Hummingbird is possibly the most important Google’s search algorithm update this year. The name originated from the traits of the same famous bird – it is fast and extremely precise.
Before the launch of this update, search results were defined by the keywords in your specific search. For example, if your search is “Where are the nearest Rent-a-Car services?” Google will present you the results based on the keywords such as rent, rent-a-car, and rent-a-car services. The Google Adds that are placed in the results will more or less be insignificant to you, being that some companies with great rankings for the service are far away from you.
Hummingbird actually defines the background of your search. It will go through your Gmail account, pinpoint your exact location and with the results based on your previous research of similar topics, it will provide you with precise answers. It actually acknowledges your search as a semantic whole instead of just focusing on the keywords. Now, Google Adds will appear even for the long-tail searches.
How does Hummingbird affect your e-commerce website?
We have always received the same answer with some mixed signals from Google Developers – make original quality content. But how do you expect us to define what “quality and relevant content” is? Up until know, there were some answers such as avoid keyword stuffing, provide relevant authority links, organize the structure of your website, etc. However, what now, when Hummingbird can “read through” your question?
Semantic search is the future main focus of Google developers. Your webpage content will be considered a whole and the relevance of the same will be based on the semantics and the relevance of the content provided. Its reading level affects the search results significantly.
Here is what you should pay special attention to:
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- Product description
These should be no longer than 400 words with relevant description of the product itself. Do not over-stuff it with keywords and links to the other non-related products. Google developers are aware that large shops with over 5000 articles cannot avoid repeating or duplicating some of its content – there will be no significant penalties for it. However, if you are running a low-budget online shop with no more than a hundred products, try to write a product description for each product without using a template.
- Images and Video quality
These are important parts of every product presentation. The product images should be in high resolution, not over exposed, without blurs, and they should be yours and yours only! Google Image Search does not rely on the alt tag (image description) only. Your content as a whole will be more relevant if the media attached to it is high-quality and original. So, it is best that you take your own images of the products that you are selling – do not just download and manipulate images that already exist on the web.
Having a blog page on your website has always played an important role in your SEO campaign. Keep in mind that a blog on your e-commerce website is used to promote and educate the consumers about your product –influential blogs are used to promote your content. Link building should be done like this – link your product to the blog post on your webpage and use that article as a relevant link in an article you want to post on some influential blog. This is considered to be the most “natural” link building technique.
- Online communities
With the Hummingbird update, the changes to social media were tremendous. The quantity of your flowers/readers/visitors on social media is hardly even relevant if the same do not engage in discussions and share your content. An engaging community of influential people is valued more with every upcoming Google update. Major social networks such as Facebook, Google+ and Twitter have already given recognition to influential members in their communities – such as “verified name” or “verified author”. The content they are sharing is more likely to be heard and seen throughout the search results for the given queries in Google. The latest change in the YouTube comment section explains just that.
The effects of every Google update are seen a month or two after the launch. If your website rankings are not changed by now, don’t worry – you are on the right way. E-commerce based websites have always presented the best tool for boosting sales and promoting a product. It is exactly because of their affiliate nature that they are always primary targets of every Google Bot. Most people manipulate them with black hat SEO techniques in order to boost their sales and rankings, generating fast profit. However, in order to achieve the full potential of your online sales, you must aim for long-term optimization and present relevant content to the masses. It is the same with Hummingbird, as well as with any other algorithm update so far – it’s more important to be a human than to try and trick the machine.
In a nutshell
Present your product information and description as you are talking to a real person, not to a “consumer” as a concept. Provide them with useful information relevant to the product and interact with them on social media (by this, we mean real two-way interactions, not just hitting likes, +1s and tweets like crazy). That is a certain way to improve your ranks and sales and avoid all the unnecessary penalties. These are the signals given so far by Matt Cutts, Head of Google’s Webspam team.