How to thrive post-Hummingbird: A guide for SEO content creators

These hummingbirds process the Google Hummingbird algorithm overhaul.Like, whoa! In case you’ve missed the Internet the past couple weeks, Google overhauled it’s entire search algorithm with Hummingbird.

Did the Hummingbird update kill SEO copywriting? No. But now, marketing departments and freelance writers have more room to move in their SEO content creation efforts. Additionally, the “old way” of creating keyword-stuffed content is officially dead.

In our revamped roundup, check out this compilation of expert articles on writing the write way for Google’s new era – and share your favorite Hummingbird writing tip in the comments below.

Brad Lawless writes “Google Hummingbird and Influencer Marketing – Quality Content Always Wins” for Business 2 Community.

Gini Dietrich gives us “Hummingbird Update: What it Means for PR Pros” over at Spin Sucks.

Forbes says “Google Hummingbird: A Mobile Content Marketing Strategy Just Became Essential” by Jayson DeMers.

Search Engine Journal’s Rick Egan writes “3 Ways Content Will Be Affected by Google’s Latest Hummingbird Update”.

“Google’s Hummingbird Update: What You Need To Know” comes from Sam Lowe on Business 2 Community.

HubSpot‘s Steve Haase tells us “Why Google’s Hummingbird Algorithm Is Perfect for Inbound Marketers”.

Steve Rayson shares “10 Ways Google’s Hummingbird Will Shape Future SEO and Content Marketing” on Social Media Today.

Venture Beat’s Ricardo Bilton gives us “Things, not strings: How Google’s new Hummingbird algorithm sets the stage for the future of mobile search”.

Jeff Quip writes “What Does Google Hummingbird Mean for SEOs?” for Search Engine People.

TechCrunch‘s Matthew Panzareno writes “Why Did Apple Buy Cue? Because Google Now Eats Siri’s Lunch”.

Doc Sheldon writes “After ‘(Not Provided)’ & Hummingbird, Where is Google Taking Us Next?” for Search Engine Watch.

Molly Hoffmeister shares “What Google’s Hummingbird Means for Content Marketers” on pardot.

The New York Times Bits blog posts “Google Alters Search to Handle More Complex Queries” by Claire Cain Miller.

Christopher Penn writes “How PR can affect your Google Hummingbird SEO” for SHIFT Communications.

Ken Wisnefski talks about “What changes come with Google’s Hummingbird?” on Market Watch.

Adam Stetzer tells us “What ‘(Not Provided)’ & Google Hummingbird Mean for Small Business SEO” on Search Engine Watch.

SMARTT‘s Ray Wang shares “3 Tips on how to take Advantage of Google’s Hummingbird”.

Streetwise Media‘s Caroline Lyle gives us “Why Google Hummingbird Will Help, Not Hurt, Your SEO”.

Kyle Kam posts “Google Hummingbird: It’s About Time” on Social Media Today.

Paul Bruemmer writes “Future SEO: Understanding Entity Search” for his All Things SEO column on Search Engine Land.

Ron Callari posts “Google’s Hummingbird Algo Shifts Search From Keywords To Semantic Technology [Web 3.0]” on Inventor Spot.

Business 2 Community‘s Joana Ferreria writes “Google Hummingbird Algorithm Update – What’s New?”

Sara Angeles writes “What Google’s Hummingbird Algorithm Means for Small Business” for Business News Daily.

Internet Marketing Ninjas shares “Website User Experience Design and Google’s New Hummingbird Algorithm” by Kimberly Krause Berg.

Vikram posts “Hummingbird and what it means to your knowledge base” for The Freshdesk Blog.

Search Engine Land‘s Eric Ward writes “How Will Google Hummingbird Impact Links? Here Are 6 Ways”.

Stay tuned for Heather’s take on Hummingbird, coming soon!

Photo (Hummingbirds) thanks to Coconino National Forest.

23 replies
  1. Prudence Shank
    Prudence Shank says:

    Sigh. I had hoped that this update (well, change) would FINALLY show people they have to stop keyword stuffing. But I just had an old client contact me about doing “SEO Copy” that was NOTHING but keyword stuffing. I’m going to track this website and see how it does because I’m really curious. Are people still doing it because despite what Google tells us, stuffing is still effective in some niches? What’s been your experience? Have you seen niches whose keyword-stuffing tactics have survived the last 3 updates?

    • Heather Lloyd-Martin
      Heather Lloyd-Martin says:

      Hi, Prudence!

      Thanks for your note!

      I feel your pain (actually, I’ll be addressing this in tomorrow’s blog post.) Even though *we* understand Hummingbird’s impact, other people don’t. They are doing things the old way because it’s what they know. Unfortunately, they’ll learn the hard way. :(

      There are always instances of bad content positioning in Google – Google is good, but they still miss stuff. At the same time, I’m not seeing keyword-stuffing work across the board. Not to mention…it’s dreadful for conversion rates.

      If you can educate your old client, go for it. If it’s a lost cause for now, check back with them in a few months. They may change their mind about what “good content” means.


