The age of Semantic Search.
The new Google Bots :
Google buys UK artificial intelligence startup Deepmind for £400m Google makes its biggest EU purchase yet with the technology that aims to make computers think like humans
Google Voice Search(also known as Search by Voice), Apple’s Siri, Window’s Cortana, all signs point to a market shift with more and more users expecting ease of use in all things. Nothing could improve our digital/physical lives more than a more intelligent AI.
Control the path to content & you control the web. Just like mobile overtaking desktop in usage we are approaching a time when voice search/query usage will overtake type/text search in the near future. The race for the first personalized intelligent AI is on.
If you have some time browse through Google’s Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning notice a trend? Now that you have indulged my theories let’s move on…
Are panda & penguin more important updates?
Panda and Penguin both are updates to the old platform(algorithm), where as Hummingbird is a completely new platform. Don’t freak out. The new engine from Google was up and running an entire month before their announcement.
No major ranking shift(s) have been reported as of now, that is not to say there won’t be in the near future. There’s a great FAQ & Hummingbird Unleashed from Search Engine Land & Moz, if you would like to get some basic perspective on how the mainstream SEO crowd is reacting.
Making Google history…
This marks the single largest change in how Google assigns value to websites since 2001. You might be thinking what about Caffeine?! Well Caffeine was an infrastructure change not a change in the algorithm.
Hummingbird — Google says — is a new engine built on both existing and new parts, organized in a way to especially serve the search demands of today, rather than one created for the needs of ten years ago, with the technologies back then. – searchengineland.com
Intelligent content insights. Quality or die.
One of the stated goals of Google’s Hummingbird platform is to better understand content. If your business needs depend heavily on online conversions, it’s time to start paying attention to user metrics. Content and the placement there of is paramount to capturing an organic audience for conversion.
User Metrics reign supreme.
- How comparable can your user query terms / referral anchor & content be to the destination content?
- Exit %. Bounce Rate. Avg Time on Site / Page. This should always be at the top of your thinking.
- Do you have a Heatmap? Don’t know about them? Check out this article from moz on analytics + heatmap.
- Does your content seek to inform or simply promote. Nothing wrong with either that I know of as it relates to SEO, but this speaks to the scope of Hummingbird.
- How much does this content help users once they’re onpage.
- Is your content remarkable?
- Do your audience feel the need to start a conversation based on the scope of the content.
- Original / Unique
- Sourced content vs. Unique content : ratio
- Horizontal? ( broad… ie Cars )
- Vertical? ( specific… ie Cars > Manufacturers > Ford Motor Company > Mustang Shelby GT 500 > Engine > Performance Comparison > MPG > City vs Highway )
- If your audience was only allowed one resource for this content, would yours be selected?
“As the ancients Say wisely, have a care o’ th’ main chance,
And look before you ere you leap;
For as you sow, ye are like to reap.” – Samuel Butler Canto II, line 501.
One of the most beneficial things you can do for content is research. The more you know, the more accurately you can inform an audience. Ask questions, get to know the thought process of existing users & why they made previous conversions. Anything that can lend you insights into your target audience can go a long way. Below is a good video to hopefully explain some of our biology & how it affects behavior.
Before taking a stance on any one strategy it’s a good rule of thumb to find several resources on that audience before digging in.
“Change almost never fails because it’s too early. It almost always fails because it’s too late.” – Seth Godin.
Don’t get stuck in the conceptual & thinking phases just keep moving forward, put something on paper. Map an outline with clear goals & target conversion path, include reasoning for each. Publishing more content doesn’t always equate to more traffic / conversions, make sure it’s vertical( can be horizontal if you want but most likely you want a specific target audience ) content type.
Hummingbird strives to help with entities search as well, althought adoption is low to Schema as well. Other types of structured data standards are broadly ignored in favor of more streamlined approaches.
Hummingbird may not affect you now, but every inch you fall behind will add up. If Google has taught us anything post Panda+Penguin it’s that everything changes, constantly move forward or suffer the back of the line. I sincerely hope this has helped you better understand Google’s Hummingbird platform & SEO / Marketing best practices in general.
I won’t likely write Part 3 in this series until next month, as I have a few other topics SEO related I’d like to cover before then. That gives me more time to data mine for Hummingbird Insights before continuing this series as well.