and optimising for mobile are the best ways to get better results with your marketing.