In the early days, all you needed was a Web page and some meta-data and your web presence was assured. You could bet that anyone looking for your services would find you. With the rise of mobile browsing, link farms, and keyword stuffing, search engines are forever evolving to provide users with relevant search engine results pages (SERPs).
Hummingbird, the latest of Google’s updates, is all about providing users with accurate SERPs. It does so by weeding out the pages that are less authoritative and deducing what users are looking for by contextualizing the search query.
“[The] ‘conversational search’ attribute of Hummingbird could be a game changer for users, but may or may not be the same for webmasters who have always produced quality websites and content for SEO [Search Engine Optimization],” stated Cheryl Ambruch, Director of Online Marketing at Miles Technologies, in a recent online post.
SEO is the process of making web content highly visible to search engines such as Google, increasing its chances of showing up in the search engine results page.
A user can search using phrases—you can compare two items or ask when a celebrity’s birthday is, for example—and Google will provide the answer at the top of the list, said Chris Miles, owner of Miles Technologies, a business technology consulting firm.
Long-tail searches are search queries that have more than three words in them. This has been the Achilles’ heel of search engines. By better understanding the meaning behind a search query, instead of focusing on certain keywords, the Hummingbird update should return better SERPs.
With long-tail searches accounting for the vast majority of queries, this will not only aid users in their quests for answers, but also provide Adworks with a foundation to better showcase focused ads.
While Hummingbird is a game-changer, many of the methods long used by Google to provide users with page results for their search queries are still in place.
Is Google’s PageRank Obsolete?
PageRank is an algorithm created by Google. It rates websites by determining how many trustworthy, popular, or reputable sites link back to content on the website. A website gets a higher PageRank if more reputable sites link back to it.
Miles believes PageRank has been the biggest development in the history of online search and that it is the reason sites like Wikipedia appear on so many SERPs. He also noted, however, that it appears Google has teamed up with companies like Wikipedia to provide results at the top of the page where there can only be one answer.
Although PageRank appears to be playing less of a role in search queries, Miles says having many in-bound links still gives sites a big boost with Google.
Many other factors influence SERPs. Miles like to call these factors tie-breakers.
“When there are millions of results, it can come down to just the name of one of your pictures on your page, your proximity to a mobile user, how long your page has been up, and when was it last updated,” he said.
Miles advises anyone who is looking to optimize a website to get some free consultation and use Google Webmaster Tools (See video below).
He said, “People should be concerned with delivering value that is fresh and work hard on those in-bound links.”