Google is moving the goal posts, again. For years there was a major focus upon keywords and backlinks in order to get ranked in a search page result. But from October 2013, both article/directory backlinks and even keywords are becoming less important.
This is a hard lesson for most of us, since the time and effort spent around keywords often consumes those of us in the SEO ‘trade’. Dozens of website tools and software packages also have this keyword and backlink focus at their core. But Google always sets the rules and their latest changes, code-named hummingbird, will have dramatic effects over the coming years. Some good, some bad.
Google HummingBird Changes the Gameplan
We’re not an expert at this yet (who is?), so I have summarised what was recently posted on copyblogger that seems to sum up the changes at Google. Note this doesn’t mean we should now give up on linking or keywords totally. But it does mean we need to look at the bigger picture and adjust our search marketing / optimisation strategies in line with where Google is headed.
” …who you are will matter as much as what you create…”
Firstly, with Hummingbird, there is a real focus upon Semantic Search, being more about the users intent than a specific keyword focus. This is made easier with Google now relying more upon having people logged in whilst doing a search, letting them see your previous search attempts and hence figure out what you really want. Everyone’s search page will become way more personalised.
“… Instead of ranking for keywords, your goal is to build topical authority around a page and a site, and drive traffic to that page and site so that Google can deliver curated, validated, and verified pages. It’s about building brand authority, which is why who you are matters as much as what you create…”
Don’t Overlook Google+
The Google+ and authorship toolsets are a big part of this and to date, few of us have this sorted out for our clients. Google+ has been largely overlooked by developers and SEO experts, even though latest research tells us it should be central to any website build and SEO strategy.
But those who are prepared to listen and learn of these changes, will get a real boost over their competitors still pushing back-linking and keywords alone strategy. Those who run a nicely focused blogsite, posting relevant content on a regular basis will be the early beneficiaries of hummingbird. Those with standard static brochure websites will continue to fall away, seldom seen in any search result.
Marketing Graduates Can Rejoice
It’s all about becoming more proactive and having a good online marketing strategy in place. Google’s timing is perfect too. Tertiary schools are producing loads of marketing graduates looking for work. Most of them really sucked at understanding ‘SEO’ since it was poorly taught. Too ‘geeky’. But these students are great with content and strategy. Time to make the most of it. Thanks Google…