Google rolled out yet another update recently, dubbed the hummingbird update. This update is different than many of their updates in the past. The main goal of this update is to show results for longer tail search inquiries. Specifically it is meant to return better results for mobile searchers using voice for their search queries.
This is a significant update as it changes the way sites are going to receive traffic. It is starting to move away from short keyword term searches and concentrate on returning more accurate results for the longer search queries many users are inputting. Knowing this, there are a few things site owners can do to take advantage of this new update.
Knowing that Google is looking to return answers to search queries posed as conversational questions site owners would do well to add content that is question and answer based. A great way to do this is to add content that focuses on questions and answers, simlilar to the format seen on Yahoo Answers. Instead of focusing on keywords and keyword density, adding content that poses a question that your target visitors may ask and then giving a detailed answer or explanation is going to help take advantage of this change and bring more traffic to your site. For example, this post could be made into a question and answer type of format by reformatting it from informative to question and answer.
I could do this by starting with a question of “What is the new Hummingbird update from Google, and how should I format my website to improve search results?” Starting with that question, I would then provide the answer, giving detailed information on the Hummingbird update and then going over detailed ways a website could improve their results.
In addition to formatting content in question and answer format, site owners should make sure their website is mobile friendly. This should include a mobile site with scaled down content and images that will load faster on mobile devices. Since the Hummingbird update is targeting conversational queries that many users are imputting using voice on mobile devices, it is a natural extension that optimizing for mobile devices is going to improve your search results and position.
This benefit is two fold; by creating a mobile site you will improve your chances of showing up in the mobile searches – which is a large and growing segment of total search volume. In addition, by improving your site to target mobile you will also see benefits in the more traditional search results as Google is looking for domain authority. If you improve your domain authority in one area, that improvement is going to carry over into other areas.
Expanding on the domain authority, adding a question and answer area to your website is also going to help. By providing good content and answers to people’s question you are going to retain visitors on your site for longer. One metric Google uses to determine domain authority is the amount of time people spend on your site. By providing the information they want, quality information that answers their question, they are going to spend the time to read what you have to say (or even better, watch a video you put together) and your metrics will improve, also improving your domain authority.
These are some simple things you can start working on now to better position your site for the present and future of search. Be sure to check back in as we will be offering more advice on how to improve your site for this particular update in the near future.