Google released its Hummingbird search algorithm in August. Hummingbird reportedly impacts ninety percent of all search queries. You should care about this. You should care a lot. If your business comes from online sources, this affects you.
Unlike Google's Penguin and Panda launches that were just updates to its existing algorithm, Hummingbird is a complete overhaul. Google's search master Amit Singhal asserted that Hummingbird is the first redesign since 2001 that a Google algorithm has been so totally made-over.
Google's newest algorithm update, referred to as Hummingbird, was set up to handle more advanced searches. This update cranks up Google's potential to understand the meaning between word combinations as opposed to just looking for keywords. In the geeky SEO world we live in, this is referred to as LSI, or Latent Semantic Indexing, and is getting baby steps nearer to the holy grail of computers understanding natural human writing.
Keyword Optimization Is Now Old News
Reading between the lines on Google's hottest update seems to point towards the lessening impact of keywords just being on a page. This presumption is supported by another recent move by Google to encrypt all keyword search data. Internet marketers won't be able to (easily) determine which search queries sent traffic to their site. This basis of SEO metrics has long been critical for optimizing a web site for particular keyword phrases.
Google is being straightforward in pushing search marketers to optimize using good content and really generate value for readers as opposed to keywording and techie whiz-bang.
Classic Marketers are Going To Win
The 1st decade of SEO was just like the Wild West: we all improved the technical elements, and threw content all over in order to increase links, results and listings. Customers unfortunately encouraged this as the folks receiving SEO bids were those who took a low-price winner, short-term, slash and burn approach (we refused and happily are still here). This left clients to drop in the search engines as algorithms evolved and the SEO firms simply shrugged, and moved on to new clients with new tricks. As the search engines like google and bing have evolved, this cowboy process is getting obsolete because the latest algorithms can recognize meaning, context and quality without needing much of the technical backend methods for telling Google what's on your pages.
Presently, good SEO just looks a lot like "marketing".
Marketers focus on delighting our audiences for clients, building intriguing content that is cool enough to share and promoting a positive image of the brand. Technical optimization is trailing to real world optimization. Gaming backlink creation is losing to digital public relations.
SEO isn't dead, it is just getting "more real" daily.
The cut-rate, shadowy, technical SEO firms overseas are increasingly becoming irrelevant as they now have to adopt brand building, actual communication and business targets. This is harder work, and some vendors aren't up for this challenge.
Focus on "Long-tail" Searches
Long-tail keywords is the expression used for longer searches that are more detailed in nature. These are generally asked in question forms, like "how do I shed pounds in my hips fast?" For quite some time, great marketers have been using this lucrative traffic segment to boost online sales. Long-tail keywords are naturally really specific. This makes them fruitful in search, mostly because individual with a very specific question is often more motivated and in a position to buy "right now" if you answer their question or give a compelling solution to their predicament.
Think of it this way: if you were selling autos, would you rather take care of a customer wanting "a car," or would you rather talk to the prospect wanting "a Black Camaro with tan leather seats, a v8 engine, and a stick shift"? Long-tail keyword phrases convert at 3 times the rates of general keyword phrases.
The Hummingbird update is now honoring the longer tail searches in an effort to give better search results for more definite and complex search queries.
While many Search Engine Optimization companies are scrambling and crying about the updates, many are popping champagne (well, sparkling cider on the job anyway…), and are excited about what this will signify to the clients of SEO.
Like they've done after most major rollouts, The bigger and better SEO companies are now even providing free assessments to assist companies figure out how much they are affected. Check out web optimization free analysis