“Seek, and ye shall find”

In our last article on SEO we touched upon what Google have done to “enrich users with valuable information”, introduced “Hummingbird”, and began to unravel how to match your content with what users actually type into their search engines. This time we’ll delve into these areas in a little more detail.

We thought the quote from the Bible (Matthew 7:7, just in case anyone wants to know) would be a good starting point, as surely that’s the whole point about searching on the internet! You search for something, and you find it. Ideally very quickly and easily and without multiple clicks (which means, on the first page, and preferably near the top). Turning that around, then, if you want your site to be found, that’s what you need to achieve.

But what do users actually type, and so what; and what is this “Hummingbird” we keep mentioning? Time for that delving …

What people type into search engines, why, and so what?

Well, clearly, they type what they’re looking for – don’t they? But how specific are they? Sit back for a minute and think about your own behaviour. How specific are you when you type in a search query? For example, would you type “fish bowls” or “where can I buy fish bowls on-line”? Does it make any difference? Go on, try it and see, with a few different examples …

We think you’ll get the point. In theory, the more specific you are, the better the results – which seems intuitive doesn’t it?

So what is Hummingbird?

Quite simply, it’s a search algorithm used by Google which launched in 2013. There has been lots of comment on it, and many people were concerned about the impact on classic SEO. They needn’t have worried – Hummingbird is good for the person searching and also good for the person (or company) wanting to be found, as its goal is about understanding “intent”, i.e. less “what are they looking for?” than “why are they looking for it?”. Google themselves said that: Hummingbird is paying more attention to each word in a query, ensuring that the whole query — the whole sentence or conversation or meaning — is taken into account.

So is SEO dead?

Absolutely not! It’s still all about getting your content right and keeping it up-to-date. Remember what we said last time?

  1. unique
  2. high quality
  3. valuable

Concentrate on these three areas, spend time thinking about each of them, about the message that you want to spread and how people will perceive it, and you’ll be on the right path.

So what does this all mean for me? I just want to get found!

Well, who better to ask than Google themselves? Their answer: “Don’t worry about Hummingbird, worry about preparing quality content.” And now we know what that is!

But I need specifics! All this sounds a little vague…

And that’s exactly what we’ll be covering in the next few articles! Next time we’ll be focussing our attention on the “7 characteristics of highly effective content”, so watch this space …