Entries Tagged 'Google' ↓

The Hummingbird Cometh – Google Strikes Again

The end of September saw yet another Google algorithm update – the Hummingbird. Hummingbird update

At the heart of this little bird is the difference between what people are looking for and why they are looking for it.

Search engines have always delivered ranked results by matching the keywords typed in the search box to the keywords on a web page.

The problem with that is that words can have different meanings, as illustrated by Google’s Senior Vice President of Engineering, Amit Singhal when talking about the Taj Mahal: “Was the search about the monument in India, the musician, or a local curry house? What was the intent behind the search?”

Hummingbird’s semantic search capabilities are an attempt to clarify the context of queries. In other words, it tries to understand how we use language and how the meaning of words varies depending on context.

Hummingbird and search marketing

With all the Penguins, Pandas and Hummingbirds in the world, it’s hardly surprising that the face of search marketing is constantly changing.

In fact it was only recently that Google announced it would no longer be providing webmasters with data about which keywords were driving traffic from search results to their websites.

Google’s explicit message being that webmasters can improve the rank of their sites by creating high-quality sites that users will want to use and share. In other words, engaging website content.

Hummingbird and website content

It’s important you understand how to make sure your website copywriting and content align with Hummingbird’s aim.

What does your customer need?

It’s important to think about why customers want or need your product or service. For example, if you have a travel site, do you offer information about travelling to the destination, what there is to see, local customs, restaurants, galleries or where the best beaches are?


Look at your analytics to discover what people are searching for when they’ve reached your site, but can’t find immediately. This will help you understand what they are looking for and optimise your website content accordingly.

Blogs aren’t the be all and end all

Think about varying your content. Great information doesn’t only come in the form of a blog post; it could also be video, graphics, an eBook, report or white paper.

Just make sure its form and function match.


Don’t just go for an exact keyword match when describing what you do/offer. Use synonyms too, which will provide alternative phrases that people may use when searching for what you offer.

Make sure the language you use isn’t dry and dull. Show your personality through your writing so it informs and inspires.


Make sure all your content is easy to share.

Above all, make sure the content on your website complements your sales strategy by being relevant to your products and services.

A well written website should already have all those features, but it’s worth checking yours out to see if it can be improved in any way.

It may, at times, seem as though Google is playing God with your business, but all these changes are there to make the search experience more rewarding and relevant. Provided you abide by Google’s rules and aren’t tempted to take any short cuts, you should be able to weather these changes with minimum fuss.


 Image courtesy of Idea go/FreeDigitalPhotos

Don’t Blame Google – Diversify Your Traffic

Google has a tendency to play God – or at least that what some online marketers believe.  Don't put all your seo eggs in one basket

A quick tweak of their algorithms can make your traffic plummet over night, but it’s not always down to the big bad search engines.

Panda and Penguin caused pandemonium for many website owners. Forums were filled with rants about how these updates were killing their businesses because their traffic vanished.

But was it really down to these little fellas?

Not necessarily.

Granted, a lot of websites took a hit when the updates happened, but not all the traffic dips can be attributed to these algorithmic changes.

Understanding if you’ve been hit by Penguin and Panda

No one wants to see his or her traffic reduce or vanish.

When this apparent dip coincides with a Google update it seems logical to point the finger in their direction. But they may not be the cause.

If you notice a dip in traffic the first place you should look is your analytics. Take a look at your traffic sources. If they have dipped across the board (i.e. Google, Yahoo and Bing), the chances are it has nothing to do with Google.

So what’s causing it?

It’s more likely to be your search engine optimisation strategy.

Sitting back isn’t an option

When you started out, you probably had a rigorous SEO strategy in place. But, as time moved on and you got busy, the strategy probably took a bit of a slide.

But you were still getting traffic and business, so all was good.

The problem with sitting back and resting on your laurels is that, every day, a new kid will appear on the block. This fresh website will be working hard on its SEO and so will stand a good chance of ranking higher that you.

As soon as your traffic starts to dip, it’s a warning sign that you need to up your game.

But relying 100% on the search engines for your traffic is a disaster waiting to happen. Which is why it’s essential to diversify your traffic.

How to diversify your traffic

If you put all your eggs into your SEO basket, things will go wrong at some point.

