How to get the best from your website with Google’s Hummingbird algorithm

What is hummingbird and what’s all the fuss about?

Responsive_websites_important_for_HummingbirdHummingbird is the new way that Google organises organic searches so that people searching on the Internet can find what they want.

Previously, keywords were the key so websites spent time making sure that their websites would come up for all the variations of keywords for the business.

An example for a florist would be to have pages for:

  • spring floral bouquets under $50
  • spring flowers in a box
  • spring floral arrangements
  • spring flowers delivered to your home.

Hummingbird focuses on the context of the query rather than on a few keywords. The reason for the switch is to cater for the increase of Internet searches on mobile devices.

Smart phones and mobile devices continue to become smarter – they can access the Internet by you asking your device a question, they travel with you wherever you are, and they are now super fast when connecting to the Internet. It’s a no brainer that more people are using mobile devices to find what they want.

New ways for finding what you want on the Internet

Using_Siri_to_ask_questionsWith Siri on Apple devices and equivalents on android mobiles, the way people are searching is changing. Rather than typing in ‘Spring floral bouquet’ into a browser on your computer, the request might be via mobile phone request to Siri: ‘find me a florist with floral arrangements under $50’.

Hummingbird is about finding the results that answer the question rather than finding the websites with the most keywords. It’s a subtle difference perhaps. But many websites have dropped in their visitor numbers and page views because their content was developed for keyword searches.

Put simply, Google is moving from keyword searches to answering human questions.

What should web owners do to keep high traffic levels?

Even if you have dropped in traffic to your website but you still have good traffic, don’t panic. However, it is time to consider what changes can be made to bring your website back to previous numbers and continue to build your audience.

Many commentators agree that ‘content is still the most important part of your website’. Your website is about providing information to people so content is vitally important. If you have set up your content in the right way, written text well, metatagged all your data including text, images and other content, have URLs for each page that say what the page is about – all these things still matter. Continue to do exactly that. Doing the right thing by your visitors and metatagging so that everyone can understand your website is still absolutely important.

Key_structure_writing_for_HummingbirdGood writing is also still important. It’s back to basic good writing skills (rather than keyword jamming) with Hummingbird: answer the questions – who, what, when, where, why and how.

Keywords are important but more important is writing content that answers people’s questions.

What should you consider to improve your website?

If your website is running on an old version of a content management system, it needs to be updated to run on the latest version.

Make your website mobile friendly. If your website is not responsive, now is the time to make the change. Google is moving towards a mobile world because that’s where the action is so your website needs to be mobile friendly.

What is a responsive website?

It’s when a website adapts its size to the screen size: computer screen, iPad screen, mobile phone screen. Changing to a responsive website may mean a redesign and build or getting a web developer to adapt the current website for mobile.

Call Bold Type for a free assessment of your current website: Call Susie Stevens 0410 037 635.

5 tips to help improve your rankings now on Google?

1 Keep adding quality content to your website

Adding regular, good quality content to your news or blog – written to answer your customer’s questions – can make a vast difference. Try to post at least two articles a week.

Here’s an example of how to write your content in response to a question.

Questions
How do I find a web developer for my small business?
Find me someone who can write content for my website.

Answer
Your blog could have the headline: Building a website? We can write content that works to build customers.

Use images and infographics that show rather than tell. Make videos that answer questions your clients have.

Shorter articles are thought to work better than long-winded ones like this one.

Post_to_Social_MediaPost all new content on your social media channels for your business.

What will an active blog (or news) do for your website post Hummingbird?

It will:

  • help your website get indexed more frequently
  • establish authority and expertise and Google loves sites that show authority
  • provide content for social media
  • allow you to rank for more keywords
  • provide the freshness to a website that Google is looking for.

2 Add an FAQs page

This is ideal for answering customer queries and Google will love you for it. Write the questions that customers ask you about then answer the questions with clear, informative answers

3 Get active on Google

Google-youtube-google-plusGoogle loves Google so put content on Google sites such as YouTube and Google +.

Start a YouTube channel. Put up content.

Write news on your website then add the links from your news or blog to  your Google + business page for distribution in your Google + circles.

Authorship is important when linking your content to Google+.
See ‘Link to your Google+ profile using rel=“author” on support.google.com

4 Use long tail keywords

Long tail keywords is jargon for being more specific about what you are doing, selling, talking about.

Here is an example
‘Normal’ keyword = Cheap flights
‘Long tail’ keyword = Cheap flights to Barcelona Spain in 2014

4 Avoid trying to ‘fix’ existing pages

You can tweak your website to some degree, but don’t overdo it. It is better to work on the content you are uploading from now on.

Not the final word

Change is inevitable and Google will continue to change how they index and rank websites for the benefit of perople who are searching the Internet.

With Hummingbird, Google rewards better content rather than simply posting more content packed with keywords.
Think about what it is your customers want to know about, provide good, helpful information, not just about your product, but about related issues to your product.

If I am a skier (which I am) and I’m selling skis, I might have categories in my blog/news about

  • Preparing for your snow holiday
  • Exercises to prepare for your snow holiday
  • Snow safety tips.

It’s important that you get to know your prospective audience and really think about the improvements you are able to make to your content to reach and engage them.

Contact Bold Type for a free assessment of your website and how we can help you to boost your rankings and get more customers. Call Susie Stevens on 0410 037 635.