The latest change to Google’s frequently evolving algorithm is known as Hummingbird and it means that the search engine is now smarter than ever In determining searcher intent and identifying the genuine, quality content that queries deserve.
So what does this mean for content marketing? Here are 5 of the key takeouts:
Find your niche
Writing in The Telegraph, Gerry Brown reports that Hummingbird ‘should enable small and niche website providers to gain a higher page ranking when a precise and complex search phrase is used.’ This is expected to create more of a ‘level playing field’ for those targeting a specific niche.
The takeout for marketers is to hone in on a particular subject area instead of churning out generic content.
Again from the Telegraph: ‘Hummingbird will more greatly consider question words like “how” “why”, “where” and “when” in search phrases, in addition to content keywords. Hence Hummingbird moves the emphasis of search from “results” to “answers”.’
This means that Q&A-style content that addresses the specific questions that your customers have about your products and services could pay dividends.
Optimise for customers, not keywords
In a recent piece on Search Engine Roundtable, Barry Schwartz hints that Hummingbird means that marketers should shift their focus from keyword optimisation to customer-focused content: ‘Don’t optimize for keywords, optimize for a satisfied customer from stage one of the buying cycle to the end.’
This further reinforces the message that Google has consistently pushed – create quality content that is focused on users first and foremost.
Be more creative
Paul Hill of The Wall Blog urges marketers to think beyond the obvious when it comes to content: “Good content can take any form, whether a short video clip, graphic, ebook or whitepaper. It doesn’t just have to be the written word. The form should fit the content.”
Marketers increasingly need to be more creative about the types of content that they are creating and not just stick to ‘safe’ media such as blogs.
Stop ‘trendjacking’, start being evergreen
Remember that annoying Harlem Shake fad earlier in the year? This may have been a great way for content marketers to get some easy links, but post-Hummingbird, it just won’t cut it. As Paul Hill comments about the recent fad of ‘Twerking’: ‘A twerking clip might generate brand awareness. It might prompt referral traffic or social shares. But if that content is on your website, will it influence Google rankings in future?’ The answer to this is no.
The focus now should be on producing evergreen content that will deliver lasting value for users.
Martin Harrison is co-founder of the content marketing service, Copify.Author's Google+