Opinion

Will the long tail of Hummingbird affect our keyword campaigns?

4 min read

20 October 2013

The hummingbird may be one of the smallest of birds, but Google’s Hummingbird just might be the biggest change in years to what we do; it’s certainly Google’s biggest update in a long time.

I appreciate that may be a little over dramatic; after all, it’s not the flying car and it won’t end world hunger. As SEO consultants and ecommerce retailers though, we need to know what this means for us and how to be ‘Hummingbird-ready’.

First of all, it’s important to understand who needs to know about this. Google launched Hummingbird a month before announcing it, and no-one noticed. So, is it that big a change? Well, yes is the answer. Google didn’t want people to notice, but it’s a complete top to bottom rebuild of its algorithms and how results are both collected and displayed.

It’s about context

For Google, this is all about context, and knowing exactly what it is that someone is searching for. For example, type in, “Will I need an umbrella today?” Searching for this in Bing, brings back a lot of websites based around the term “umbrella today”. A Google search offers up a local weather forecast. Google now understands the context of one’s search… try for yourself!

So, what does this mean for SEO? In truth, not a lot; Google insists that this won’t need to change anyone’s current SEO strategy and won’t affect what we’re doing. However, I believe it is a reminder that having a campaign of low competition keywords is more important than ever.

Long tail searches

Hummingbird is concentrating on understanding long tail keywords which will generally be questions or statements. Although Google’s clever system will understand these as questions, we can help it along by creating targeted blog posts and custom content to improve ranking under this new algorithm. My advice for low competition keywords remains the same:

1) Understand your content 

Don’t change things that don’t need changing and don’t try to use long tail keywords unnecessarily. Google will understand the content and context of your products based on the keywords you use. You could actually damage your chances of being found by Hummingbird by using keywords that complicate things.

2) Use a keyword tool and Google Instant 

Use a keyword tool like Wordtracker to find the low competition keywords for your industry and then try searching for various things on Google. Google Instant (where it suggests the end of your search query for you) will give you an idea of popular search terms and what people are looking for.

3) Blog 

Blogs are great ways to get low competition keywords onto your site, as well as providing interesting and shareable content. You can also answer those questions that people will be searching Google for.

4) Be social 

This may not be anything to do with a low competition keyword campaign, per se, but it will help you increase your reputation in the eyes of Google, and provide you an output to share your content and increase traffic.

Hummingbird gets its name because these birds are fast and accurate and when that translates to search, it’s a great thing. Concentrate on making sure your content uses the right keywords, as well as using the low competition words to drive your blog posts and soon , like a hummingbird, you will be flying (but sadly not yet in a flying car!).

Tim Pritchard is the SEO specialist at ecommerce software supplier, SellerDeck 

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