Humming a New Tune – What Google Hummingbird Means for Your SEO Strategy

    • Setter Staff

    Hopefully you have all survived the attack of the Panda and Penguin and are in the process of taking on the Hummingbird.

    No, this is not a zoological blog post; we are talking about the latest round of Google’s algorithm updates called Google Hummingbird. The SEO landscape continues to be an exciting, competitive and ever-moving target; one which your organization’s online presence needs to continually adapt to.

    Investing in your digital marketing program brings difficult decisions about budget allocation, and each marketing discipline is becoming deeper with opportunities but harder to master. The nuances of a campaign including SEO, PPC, social media, content marketing, email marketing and online PR – to name a few – require increasingly broader skill sets and analytical capabilities to be effective. The “hit-and-hope” days are behind us, and your business requires a team in place that can execute effectively and accurately track ROI.

    Should I Be Worried About Hummingbird?

    Search engine algorithm updates – particularly significant ones like Hummingbird – tend to get the experts and their clients into a flutter. It’s never clear cut initially how a given website will be affected.

    It’s all too easy to make snap decisions based on a few blog posts or industry chatter. But no one apart from the boffins at Google really knows exactly how search engine rankings will be affected, so the best approach is to closely monitor how your site is responding and be ready to make changes accordingly.

    This is where a mix of analytics, search engine ranking tools, savvy content marketers and copywriters can help you to stay on track.

    What’s the SEO strategy for 2014?

    What you may have skimmed down this post to find out is:

    What should I do about Hummingbird now?

    First, don’t panic. Second, think about these 3 things:

      1. The genuine usefulness of your content
      2. The speed of your site
      3. The user experience for mobile devices


    From what we have been able to ascertain since the rollout, the key strategies should be:

      1. Breadth of content
      2. Consistent keyword themes for each distinct page
      3. High engagement metrics
      4. Low bounce rate
      5. No duplicate content
      6. And, of course, a mainstay of SEO – high quality inbound links


    All this reaffirms why we should not get hung up on some of the keyword grading tools offered by Yoast and SEOMoz (both of which we love and use), except for the fact it’s important to build content around a keyword theme and make sure a top keyword is present in the Meta Data. A robust blog is a primary weapon in the fight to be found for long tail keywords, which make up 70% of all searches and are a way to drive link juice to the key lead generation pages on your website. This has been a solid tactic since the Panda rollout, which penalized ‘thin content’ and keyword stuffing (as it should be!). For sites with minimal website content, the blog becomes the biggest SEO asset, along with generating visibility through social media.

    What Do I Need to Do?

    One of the understood effects of the Google Hummingbird update relates to mobile search functions. Here are some mobile SEO 101 tips:


    • Use Finger Touch Friendly Navigation
    • Disable Pop-up On Mobile
    • Don’t Use Flash Content
    • Scroll-to-Sections Speed up Navigation
    • Keep the number of videos to a page to a minimum
    • Compress images
    • Combine CSS files
    • Use responsive design unless a traditional mobile site suits your content

    For maximum impact, focus on adding new content that explicitly answers user questions, including “how to” posts, FAQs, process tutorials and other similar pieces.

    Again, your blog can help provide answers to some of these ‘how to’ questions, attract natural links, and get picked up by press outlets – who often have a high domain authority – and can direct a high volume of traffic back to your website.

    Every new Google algorithm update brings its own nuances, challenges, and learning curve, but staying focused on the basics of content marketing is, and will always be, a surefire SEO strategy.


    Setter Staff

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