That’s why it’s important to spread your traffic by using:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • YouTube
  • Blogs
  • Pay Per Click
  • Email marketing
  • Newsletters

All of these will help you drive traffic to your website without relying on the likes of Google, Yahoo or Bing.

If you want a successful online marketing strategy, make sure you diversify.

Author: Sally Ormond, Copywriter and MD at Briar Copywriting Ltd. Follow her on Twitter and Google+
Image courtesy of artur84/FreeDigitalPhotos

The Death of Keyword Data

Google has been playing again according to a recent post on HubSpot’s Inbound Marketing blog.search

It is to encrypt all keyword searches except for click on ads.

What does that mean?

Basically, marketers won’t be able to get keyword data for searches made by people who aren’t signed in to Google.

Apparently, this move is to give “extra protection” to searchers, but considering the exception for ads, the more cynical would say it’s an attempt to get more people using Google AdWords.

The guys at Hubspot go on to say:

“You may recall that back in October 2011, Google (citing the reason of privacy), announced it would start encrypting search results for logged-in Google users (including any Google-owned product like YouTube, Google+, Gmail, etc.). This meant that marketers were no longer able to identify which keywords a person who was logged into Google.com searched for before they arrived at your website — even if they were using a web or marketing analytics platform like HubSpot. And without these keyword insights, marketers would have a much tougher time knowing which keywords to target to achieve greater visibility in search. No bueno.

“While Google initially said this would impact less than 10% of all searches conducted, we quickly noticed that percentage rise. In November 2011, we analyzed the keywords of HubSpot’s customers to find that more than 11% of organic search traffic was being affected, and by January of this year, we’d found that for the HubSpot website specifically, about 55% of the organic search we got each month was encrypted (and we’d seen that percentage steadily rising by about 4 percentage points each month). Things appeared to be getting more serious.”

Eek, not good.

So is there any way marketers can still measure and use search data?

The HubSpot guys say:

“It is still possible to tell how much traffic your website is getting from organic search. Although you might not know the exact keywords, you can still correlate the work you do to optimize your site and create content to increases or decreases in organic search.

“Other search engines like Bing and Yahoo continue to pass along keyword data. According to comScore, at present, Google.com has about 67% of search market share, Bing has 18%, and Yahoo has 11%. Although this will not provide the full picture, analytics tools like HubSpot can continue to show keywords for the 33% of searches that come from search engines like Bing, Yahoo, AOL, Ask.com, etc. This data will give marketers at least some indication of which keywords are the most useful.

“If you use Google AdWords for pay-per-click marketing, connect your company’s AdWords account to your Google Analytics account and use that data for keyword research.

“Rank will continue to play a role in helping measure the results of search engine optimization and content creation.”

You can read their full post here.


Author: Sally Ormond, Copywriter and MD at Briar Copywriting Ltd. Follow her on Twitter and Google+

Matt Cutts – What’s Coming in Terms of SEO for Google

The final video in this Matt Cutts mini series relates to a question all online marketers want answered – what does Google have up its sleeve in terms of SEO.

This video was shot in May 2013 so it initially talks about Penguin 2.0 which has already happened, but Matt then goes on to cover other areas, such as:

  • Tightening up on advertorials that violate Google’s guidelines
  • Link spammers
  • More sophisticated link analysis
  • Hack site detection
  • Identifying niche authorities

Of course, the world of SEO changes rapidly, but this short video gives a heads up to what you should be looking out for.

So, that’s the end of our mini series for now.

Thank you to Matt Cutts and his team for these great videos. They are a great help to businesses trying to get to grips with what’s happening in the fast moving world of search.

See you soon.

Sally Ormond

Copywriter @ Briar Copywriting Ltd

Follow me on Twitter and Google+

The Top 5 SEO Areas Where Webmasters Make the Most Mistakes

In this video Matt Cutts talks about the top 5 search engine optimisation areas where webmasters make the most mistakes.

There’s so much to think about when creating a website, it’s easy to miss something important.

This video covers areas such as:

  • Crawlability
  • The right words
  • Compelling content
  • Titles and descriptions
  • Webmaster resources

Here’s what he says:

I hope that gave you a few ideas about how to improve your website.

The final video in this mini series will look at what SEO from Google has in store for online marketers.

See you soon.

Sally Ormond

Copywriter @ Briar Copywriting Ltd

Follow me on Twitter and Google+