4th December 2013

The Effect of Google Hummingbird (Part 2 of 4)

Go back to Part 1: Keywords should not be the main focus of organic search

Google Changes

Content is King ImageIt has often been said “content is king” but Google’s updates have been designed to make that true more than ever, that the content of your site is more and more important than any other factors. So forget keyword stuffing practices (repeating a specific word or phrase numerous times on a page) – you shouldn’t have been doing that for some time now! – and instead make relevant information available to your users. It’s all about relevancy and user experience.

This is one reason why websites that have followed good SEO practise won’t have been penalised much or at all by the recent changes.  If the content was – and still is – good, the website should still appear.

Hummingbird is just the latest and biggest of many updates.  SEO impacts including algorithm changes have decreased the value of link building and made content and having a content library the real focal point to SEO strategy.

Results “not provided”

(not provided) imageOrganic analytics data is no longer available for Google traffic, and many webmasters are seeing 95%+ of keywords being reported as “(not provided)”, the remaining 5% coming from non-Google searches.

This is because on 23rd September 2013 Google made searches secure (when a user goes to Google to search, they are automatically redirected to the https:// version of Google).  So, when someone searches using Google, the search is now SSL encrypted. It routes the click to the website through a redirect so that the website a user lands on has no idea what actual keywords the searcher found the website under, and what keywords were used that brought the person there.

From an SEO perspective, this means whenever a user lands on your site, you have absolutely no idea what the person was looking for when they landed there.  If your customers are placing orders, you don’t know which organic keywords are converting into sales, because you can’t track them from Google referrals any more.

It also means that if there’s a high bounce rate for a page, it’s difficult to know what adjustments to make because you don’t know exactly what the user was looking for (and didn’t find) when they got to your page.

Global traffic per keyword is still available, so it is possible to find out how many monthly searches there are for a particular keyword, but traffic on your own website won’t show which keyword brought visitors to you.

There are workarounds that some experts are using to try and capture that traffic, but they aren’t for the average user and can be quite involved, so are out of the scope of these articles.  What we’ll concentrate on is best practise for making sure you’re still found in SERPs.

Read part 3 for What Effect Does Hummingbird Have on Search Results? and Conversational Search.

4th December 2013

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