Imagine that you are searching for a landscape company. You do a few general searches using keywords like landscape companies in New Jersey, affordable landscaping near me and lawn maintenance companies NJ. After doing a few searches, you narrow down the list to the companies you saw consistently on the first page of the search results. You call the companies, get quotes and make your final decision. Congratulations – you have chosen a landscape company with the help of a search engine.
Search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo are continually updating their search algorithms to provide the most relevant results to users, which in this case, was local landscape companies. The newest search algorithm, Google Hummingbird, claims to deliver more accurate results based on complex or conversationalist searches. Does this really improve user experience?
A Focus on Semantic Search
Where search engines once focused on individual keywords, Hummingbird takes the entire phrase into consideration. Hummingbird also places greater emphasis on user intent, understanding both the uniqueness and usefulness of the content. This is called semantic search.
Hummingbird is the perfect example of what Google intends to do – directly benefit the customer. This eases up some of the burden off the user who doesn’t have to input a variation of keywords to find the best results. Semantic search is perceptive, intuitive and direct. It does improve user experience, and we can expect to see Google continue to be more responsive to the individual user.
How Hummingbird Affects SEO
Ongoing updates and changes are necessary to achieve and manage good rankings. Google may continue to adjust their own factors and how they impact search rankings until they achieve the “best” formula. This means that your SEO strategy may be more effective one day and less effective the next. Instead of chasing after the details, it’s best to focus on a generalized strategy that is optimized in a variety of areas.
For instance, content should be high-quality, original and engaging. It should offer useful information and address the common questions that your audience has. Content must be added regularly to keep a fresh flow of blog posts, articles and press releases in motion. Most importantly, content needs to convey authority. Show that no one knows your industry better than you. This attitude will help you increase quality backlinks and shares on social media.
In addition to content, your website should also be easy to crawl so that Google can easily search your pages, which has a significant impact on rankings. Coding will help here, too, so be sure to include all keywords, headers, title tags and description tags in the HTML code.
If you still feel like you’re falling short, put yourself in the user’s shoes. What types of keywords would they be plugging into the search box? What types of questions might they have? This will help you develop the conversationist tone that Hummingbird is built for.