If you are at all familiar with the world of search engine optimization (SEO), then it is likely that you understand a little bit about search engines. Google is the most popular search engine and more people get their search results from Google than anywhere else. Of course, this means Google is wildly important for any website’s SEO efforts. Plugging in the right keywords into the content on your page has historically been enough to ensure that your site appears high on any relevant Google searches. For instance, if you had content on your site with keywords like “El Paso plumber,” then anyone looking for a plumber in El Paso would likely come across your site.
That was largely because Google’s search algorithms (with pseudonyms like Panda and Penguin) had prioritized content that was keyword-rich and was linked to from other websites. With the release of Google Hummingbird (the search engine’s most recent algorithm) in 2013, content creators have had to change the way they do business. Simply adding in a few keywords is no longer enough to get skyrocketed to the top of a Google searches. In fact, after the release of Google Hummingbird, it was estimated that 90% of websites saw a drop in their search rankings. This is mostly because Hummingbird no longer prioritizes specific keywords and instead searches for high quality content that people will find informative.
Instead, the new algorithm focuses on queries phrased as questions. More and more people (especially mobile users) are making search queries in the form of a question. For instance, one search query might read “Where’s the best plumber in El Paso?” rather than “El Paso plumber.” So, Google has shifted their focus toward a more “mobile-friendly” search algorithm. But what happens to content that was geared toward the old Google algorithms? And, how can you get articles that conform to Google Hummingbird on your website?
In large part, most of the old, keyword-rich content is being struck down by Google. If you used to write your own content, then you are likely seeing your search rankings plummet. Your content needs to focus less on including keywords and more on being genuinely helpful, interesting, and relevant. It also might help to get a professional content writer on your team. Articles that conform to Google Hummingbird are not easy to write because the algorithm is so picky. Even if you write a decent article, it may be sacked by Google’s new algorithm for including too many keywords. You could also potentially receive a Google Penalty if you continuously post irrelevant content with irrelevant links.
While Google has noted that this change in search algorithms is all about getting the best content to its users, others have noted that Google stands to benefit from this in different ways. Indeed, it has been suggested that Google is working toward a way to prioritize paid advertising in their search engine rather than earning high rankings in a traditional way. For example, if it’s too difficult to get your website listed in the top rankings for relevant searches, then you may opt for paying Google to place you higher on the list. Of course, many others are saying that SEO isn’t dead and all you really need is the right writer to get you listed high on relevant Google searches.