Why Google’s hummingbird release changed the way companies conduct SEO
On September 26th 2018 Google announced their biggest search engine code change in 10 years, called “hummingbird”. The purpose of this update is to keep in-tact the quality of the link building process while improving the quality of search related content. This update was targeted at eliminating bad search practices, like spamming, duplicate content, plagiarism, paid link building, automated elements (link building, guest blogging, forum blog commenting, etc.) It has been predicted that this code change will affect almost 90% of searches, almost 20 million websites, and ALL OFF-page link building activities from those sites.
The good news is that Google results are now all about quality, not quantity. So competitors that are doing 100’s or 1000’s of link submissions are now penalized by Google rather than rewarded. This presents an opportunity as well as a required change in how companies do SEO.
What does this change mean to you? Five steps to take
1. To begin with focus on fresh, unique content (blogs, web page updates, videos & social media integration). Content is still kind, but understanding how the content is optimized for SEO and integrates with other communication methods, is crucial.
2. Keyword prioritization has now shifted to phrases, rather than individual words, that best describe a service, product or business. Phrases will now be displayed higher than individual keywords. This also means that short, generic keywords that are too broad will now loose their rankings.
3. Focus on content oriented link building with higher quality links (20-50 per month) rather than quantity of backlinks. This works best with Google, local business listings, directory submissions, social bookmarking, Squidoo lens creation, hub pages, & document / presentation / video sharing.
4. Website optimization with keyword phrase based metadata, image optimization, and keyword focused content will also help you rankings.
And finally, the fifth action to take now
Evaluate your current search, content and social media methods to determine if they are working and how to better optimize your time and money in these areas. Then look at the agency you are using to know if they are using these latest techniques or if they are still in “pre-hummingbird” mode.
If they are, you have another action to take…find another SEO firm.