Does the New Google SEO Algorithm Really Mean Much?
by Andrew Millar
SEO – Search Engine Optimization – it is the Internet buzz term that dominates the minds of web developers and SEO agency folks alike. Why? Because SEO is the key to getting your website found. It’s marketing gold that proves to the search engine gods your content is relevant. It gets your business in front of prospects.
The trickiest thing about SEO is that it’s not 100 percent clear how the whole thing works. Like keys to the kingdom, those Google folks keep their complex algorithm close to the chest.
Plus, they keep changing it. Their most recent algorithm update – the introduction of Hummingbird – has many of us in a tizzy. What will it do to our website’s performance? Will all of the hard work we have done optimizing our sites be worthless?
Fortunately, things aren’t that different. The core principle is still the same – high quality, valuable content rules.
What is Hummingbird?
Google’s Hummingbird algorithm is made up of over 200 different factors. These factors determine which page Google believes will be the most helpful to searchers. They named this new algorithm Hummingbird because it is intended to be precise and fast.
What really changed?
Conversation. It may seem strange to think of having a conversation with a search engine, but that’s really what Hummingbird is trying to create. Rather than focusing on exact long tail and short tail keyword matches, Hummingbird is supposed to focus on intent.
This doesn’t mean exact word matches have ceased to be relevant. Rather, it means so too are synonyms. Change may seem scary. In actuality, It’s great news.
In the past, it was standard for your SEO agency to be focused on including specific words in your web copy. Sentences, paragraphs and entire bodies of text were constructed to use a specific word.
And, it was not just the word in general. It was the conjugation of the word. For example “book” was not recognized the same as “books.” At times, this limited the quality of your content. Like any creative restriction, it could be a debilitating handicap.
Does Your SEO Agency Need To Do Anything Special To Keep Your Website Relevant?
Yes and no. Great answer, right? Your SEO agency should already have been focused on creating high quality content your visitors will find valuable. That should not change. But, there are a few things you will want to start doing. These include:
- Google Authorship – It is not a bandwagon idea. While it is still being fine tuned, content with an identified author who has a specific expertise is considered more valuable. Plain and simple – just do it.
- Avoid Link Jeopardy – Yes, inbound links can help your search engine ranking. That is, they help if they are from a reputable site. Link jeopardy – paying for or exchanging links with another site is not a solution. For every corner you cut there is a price to pay. In this case, Google measures the quality of your inbound links and holds it against you when they are from dummy sites.
- Identify Content You Need To Rework – The higher quality your content is already, the less it will need to be re-worked. But, go though your content. Ask yourself, “How does this read?” If, by chance, you forced a few keywords here and there, take a second to re-work your content. The goal in this case is to keep the same theme or topic, but ensure the quality is spot on.
So, did Hummingbird really mix things up? Kind of, but not really. As in most things that matter in life, superior quality still rules.