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A couple of years ago, the way Google delivered a search result was way more technical and much less semantic.  As Google started to evolve they announced that they have started to integrate facets to the search engine like the Google “knowledge graph” and other variables to deliver a better search result to the end user.  Google realized that their customers, the average searcher, and the advertiser, are no longer content with the results based on related “page keyword” content.

Search-Timeline-1997-2013

Google and Bing both decided to make a change to improve the accuracy of a search result. A lot of companies have asked us WHY? Why did Google integrate this change? The reason is Google is attempting to understand what is actually meant by a search and refine the results based on things like recency, location, context and the most important facet of all relevancy.

Here is a good example, let’s say you search for “best place to buy a MacBook Pro” two years ago you would get results such as blog posts, computer store reviews, or a  forum  with a Q and A section regarding this specific topic. Today with the new update and the integration of the semantic knowledge graphic, Google is more likely to understand that you want to buy a MacBook Pro and are looking for local location, with the most affordable price.

SEO isn’t dead because the search engines still exist. The new update means that SEO has evolved into something much more than keywords being properly placed on your website. The way you write your content and promote the topic is going to drastically change. You can no longer count on writing keywords about a particular subject or key phrase with a particular amount of search volume. Sure link bait content like that is always going to play a role in how you get found, but there are other significant factors that are going to play a role today.

It is to be noted, that the new Google update, Hummingbird, is here to stay. The new semantic search has been launched for over a month now, and the changes have stirred up the rankings quite a bit. The way people are searching is starting to evolve which means it is going to be tougher to get as much traffic and impressions as you once did. Search has been heading in this direction for some time now and it is time to embrace the change. Obviously part of the Google “Hummingbird” was intended to boost Pay Per Click sales and devalue the service of SEO companies however SEO isn’t dead. The reality of the situation is that SEO is just more difficult than and not as fast as it once was to generate a quick ranking.  Building out your social authority doesn’t happen in a couple of weeks, so Google is quality, frequency, and depth matter more than ever. Here are a couple of harsh realities when dealing with Hummingbird.

Social Media Matters…. A lot

It is going to be tough to rank for keywords without proactively sharing your content. Sharing, retweets, plus ones, and Facebook likes, are your modern day backlink. You need a lot of shares to be viewed as the social authority within your market. Social interactions and engagement is viewed as a backlink and you want to make sure you are integrating the social principles within your SEO campaign.

Add Depth to Your Content

Less content more frequently was once the thought process behind content creation. While readers seem to enjoy this, the content often lacks depth. A Google consumer is looking for relevant information on the topic matter and blogs should offer more depth than a paragraph about the subject.  You are more likely to get shares if you integrate customized images, info graphics, or a couple paragraphs on the matter. Google has even created markup standards for in depth articles as long as 2000-5000 words.

Who writes it Matters!

Your social authority is based on your authorship on LinkedIn, Google Plus, and even Facebook.  Do a search and you will find your Google Plus authorship for your content is vital. This includes telling Google other places where your content appears.  While there is no grading system in place yet, understanding whose content is thought of as authoritative is crucial. Those social authorities are ones you should reach out to and engage in conversation with.

Treat Link Building like Networking

Hummingbird is different than the previous two updates (Penguin and Panda).  The first two updates were intended to prevent companies from spamming the search engine with repetitive content, spammy links, or a combination of both.  Whether you agree with it or not this update is a sophisticated update which makes it harder to create a quick fix for your rankings. You have to put in quality time building quality in depth content, and build quality relationships through social media, guest blogging, and other forms of social engagement. So what that means is you better get good at writing high quality content, know where to share this quality content (link building), and building authoritative relationships with people that Google thinks matter.

It is coming full circle to your traditional form of networking because that’s what it is.

Keyword Not Provided Is Pissing People Off

Take a look at your analytics and you will see that a majority of your traffic is coming from “not provided”.  Site owners years ago allowed Google to crawl your website and in return Google returned information like: who is visiting your website, why are they visiting, what pages do they like, ext. If you take a look in your analytics these days you will find “keyword not provided” when looking what terms people typed in to stumble upon your website.

There are rumors that Google may find a way to sell back this data to you through some sort of “premium” analytical services, but don’t be surprised to see a new service pop up to fill this gap. Unfortunately this is the only phase that is SEO isn’t evolving its back tracking.

How to Regain Your Rankings Post Google Hummingbird Update
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