It’s not easy keeping up with Google these days. Constantly changing search algorithms (formulas for searching) make it difficult to execute search engine optimization (SEO) strategies.
With the last few algorithm updates, Google continues to move more and more towards rewarding quality content.
The latest major Google algorithm update, Hummingbird, goes a step further by looking for answers to questions. As web searching becomes more sophisticated, people are searching with questions, and Google wants to answer them.
What is Hummingbird?
Although there have been other algorithm updates in recent years, Hummingbird is an entirely new algorithm. Designed to be precise and fast like a hummingbird, the last change of this magnitude was in 2001. According to Google, Hummingbird is paying more attention to each word in a query, ensuring that the whole query – the whole sentence or conversation or meaning – is taken into account, rather than particular words. In other words, pages matching the meaning do better than pages matching just a few words.
How do you take advantage of this new algorithm?
If your website has lots of quality content already, it shouldn’t make a big difference in your rankings, but there are certainly things you can do to improve search results with Hummingbird in mind.
First and foremost, beef up your website’s content. Look for opportunities to add valuable content your prospects will be searching for. Adding questions to the website will help, but Google is more sophisticated than that. Google spiders crawl the entire web to look for the answer to a query, so having the answers to questions people might be searching for will boost results. Rather than look for a certain keyword or phrase, Google will search for the keyword in addition to other parameters of the question, like location.
When writing content for your website, try to anticipate questions people will be asking that your company can answer. Weave questions throughout your copy, like I have done in this article. Notice how each subhead is in the form of a question? Use a more conversational style of writing that asks and answers questions. Create a frequently asked questions (FAQ) page to answer questions your prospects are searching for.