Last Updated on August 5, 2020
Writing for Search Intent
Artificial intelligence is creeping into search. The SEO world changed last September with Google’s Hummingbird algorithm release. Gone are the days of keyword stuffing. Say hello to search intent. Hummingbird content now incorporates intent rather than simple keyword matches. In the post I’ll explain how a non-bear and tiny bird changed how we approach content marketing forever.
Panda Penalizes Mediocre Content
Panda refers to part of Google’s algorithm that targeted spammy content. Websites that cranked out mediocre and keyword-stuffed articles and posts were hit. Their organic rankings were demoted in favor of sites that followed quality guidelines: frequent publishing of readable and share-worthy content.
Towards the end of 2013 Matt Cutts (head of Webspam at Google) announced that Panda updates were integrated into normal indexing process. Translation: special Panda updates are no longer necessary as the worst offenders had been spanked; Panda is now part of the routine tweaks to algorithm.
Matt also recently commented on the death of guest blogging as a content marketing strategy. Guest blogging tried to combine the ease of having others create content with link building. Google officially put the kibosh on this tactic. If you do engage in guest blogging, proceed very carefully.
A Nimble & Tiny Bird
Hummingbird — named for its precise and speedy way of flying and hovering – was released in September 2013. Search is evolving, especially as it relates to voice recognition. Google search features integration with a microphone — for smartphones, tablets and desktops. Humans naturally ask questions, and Hummingbird content answers those questions. Hummingbird content reflects natural words and synonyms.
So how do you capitalize on this evolution? I’m glad you asked. Please read on…
Tips for Writing Hummingbird Content
Great Hummingbird content is interesting, relevant and focused. It engages your reader so they stay longer on your website. It helps with statistics like low bounce rate and high page views.
1. A Content Marketing Plan
According to time management guru and author Alan Lakein, “failing to plan is planning to fail.” Hummingbird content is all about quality. It takes time to develop quality articles. It also takes effort to map out content to the right place on your website.
That’s why I highly recommend using an editorial calendar or other planning tool. It will help you focus on your audience and the questions they ask. Then your well researched and crafted Hummingbird content can swoop in and answer it… and then your visitors follow those fluttering wings to the next desired action (aka Call to Action).
2. Creativity Counts
Once you’ve outlined and planned out your Hummingbird content, it’s now time to get creative. We humans appreciate uniqueness. Is your content a regurgitation of other stuff on your website? Or, does it add a new spin on things? Is the information current or woefully out of date? Of course, creativity is subjective. The tip here is to be mindful and respectful of your audience… and deliver what they want and need using your brand’s voice to entertain them.
3. Quantitative Quality
Let’s face it. We’ve become very jaded. Billions of questions are asked of Google search algorithm every day. We know that not everything on the Web is created equal. Sadly, there’s a lot content that doesn’t add any value. Hummingbird content provides quality with quantitative proof. Your readers will appreciate that you’ve done the leg work, finding credible resources and quoting accurate statistics.
I’m sure Google is cooking up more changes to their algorithm. What do you think the next change to Hummingbird content will be?