Flying with Google's Hummingbird
It's time to evaluate your SEO plans.
In my last article “Google’s Hummingbird Aims to Think Like You” I gave an overview of the new search engine named Hummingbird now in use by Google. There are two important points to keep in mind about the new search algorithm. First, Google’s search is now looking at the meaning of your search words and is not as focused on finding a match for the individual words. Second, Google has now become your competitor in the world of search engine optimization (SEO) as it now displays information on the search page. Given these two points, every business needs to evaluate their SEO plans and take stock of the content on their website and other online media.
Understand “long tail keywords.”
The term “long tail keyword” refers to an internet search that is composed of several words that create a very specific phrase. They are often formed as questions, for example “where can I rent and outdoor tent in Columbus, Ohio” or “can I mix acrylic paints with watercolors.” Because they are so specific, long tail keyword searches have a lower volume than more general keywords like “outdoor tent” or “acrylic paint.” But, it is easier for you to rank higher with a long tail keyword than with the more widely used and competitive general term. Also, when someone is searching using long tail keywords, they probably have an immediate need to solve a problem or find a product. That makes it is very likely they are going to take action when they find the product or solution they are looking for.
There are tools to help.
It is important to use long tail keywords within your website content in a way that search engines and your website visitors can easily find them. The goal is to know what people are searching for so your website can provide them with useful content. There are many online tools available to help you.
Google’s Keyword Planner Tool is free and can help you with your content and keyword research. There are also paid keyword tools like Wordtracker and WordStream that will help by providing information on what terms people are actually using in their searches. They both offer a free trial period option and several levels of paid subscriptions.
Once you are publishing quality content to your website you can track your results using a website analytics tool. Google Analytics is another free tool from Google.
Content remains king.
Google’s new algorithm can provide you with more opportunities to be competitive in the world of search. Google’s new approach focuses on well written and informative content, which your website can provide if you choose to invest in that effort. This will require creating more pages of content that are geared toward answering your web audience’s questions and publishing new and original content. You’ll want to have as wide a variety of topics as makes sense for your business. Knowing your audience and understanding what they need will help you fine tune your focus. A larger volume of content on your website creates more pages that can be entry points for bringing people into your website. Quality content that is relevant and timely continues to be an effective approach to search engine optimization.
Here are several website content items that can be effective.
• online video
• how-to pages with informative content
• question and answer section
• product reviews
• industry research
Fresh content is a challenge.
Obviously, all of this new and relevant content poses a challenge for your business. Who in your company will provide this content on an ongoing basis? Perhaps you have a staff member that is a good writer, if so, you will need to give them the time to add this responsibility to their work day. You might share this task among several people, perhaps each one being the expert in a specific area. You can also consider hiring a writer for your website content, although it can be a challenge to find someone that understands your industry. While providing a steady stream of interesting content seems daunting, I encourage you to find a method that allows you to publish fresh content regularly. Start small and be consistent.
Know if your website traffic is converting.
In addition to monitoring how well your website is doing in search and managing the terms that bring people to your website, you should also be tracking the results of your efforts. If you are doing a good job with your website content and your search words are ranking well, the next step is to be sure they are converting traffic in the way that you intended. Lots of website traffic is great, but you want some of those visitors converting into customers.