  2. Jon KH
    Jon KH says:

    Nice post. For me it’s all about context and relevance. Get that into the content and the surrounding website/blog and you are onto a winner. Thos question and answer blogs will do well from this.

  3. John Bestow
    John Bestow says:

    Yeaahh. It looks like Hummingbird and Penguin 2.1 are levelling the playing field a little. Guys like me who are new to SEO should concentrate on writing good relevant content for the web page, telling potential visitors what they want to know, instead of repeating nonsensical keywords throughout the text just to secure page rank. I find a good description or quote from my content actually attracts more hits than sites positioned above me in some search results. Am I alone in this?

  4. Barry
    Barry says:

    This ‘content’ mantra misses the point. Not all sites are about content! Some are about providing a service to customers quickly and efficiently – and the fact that ‘content’ appears so important makes the new Hummmingbird algo LESS effective that previously.

    Hummingbird is without doubt a step backwards in effectiveness, and for the first time have I considered Yahoo or Bing as a more effective search engine – OK, (no offense Yahoo/Bing!).

    So while I am a little biased (as you will see from the following post), after noticing how poorly the new algorithm reacts when searching for our site I started multiple local searches, yielding the same results….Google appears to return ‘content’ based results from a global pool, rather than returning local sites that provide what a customer wants. Its not all about ‘content’. Some sites are about ‘efficient services! Why does a site need to have pages of ‘content’ if a customer simply wants to go to it to buy/sell and leave!

    Our business pays people in Ireland money for their used mobile phones. We are an Irish company that is doing ‘what it says on the tin, ‘ no black hat or anything like that and still in the top 5 on Yahoo, Bing etc, (and was on google until last week) and are 100% relevant to ‘sell mobiles online ireland’, but we’ve gone from page 1 to page 10 in some cases!

    Bizarrely ahead of us in the search are cash for gold sites in Australia, irrelevant computer recyclers in Chicago, sites that stopped operating a number of years ago, sites based in the UK that Irish customers cant use, and a bunch of ‘content’ sites that give people information in general! Customers dont want information or content…they want to ‘sell their mobile online in Ireland’! Btw we have 3 years of blogs of content, but that didnt seem to make a difference either!

    I, for one, am greatly disheartened by the Big G making a decision that affects the livelihood of those involved in our company AND makes the search process LESS relevant for customers! We have always focused on making the customer experience as streamlined as possible, making our blog content comply with best methodlolgy, and most importantly providing the best service for our customers as possible. Apparently that counts for nothing though as we are likely ‘collateral damage’.

    A cynical eye would indeed think Google wants everyone to stay on Google only pages, or indeed has these reshuffles for ‘our own good’ with the very intention of adding to adwords revenue while companies scramble to rearrange their websites to comply with the New 10 Commandments of SEO, That Cannot be Questioned.

    The Mighy God-gle has spoken!

  5. Ammon Johns
    Ammon Johns says:

    So sorry to hear Barry’s story in the previous comment.

    What Barry describes is one of the potential problems that Hummingbird, and indeed other Semantics measures, can produce, sometimes.

    As semantics widen the range of content that can apply to a query (or in Hummingbird widen the query) there is an increased chance that sites with low ‘authority’ can be pushed down the rankings by sites with more authority, even where they match the actual search phrase a lot less specifically.

    Barry, I’m hoping you are following this discussion still, but even if only for other readers, here’s my advice.

    You need to build a little more authority and ‘brand’ for your site to do great in Google these days. The CEO of Google is very keen on Brands, and the good news is that ‘brand’ is nothing to do with the size of the company. Brand is shorthand for how we think of a company, our overall perception of it, and its identity in our minds.

    This is one of the reasons that there is so much correlation between companies who use social media well, and score highly in social media metrics, with those doing well in search. Its not that search is directly measuring likes and plusses, but much more that social activity can massively help to promote, spread, and define a brand (identity/persona) for any company.

    Basically, semantics seems to be widening some of your concepts to those of recycling, and not paying enough attention to geolocation in this instance.

    While I am certain Google will continue to tweak and refine in their own time, time is money, right?

    Pick up your site’s authority by giving it a little more presence and identity, brand signals, and you’ll not only fix this issue for yourself, you’ll future-proof yourself against other tweaks and features of a similar kind.

  6. Barry
    Barry says:

    Hi Ammon,

    Thanks for your feedback – ironically we are one of the only companies in the marketplace in Ireland that did aim to build the brand. We’ve articles in magazines, youtube videos, radio ads, and a range of other content, but got hammered on the recent update.

    An SEO colleague did highlight some more Penguin related issues such as some spammy backlinks, meta title length and duplicate descriptions, (which were due to a cgi script used on all our product pages), so we will continue to address what we can.

    But thanks for the tips and anything else appreciated!

    Best Regds,

    Barry @ GYG

  7. kered pople
    kered pople says:

    Let me start by saying thanks for a great resource of articles about Hummingbird.

