Google’s Hummingbird produces BAD BUZZ for search world but Fair Marketing still on NATURAL HIGH
By Roger Janik – CEO of Fair Marketing
What is the Hummingbird update?
On September 26th, Google, Inc. made an announcement that they quietly (mostly in secret) released a monumental update over a month ago to its search engine with the name of Hummingbird. Why the name? Because Hummingbirds are fast and precise of course. This update is not a typical algorithm update – it completely replaces its current engine but still utilizes some of its older features and algorithms such as the Penguin and Panda updates.
How does the Hummingbird engine affect search results?
The Hummingbird update basically changes the way Google interprets search queries and how it produces search results based on those queries. The main difference is that Google’s complex set of algorithms can now interpret and understand longer sets of keyword strings – specifically longer keyword groupings that are in the form of a question. This update is another step closer to building the ultimate Knowledge Graph that Google has already begun to roll out.
Why? Google has noticed a major upward trend in people searching with a question rather than using individual keywords and keyword phrases. By using voice recognition software such as Google Now and Siri, people now can easily ask a question which is then auto-populated into Google search bar.
Another reason for the Hummingbird release is to take a step closer in truly understanding more complex verbiage and queries and the ability to match them to appropriate web pages that answer these queries.
What does this mean for SEO?
For almost a year now, Google has been hinting that web pages should focus on “good utility” meaning that a web page should always answer the end-users intent. (read below how Fair Marketing has been proactive on this). On November 2, 2012 Google released the Search Quality Rating Guidelines handbook to the public. This is the guide that Google’s Quality Raters use when evaluating search results and then report back to Google (so Google “may” adjust their algorithms to perform more efficiently). It is important to note that this guide was a good hint and insight into what Google wanted in regards to quality content and specifically in regards to ‘good utility’ and in answering the users question. On page 6 of this guide Google states:
What does this mean for SEO? This basically means that your onsite optimization efforts need to focus heavily on “good utility” and answer the user’s intent. The best way to do this is to post the most popular questions and answers on your SEO landing pages in an effort to draw in more search traffic (and yes, increase the rankings of your landing pages).
Also take note that it is no longer as important to over-obsess on individual keyword performance (in regards to ranking and traffic). What is more important now is to look at the bigger picture and view rank indexes, or groups of keyword phrase and questions that are ranking for your SEO landing pages. Read how Fair Marketing has already begun reporting on rank indexes and landing page performance. The best way to view ALL of the keyword ranking for your SEO landing pages (the rank index) is by logging into Google Webmaster Tools:
There are also great tools available to the public to help find the most popular questions that people are searching for. One that Fair Marketing uses and recommends is Zenya.com. Within Zenya you may even sort questions based on user intent and question terms:
What does this mean for my online business?
If your business relies on customers coming directly to you for answers, you may be in a bit of trouble. In some cases, Google will give the answer to your question directly without the need for the user to click through to your website. Websites like Wikipedia, Ask, Quora, and Anwers may be affected.
For example, if you go to Google.com and search for “Who was the first President?” you will see the following:
Hummingbird will not affect most businesses, BUT if they want to ensure top listings (rankings) then it will be very beneficial to add popular questions and answers to their SEO web pages. This shows they are an authority within their industry and are relevant to Google’s searchers. By focusing on good utility and user intent, you will be on the righteous path to success and swat the Hummingbird down.
What is Fair Marketing doing about this?
Fairmarketing is far ahead of the curve on this update. After reading the Google Raters Guide (noted above) and many interviews with top Google execs, we decided to drastically change all of our SEO landing pages to a fairmarketing format we call Buyer Intent Pages (BIPs) which are written in a Q&A format and indeed answer the end-users most popular questions. fairmarketing clients that have come on board with us in the past several months already have these types of pages. We will also begin to slowly rollout this updated format for long-term clients as well.
Overall we have not seen SEO performance go down for our clients since we have already made the necessary changes prior to this update.
In addition to creating pages that focus on answering complex questions and match the Humming bird update, we also ensure the top questions are placed on our clients home page and link back to their dedicate BIPs and onsite blog.
We’ve also recently changed our monthly performance reports to display the “big picture” and overall performance by showing our clients’ overall category rankings (instead individual keywords) using rank indexes mentioned above, landing page traffic increases, lead counts, cost per lead and return on investment.
Sample of monthly performance report sent to client’s inbox from fairmarketing
|upSEARCH™ Content Marketing Performance –August 2013|
Cost Per Lead
|upCLICK™ Paid Placement Performance – August 2013|
PPC Ad Clicks
Cost Per Conversion
|upSOCIAL™ Social Media Performance – August 2013|
Ask Your FAIR Strategist About Our upSOCIAL Program!
Sample of category ranking report sent to client’s inbox from SSD
By keeping up with the latest search trends we are very pleased to say we have already defeated the Hummingbird before she ever took flight!
Roger Janik – The FAIR Marketers