Sunday, February 16, 2014

Hummingbird Apocalypse and Keyword Research

Google recently released the Hummingbird update, which changes the search algorithm in such a way that it down prioritizes keyword blocks in favor of related words occurring within the same context. You can say that the search algorithm got a bit smarter by understanding the context of the content, not just the actual words that it contains. 

This is bad news, however, for a lot of SEO practitioners out there. A huge chunk of the current SEO strategy is to rely heavily on carefully inserted or included keywords in:

•    URL’s
•    Articles
•    Text labels and content
•    Blog posts

So now that Hummingbird is released, how do you manage?

Alternate Keyword Data Sources

Along with the update of the search algorithm is the disappearance of the Google keyword data set in Google Analytics. You cannot see which keywords bring the most traffic to your site. Keywords are still important but they are not so central in the SEO game anymore.

Thankfully, there are alternate keyword data sources that you can still use, such as:

•    Everyday Conversation
•    Keyword Cloud Tools
•    PPC Campaign Planner
•    WordTracker

Remember that keyword use is just one of many ways you can bring more traffic into your site. In fact, you should change the way you think when it comes to bringing in traffic. You should rather ask yourself: How can I make my users see more of my content?

Make use of your qualifiers!

Make a list of your chosen keywords and make a word map of related terms or qualifiers. If you notice, Google also ranks high sites or sections of sites that have a lot of words related to one another. For example, if you are reselling women’s shoes, you might want to consider the following related terms:

•    Running
•    Work
•    Ballet flats
•    Pumps
•    Nike

And other related words such as:

•    Buy
•    Money back guarantee
•    Sizes
•    Free shipping
•    Ratings
•    Review
•    Customer feedback
•    wholesale

You can also try using synonyms of your chosen keywords, like in the example below:

•    Footwear
•    Slip-ons
•    Sling-backs
•    Sandals
•    Slippers
•    Boots

The important thing to remember is that Hummingbird was designed to get rid of keyword-stuffing as an SEO tactic. This just brings the wrong kind of information the user and is actually a disservice for everyone. So write your content as friendly and as informative as you can and your co-occurrence keywords will happen naturally. If not, try swapping your repeat mentions of the same keyword with it synonym. The thesaurus will be your best friend now!

Photo By: Searchengineland