How Will Google’s Hummingbird Update Affect Your Marketing?

November 25, 2013 Michelle Rebecca

If you work in online marketing, no matter what your role, Google algorithm updates are something that you must deal with.

Marketers are continually asking themselves whether updates will make it necessary to completely revamp marketing strategies, especially in terms of search engine optimization.

Google recently released the Hummingbird algorithm, and many are considering it to be the biggest shift in more than a decade. Hummingbird didn’t just introduce tweaks to an existing algorithm, but instead it unveiled something brand new. Keep reading to learn how Hummingbird may affect your marketing campaigns.

Search Results Are More Conversational and Contextual

In the past, there was a tremendous focus on using particular keywords in an effort to achieve better search engine rankings. Now, the algorithm looks at a person’s entire search query rather than just parts of it. As a marketing professional, you could potentially view that as a change that offers you more freedom to shape website content in ways that reflect how people naturally search for things, rather than getting fixated on a few popular phrases.

Although these so-called long-tail keywords offered high conversion rates from visitors who sought relevant information, they didn’t always boost traffic. Some analysts think that moving forward, long-tail keywords will provide both good conversion rates, plus more traffic. Therefore, it’s worthwhile to start incorporating long-tail keywords into your marketing content, if you haven’t started doing so already.

Authority Is Still Key

Some of the more recent Google updates have proved how the search engine giant places emphasis on pages that have authoritative content and may even consider the authoritativeness of a person who has written material online. That’s still the case with the Hummingbird update, but it’s important to showcase authority on all pages of your site rather than just the ones that you’d consider to be most frequented, such as your homepage.

The new algorithm will work to intelligently direct users to the most appropriate pages of your website, and those may not be the main parts of it. With that in mind, work hard to demonstrate authority throughout your entire website. Doing that could help you rise in the rankings and consequently get more visitor traffic.

Your Content Should Be Shareable

Given the focus on authoritative information, it should be clear why it’s so important to produce content that people will want to share with others. This goal isn’t one that has only come to the forefront with the Hummingbird update, but one thing that the newest algorithm continues to prove is that shareable content can drive traffic and help you reach your marketing goals more efficiently.

Google rewards websites that provide a generalized but well-rounded approach to respective topics. Your target audience should also respond well if you tailor your marketing efforts to that aim. If your content makes people interested in it, they’ll be more likely to share it and want to learn more about what your website offers. That will improve traffic levels and also show Google search crawlers you’re an authoritative source that’s committed to providing helpful information.

You May Need to Get Motivated About Being Mobile-Friendly

If your marketing campaign has fallen short in regards to catering to mobile users, it’s probably worthwhile to renew your efforts in that area. Some industry experts think that while Hummingbird works to give users the most appropriate information, it’ll also favor websites that accommodate people who access content on computers, tablets, or smartphones… especially if those individuals are using voice recognition apps.

The way that people access online content is changing. Take the time to be mindful of that while designing your marketing tools and websites, and you may notice an uptick in mobile traffic because of the Hummingbird algorithm and its attention to how people use the Internet.

Don’t Panic Because of What You Don’t Know

What you’ve just read might be enough to make you want to immediately make an appointment with experts at a company offering SEO, and that’s a great idea. However, while Google just announced the Hummingbird update recently, it had already gone live about a month prior. Unless you’ve noticed a huge drop in traffic within that span of time and are now fairly certain Hummingbird is to blame, there’s no need to get overly anxious and assume that you’ll have no choice but to retool your entire marketing campaign.

The general consensus is that it’s too early to say for sure what sort of impact the update will have on marketing campaigns. Take what you’ve learned above and incorporate the new ideas gradually, all while keeping a close eye on page statistics. Monitoring things carefully and regularly will let you know whether what you’re doing is still sufficient, or if major changes are needed.

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