...deteriorates into a less than optimal state. If one thing can be said about Google, it constantly signals what it wants in terms of content, but not everybody listens. For example, many of the online businesses that ignored Google’s statements regarding shoddy content were hammered by the Panda update and those that continued to discount the search engine’s warnings about spammy links were trampled by the subsequent Penguin update.
Google has continued to signal its wishes with the rollout of “Hummingbird”, which is its most far-reaching update since “Caffeine” in 2010. In terms of published content, here are the three aspects that businesses will have to integrate with their SEO strategy in order to gain or maintain maximum visibility on the search engine results pages (SERPs):
- Content that solves problems and/or answers questions – Hummingbird is a complete retooling of Google’s algorithm with one of the biggest changes being that the search engine no longer pulls keywords out of search terms to try to deliver relevant listings. Instead, due to a growing number of searches that are posed in the form of questions, Google is now surfacing subject matter that answers those questions rather than content with enough matching keywords to look relevant. With this in mind, it is now necessary that businesses discover the questions that are being asked by consumers about their products/services and then develop content around those queries.
- Developing long form content – Google started a separate listing area on the front page of the SERPs for long form content at about the same time as the Hummingbird rollout. This runs parallel to its quest for surfacing content that can’t deliver complete answers and solutions with only 140 characters.
- Publishing content consistently – In the increasingly competitive environment of content marketing, one and done publishing will go stale fast and won’t further SEO efforts. While fresh content has always been sought by Google, dynamic content production is even more important now.
Google is sending clear signals in terms of what they want in published content. The sites that keep the search engine happy will see positive SEO results. Those that don’t will probably be spending time in Google’s doghouse.