How to Catch a Hummingbird: Google’s Latest an Opportunity to Improve Content

October 11, 2013 7:26 pm

Google’s Hummingbird took flight more than a month ago and was officially introduced to the world just a week and a half ago to much fanfare… and concern. [Link to announcement?] As the dust finally settles from the announcement, it’s clear that SEO for web content is ever more important. So, read on and we’ll enlighten you on the key developments with Hummingbird and what you should do to help your website maximize the opportunities presented with this latest update.

What is Google Hummingbird?

Google’s Hummingbird algorithm is designed to answer very long, very specific search questions with the most relevant results. This is primarily because of the trend to make technology as seamless as possible with innovations such as Google Glass and smart-watches. This push towards non-traditional interfaces and the added pressure on a search engine to get the right result the first time is driving Google’s algorithm changes. Hummingbird will determine how web content is developed and deployed as it sets the rules of how a website will be discovered. Since the advent of multi-touch interfaces, this will likely be the next most significant development in web for the next decade.

How do you attract Google’s Hummingbird?

The answer is simple and remains as the unchanging core of our SEO approach: Start with high quality content.  Engaging content that is meant for human consumption and provides value and meaning to your readers is content that will be perfect for the type of queries Hummingbird is designed for.  For small businesses, it means going beyond just listing the specs of a product, but thinking of content that answer what that product is perfect for.

Providing context around products and services that answer a user’s needs is going to be the sugary syrup that will attract this Hummingbird’s attention to your site.

For SEO, this opens the opportunity to branch out and increase the number of possibilities for long-tail search discovery.  This means that the same content can be recontextualized to answer different questions, thereby creating uniquely relevant content on a website.  As an example, a law firm may target “divorce lawyer in New Jersey” for their SEO purposes. However, for voice search, a law firm may want to build out pages that address more detailed and specific searches such as:

  • What is the number for a high net-worth divorce lawyer in New Jersey?
  • Which lawyers in New Jersey specialize in divorce for business owners?
  • I need a divorce lawyer with experience dealing with international child custody.

Creating pages that address different iteration of “divorce lawyer” under different circumstance/context increases a site’s overall size and content base and makes it more relevant to related search terms.

Beyond that, the use of structured data will be even more important. When similar types of data are tagged for building contextual relationships for the algorithm and providing deep metadata about the content, it allows the system to get the right answer to search user’s question the very first time. In the case of Google, a search like, “When are the show times of Thor at the nearest movie theater?” will not just show a listing of movie theaters nearest your GPS location, but take you directly to the show listings to the theater closest to you. This is capable because the content has been “structured” via meta tags to be identified and served up correctly the very first time.

The current list of content types that can be structured are available in Google Webmaster Tools Help. Moving forward, Google will surely roll out more types of content that can be structured for a world with touch-less interface that require 100% accuracy in search results.

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About The Author

We specialize in b2b, supporting the clients who are the "The Brands Behind the Brands." These are the supply chain partners of brands, either in Tier 1 or Tier 2 positions, who drive value through the delivery of goods, services and technologies. We enjoy blogging about all things related to Branding, Marketing, Inbound, Tradeshows, etc... And we're always happy to talk about any ideas you may have that might Get You To Your NEXT!