Sensationalists love to proclaim SEO is dead, nothing can be further from the truth. That type of headlines are used in many industries to take attention away from a leading service into a less competitive product. SEO is dead articles are a buck a dozen and every now and then (about 2 or 3 times a month) someone writes one of those. Every time Google announces a change, they pop up like popcorn, in fact, right now the latest buzz is Google Hummingbird update.
Well, I have news for all those people, SEO alive and thriving. For those who think that optimizing for search engines is just creating registrations in directories, improving keyword density and article submission, SEO is definitively and positively dead. Worst are those guys who use automatic tools to make submissions and create incoming links, for those guys it was a myth.
Search engine optimization goes with search engine rankings as white on rice, as long as there are search engines ranking web pages, SEO will still exist. It is just a matter of doing it right and the right thing changes a lot all the time. Let’s do a quick overview of what works now with Hummingbird.
What is Hummingbird?
Google launches these algorithm (the ranking calculation procedure) updates every now and then, in fact, there have been 27 of these updates since Google’s birth in 1998. Last year Penguin and Panda were all the rage as these destroyed rankings for websites that had abused the system and it turned out that there were way too many badly optimized sites. Ours were not affected, in fact, most had some boost to ranking, which means we are doing something right.
But what is the Google Hummingbird update? This new algorithm uses more complex search queries and has a better understanding of human language. In other words, every update Google makes, is to try and have the algorithm predict what people really want to find to ensure that the websites and pages shown are what is really being searched for. With every update, Google has gone from taking the most common word or phrase, to now understanding synonyms, related concepts and even phrasing a bit better. It is not perfect and may never be, but it does get more and more complex and more and more precise.
Hummingbird was launched to improve voice search. Voice search requires a more organic understanding of concepts and speech, this is why this update was necessary as users get frustrated when they ask their phones or tablets for one thing and get a completely different answer. So, how does this affect search engine optimization efforts now?
Keywords, keyphrases, relevance
Keywords and keyphrases are still a base concept in SEO. However, some time ago people talked a lot about keyword density as one of the greatest things to be done for positioning a website. That meant to repeat a word or set of words in your content so that these would be about 5% to 10% of your total copy. This is no longer useful. Any ‘guru’ talking about keyword density is living in the past and may end up gaining a heavy penalty from Google, which means essentially disappearing from search results.
History is a better indicator. If a website has published quality content for a particular subject in the past, then that website is more relevant than others who haven’t. What is quality content? More to the case, what does Google appreciate as quality?
A highly recommended read is the Google Search Engine Optimization guide to understand this. It is about writing content related to your main subject and properly creating a structure that makes sense to the subject matter. It is not just thinking about separate pages un-related to each other, but anyone interested in promoting their website needs to think in a more holistic way. All content needs to be related and be quality driven, pretty simple. As Google puts it, “If it’s good for the user, it’s good for Google.”
Was your website pushed down from rankings recently?
A professional search engine optimization campaign may be more complicated than you imagined. If you have been doing SEO for your website for a while and all was good, but your website was pushed down for no apparent reason, at SearchEngineOp we are experts, if you are in need of some help,feel free to contact us.
‘Gurus’ are fairly common, SEO experts, not so much.