    We can say for certain (duplicate content) is a big no, (unique content) is a yes and (useful content) is a massive yes.

    The only problem content writers will have is they have to write more useful content than their competitors do. This is very hard in my opinion.

  8. Tracy Mallette
    Tracy Mallette says:

    You’re welcome, Kered! I’m glad it helps! You’re absolutely right about duplicate, unique and useful content.

    I think the key to writing more useful content than your competitors is becoming highly focused on your customers. Develop personas and learn what keeps them up at night so you can provide content with the solutions they’re looking for. Creating content with solutions to specific problems, rather than broad topics about your services, will set you apart from the competition.

  9. expert seo company
    expert seo company says:

    Well Tracy, it is really a nice collection of articles by experts about the latest update hummingbird. Well in my opinion the SEO is neither dead nor will be dead anytime. There are some changes in the algorithm for sure. The search engines is going to behave like humans now understanding the meaning of the search query typed by the users, instead of going with the words types only. There are many queries having meanings in them, but the older search algorithm used to go with the different words in the key phrase, but after hummingbird getting launched the actual meaning of the search query will be analyzed before availing the search results. So, SEO is not dead, but the results will be now fresh and precise as per the user’s requirements.

  10. Tracy Mallette
    Tracy Mallette says:

    I’m glad this post helps, Nolan! It’s definitely worth keeping up to date on Google’s algorithm changes for the benefit of clients who might not have been doing things correctly all along. I don’t think there’s a lot to worry about for SEO copywriters who have always written quality, relevant content and continue to do so.

  11. Kered Pople
    Kered Pople says:

    Hi, Tracy

    Thanks for the follow-up post and tips you have given me on developing personas, etc. It makes 100% sense what you have said.

    To add to your post I think we all miss out on opportunities that are hanging around in the office, for an example pictures and mock ups. All this kind of material can be written about and put on a resource page or a labs page. This content will be unique to your brand and helpful to customers.

    The benefit of this is the customer can enquire about the services you offer and also view lab pages or resource pages. This gives the customer another angle to view up and coming projects or completed projects.

  12. Terry Van Horne
    Terry Van Horne says:

    “Some sites are about ‘efficient services! Why does a site need to have pages of ‘content’ if a customer simply wants to go to it to buy/sell and leave!”

    Because a search engine can not quantify relevance of customer service or anything from customer service how could it possibly or for that matter any search or service measure that? Quite simply your expectations are rediculous!!!

    That said most search engines can measure (mind you, not very well ) sentiment about customer service in Social so if the above is your beef the way to position on Search is to amplify your Social visibility which will indirectly make you more visible in search and is the only way you can really **demonstrate** your USP. That’s why people should be writing good content… to demonstrate their **capabilities** only a complete idiot believes content is for Search engines…. it’s for people to discover on Search engines otherwise… it fails miserably in meeting the goals of the content which is TO MOVE PEOPLE TOWARDS AN ACTION!

  13. Terry Van Horne
    Terry Van Horne says:

    By the way Barry…no way Hummingbird knocks you off page 1 to 10… it knocks you down a little… you have to have a huge problem that goes well beyond hummingbird… sounds more like Panda. Judging by the way you mentioned content…. quality would not be high on your list…since it is obvious you don’t see the value to the user! Something tells me if your site was still ranked high…would not hear about an issue of quality of results from you… sorry I am not big on pity parties… I’m likely the only one here giving you the straight goods. I feel for you… I do not feel sorry or pity for you…

    IMO, you are ranked where you deserve to be ranked based on your utter disdain for content and users who use it. I don’t care what product it is people are on the internet to learn about what they are buying… they are looking to be informed consumers… your/our job is to give them the best content possible…. don’t expect success if you don’t meet that need!


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] Hummingbird, Hummingbird, Hummingbird. This time last year, Google’s algorithmic switcheroo was THE hot topic. If you’re wondering what Google’s Hummingbird algorithm means to SEO content creators, check out this post.  […]

  2. […] Additionally, the old way of creating keyword-stuffed content is officially dead. In our revamped roundup, check out this compilation of expert articles on writing the write way for Googles new era and share yourfavorite Hummingbird writing tip in the comments below. Brad Lawless writes Google Hummingbird and Influencer Marketing Quality Content Always Wins for Business 2 Community . Gini Dietrich gives us Hummingbird Update: What it Means for PR Pros over at Spin Sucks . Forbes says Google Hummingbird: A Mobile Content Marketing Strategy Just Became Essential by Jayson DeMers. Search Engine Journa ls Rick Egan writes 3 Ways Content Will Be Affected by Googles Latest Hummingbird Update. For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit… […]

  3. […] The truth is well-written copy has been – and will continue to be – an important component for websites to perform well. Don’t believe me? Perhaps you haven’t heard about Google’s latest update, Hummingbird. […]

  4. […] How to thrive post-Hummingbird: A guide for SEO content creators, SEO Copywriting […]

  5. […] Check out the article at SEO Copywriting here: How to thrive post-Hummingbird: A guide for SEO content creators […]

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