On Thursday 26th of September Google celebrated their 15th Birthday  with a Happy Birthday Google doodle on Google search and coincidentally that same day, they made an announcement about their algorithm which they have updated and named ‘hummingbird’. This is something that has already taken effect since about a month ago.  As Google like to do, they have kept it a secret and just announced it without giving too much detail.  Apparently it wasn’t much of a shake up like Panda or Penguin but this update is just a way of improving conversational search.

Conversational Search

So when searching a lot of people have started using conversational searches instead of just short term phrases.

For example looking at the screenshot below (I tried this search out on Google Trends) and discovered that more searches for terms such as ‘How to fix a car’ instead of shorter terms such as car fixing and mechanical tips. This means two things to me; the search engines are a lot smarter than they were years ago and people have started to realise this and more people like to be specific with their search queries

conversationalsearch

What does this mean for SEO Practitioners?

Ethical SEO has never been ever more important than it is now.  That means no more phoney ways of getting links and even practising SEO. It does not mean that SEO is dead! With advances such as people searching on their mobile (where you can search by speaking into your phone),  longer tailed searching is getting even more popular.  Google therefore want to show more precise data and here is where content marketing plays a huge role.

I do not need to go into the details of content marketing, as I have already done so before; however I will like to add that ensuring that anchor texts are more precise is a good idea. It would therefore be a good idea to go for longer tailed anchor texts rather than shorter tailed ones.

Content marketing efforts should now include tactics such as being conversational in an effort to engage readers further.  So the sites that will be ranking well on Google with have updated content that people will usually want to read everyday. A great way to ensure this is done successfully is revamping old content..  mentioning them in relevant new posts and adding new things that will be beneficial to readers today rather than last year. If you do have information that is relevant to last year update it and state that the content has been updated to include factors for this year.  Find out more about how to do this by reading an article on Moz.  

Furthermore some of the points I have mentioned have been summarised in the following tweets;  

Did you notice anything spectacular with the hummingbird Google Update? Feel free to voice out your thoughts on it in the comments below. Thanks for reading.

By Ibukun Sodipe