The Evolution of Search and UAW
Over the past several months, Google has made several major changes to its search engine, one of which is the largest change since 2001… Hummingbird. For those of you who want a breakdown of what the Patent is all about, check out Bill Slawski – SEO by the Sea
If Pandas and Penguins weren’t enough for online businesses, marketers and SEO’s to contend with, now we must consider the way in which we market our properties. This announcement was quietly released over a month ago but was only recently officially announced at their 15th birthday party however there wasn’t much noise about it online and people didn’t really see a noticeable difference when using Google.
90% of all online searches are affected by this update… and many industry experts were left still reeling from the recent Penguin 2.1 update, it was a great move by Google, they didn’t want to draw attention to a fundamental algorithm change , it wasn’t all about the Penguin 2.1 update.
No one noticed… hardly anyone is talking about it. Now that makes Google extremely happy.
With the 1000’s of algorithm updates we have experienced over the past many years, the previous updates have been focused on reducing spam, site and quality metrics and they are getting better at doing so but they still have a long way to go. For example: they have been focusing on spam tactics like blog and forum commenting which as we know, done spammily, these links could be toxic for your rankings but still we see spam commenting not slowing down as of yet.
Google is getting much better at learning what you really want when searching, in a more spoken way, like you called your friend asking them to answer a question for you. A more conversational approach to search. This is focused on longtail keywords, sentences, related words and phrases, context. They are trying to understand your intent and match results to this in a more meaningful, relevant way with better quality answers to your queries.
Conversational Search means that most people will not see or even notice a change in their results for short keywords but for longtail keywords and question queries, Google will provide better answers. For example, if a person searches for “gas stations near my house”, before, Google would look and analyze each word then provide results based on that which would result in results that are mixed up with maps that would be based on your location, an article about a new gas station in your city, a Wikipedia article on Gas Stations or even websites that are focused on home gas delivery services. Hummingbird changes this. The results are much more personalized, even more so when logged into Google+.
Just think of how many smart phones there are in the world… and when people are driving, they can’t type so they are now using voice search more frequently while in transit. Using voice search, we do not search the way we type, we use conversational questions as if we were talking to a person. Voice search is growing in use and Google is leading the movement.
Conversational Search is why Hummingbird is here to stay, its time to adapt, diversify and expand your online marketing to a more Conversational Search Marketing way.
Here are some tips on what you can do to improve and take a fresh approach to the new age of search:
Ensure that your website and blog have social media accounts up and running at least have a Twitter account its low maintenance, consider setting up a Facebook page that you can post your blog posts and messaging to, its pretty easy to set up and manage. People will pick up on your content, they will follow you and search loves it. There are many free and paid tools to manage your social messaging. Try some out and see which one best matches your objectives.
Search is connecting persona’s more today than ever before with author authority, author rank, trust and influence playing an ever increasing role in ranking metrics.
Sharing of your new content posts, greatly decreases indexing time by Google.
Content That Answers
Create articles and blog posts that are tightly related to your niche. Stay on theme when you are writing and creating content for your readers, not just search When your content is viewed as a whole, combined with the various meaning/context of your content, it helps to show your site is of importance and relevant to search(ers).
Keyword stuffing is a no no but using related keywords throughout your articles, blog posts and social messaging is great to start building niche authority semantically.
Secure your Social Identities
Search Engines look at more social networks than just the core group, there are 100’s of social networks, many that are niche related to your website. If you have a social profile (brand or author) on these networks, this further enhances your visibility to Google, Bing and Yahoo!.
Guest Blog Posting
When you are guest blogging, your content needs to match the niche that it is being posted to. This will help ensure that the overall relatedness of your site, content and supporting backlink align. Uniqueness and quality are important factors when Google looks at your content and author profiles. Each posted content needs to get validating social signals (shares, likes, tweets, retweets) so that Google will index the content quicker as they are looking for validation that your content deserves their attention.
I also suggest that you have a nice author bio box for the end of your posts, kinda like the one at the bottom of this post
Brand and Author Authority is becoming more important indicators for search engines so much so that Bing just announced its partnership with Klout. Now, Klout isn’t the best measurement, its really not that strong of an indicator however they have a large user and data set, its better than not having anything at all. Having your online persona’s visible to Google is important, they want to find you, map you, see who your connected to etc. basically think of a link map only now replace that with your persona connections.
On Page SEO
Have a review of your site to ensure that you are not Over Optimized. An example of this would be if you used your keyword in your title, H1, H2, H3 and all throughout your content, Google doesn’t like this. Ensure that you have a mobile friendly site which includes optimizing your images for fast loading. If you are linking to other pages, use the rel=canonical tag to tell search engines that content is duplicate which means you won’t get dinged by a duplicate content penalty.
By making these changes to the way you tweak and market your website, you are now one step closer to climbing to the top of the ranks!