creative integrated marketing

We are a creative integrated marketing consultancy specialising in 4 business areas: Business Services, Financial Services, Automotive Aftermarket and Recruitment Advertising. These blogs tell of some of our experiences working in these business areas.

28 November 2013

Coping with Google’s Hummingbird algorithm and implementing SEO from a content strategists’ perspective

In late September, Google implemented their new “Hummingbird” organic search algorithm which represents a dynamic shift in how Google interprets search activity and ranks content results. It’s both good and bad news for brand managers and digital marketers focused on search engine optimisation and digital marketing strategies. Here’s what you need to know.

Google Humbing Bird

Google’s strategy
The new algorithm is a step-change rather than an evolution. It represents a fairly dramatic expansion of Google’s Knowledge Graph (refer to my 14 August 2013 post “A recap on effective search engine optimisation”) and this is the direction search will be taking for the foreseeable future. Google are aiming to understand the relationships between concepts rather than simply matching keywords in documents. The Knowledge Graph structures data so if you search for, say, “what’s the closet place to buy the iPhone 5s to my house?”, rather than just focus on keywords like “iPhone 5” and “buy”, Google will understand better that you are looking for a physical store (location) near your location that carries iPhones.

Google are investing in building their ability to provide smarter, more intelligent and relevant search results based around conversational or semantic search. This is especially significant in the context of your location, online behaviour etc, and will make voice and mobile device searches more relevant.

Likely relevance for you
It is early days but the new algorithm will probably have a significant affect on results for long tail search terms – especially those that answer a question or a human need.

Websites that appear to fail to provide meaningful, useful answers to questions, and that are not recognised for high quality content, will be penalized in search results.

Page ranking and recognition for key words will undoubtedly already have been felt in your own website performance.

How you can respond to new SEO challenges
There’s a long list but here are some of the key points which may help you cope with, and plan SEO strategies going forward in 2013 and 2014;

  • Think about what your desired web visitor wants. Going forward, they are less likely to type in a search term of, say “private equity insurance due diligence”. Instead, they will probably type a search term like “Agribusiness deal risk due diligence provider in China”. So you need to figure out what word or sequence of words, in what order, best articulates the query. Then think about how best to translate this in to Google language. Don’t expect to get it right first time!
  • Think about how the search engine will interpret a request and route it to the pages that best address. This means you need to create effective landing pages that address conversational needs – they need to answer questions and be recognised for quality and trustworthiness
  • Don’t forget about all of the basics that still count and are important to maintain within your monthly web management programme – high quality back links from relevant websites, good social signals and provide well-written, proprietary content that addresses market needs in a conversational framework

It makes sense to benchmark your website performance with a SERP report and compare it to peers. Also to align key business channels and revenue streams to your web strategy and traceable enquiries. This involves a joined-up approach which embraces a number of levers. We would say this wouldn’t we but if you don’t have the skills and time to effectively manage this in-house, outsource web management and SEO. Whether your budget is £500-£10,000 per month, pick a partner who will invest time in understanding your business and what you want to achieve from your website.

In my experience, clients want their websites to be more than shop windows – they want them to generate leads and or influence or extend relationships. Google’s Hummingbird algorithm represents a tremendous opportunity to plan for the future. It’s a race – not a sprint. PPC will enable a sprint.

Chris Abraham heads www.AEPadvertising, an integrated strategic marketing communications agency working predominately in business services, financial services, automotive and recruitment advertising for clients who operate worldwide.

AEP Advertising We are a b2b and b2c agency providing integrated branding, strategic and lead generation marketing communications. We have deep specialist knowledge in the business services, financial services, automotive and recruitment advertising sectors spanning over 40 years.

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