A Writer’s Insight into Google’s Hummingbird

By My Web Writers

Google's new bird is born. What do writers need to know?

Google’s new bird is born. What do writers need to know?

Don’t stop! Google’s new algorithm motor is humming.

On September 24, my mother passed away. On the day my family was burying her, Google announced its new Hummingbird algorithm change.

Something new is always born.

About the Hummingbird

The Hummingbird update hopes to go beyond the keywords users enter to deliver what users hope to find in their search results.

While driving in the car, we might ask Siri where the dog groomer is located or where we can find Indian food.  She usually keeps us on the road and headed in the right direction.  Sometimes she doesn’t know how late the closest pharmacy is open, though.  Why can’t she tell us store hours?

Quite often, the kids ask her questions about their school work.  She’ll just open Google search results.  Down the road, it’ll probably look a little different.

What do writers need to know to write for Hummingbird?

Our reliance on the phone voice like it’s a real person or a real assistant, is where search is headed.

Our job as content strategists or writers is to serve up the semantically rich information needed to help Siri, or her Android counterpart, to look smart.  The voice is the executive and we’re the secretaries.  She’s the TV anchor, we’re the producers in her ear.  We feed the facts, knowledge, and analysis in our content so that the mobile phone doesn’t look bad when she speaks- at least that’s the hope in the future.

The race to the deliver the best executive assistant is happening and Hummingbird is part of it all.  The more interconnected phrases, ah-ha’s, and knowledge you can write over any given topic, the faster you will help the boss.  You might even rank higher and convert traffic because of your efforts.

Semantically Rich Content is Lesson Planning

Look at preparing for Knowledge Graph in the same way a teacher would prepare units of study.  We call it scaffolding in education.  The more connections you can give students, on any given topic, the better they will learn that topic.  Be warned, executive.  Researching is a time (and cost) investment, unless you’re already an expert.

If you’re a writer and a parent, you probably give your own kids a variety experiences.  Not only do you want them to learn about the Civil War, but you might take them to Gettysburg or make them watch the Gods and Generals trilogy. Maybe you watch and discuss Lincoln or you participate in a Civil war re-enactment.  There are museums to visit and books to read.  Each slices up what we know about that time period in a variety of ways.

Be the Hummingbird Nector

This is the job of the modern content writer.  Deliver content that demonstrates our clients’ insight about their products or services.  Answer real questions that customers ask.  Give them depth of knowledge in the same way we offer more information to our kids when they ask (or don’t ask) for it.  That blog post you’re writing should be so on target, knowledgeable, and detailed that your company is the one that would be selected to show up on the Today show if they called needing expert testimony.

If you manage an e-commerce site and all you have are pictures on the site, good luck.  You may be doing okay today, but it’s doubtful that a wordless format will hold up in search over the long run.  Don’t be the brick and mortar on the Internet that feels safe because you’ve been around for years.  Anyone can build a website.  Any other brick and mortar can add category pages.  You have to use all the tools given to you.  Words are tools.  Sound and video are tools, too.

Semantically relevant content starts with conversations

If you’re having a hard time thinking about what content should go on your website, start talking to people.  Some Moms (and dads) are great at lectures.  You might start there. Take your widget topic and go to the closest nursing home and talk to elderly people about it.  Wrong audience, you say?

Sometimes you glean content gems by talking to the wrong audience.   So, talk to your kids and their friends about the topic or product.  Ask your hair dresser, manicurist, or tennis pals to weigh in, too.  Ask each to ask what questions come to mind when talking about widgets.

You might find that you need blog posts or website pages written at different levels for a variety of personas.  Don’t forget that the highest search engine out there is still the human mind- yours, mine, others’ combined.  Our minds are built to express feelings and opinions through a variety of words.  Tap into those and you’ll be feeding search with content that hums.  ~ Jean

Other Posts:

From Blah to Fab, Freshen Up Your Web Copy

Adding Content to their Website Increased Our Client’s Keyword Reach

Twenty-five Effective, Call-to-Action Phrases in E-commerce Content

Corporate Holiday Email Do’s and Don’ts

Attention to Details- What is Quality Content? Part 4


Filed under Algorithms, Hummingbird

3 responses to “A Writer’s Insight into Google’s Hummingbird

  1. Pingback: Five Shoppers to Keep in Mind When Writing Holiday Copy | My Web Writers - Website Content & Editing Ideas

  2. Pingback: What should web writers know about content creation in 2014? | My Web Writers - Website Content & Editing Ideas

  3. Very well said and exciting! I’m happy to say as a writer I’ve already been trying to do this. When I research, I try to answer questions that I ask myself as I go along and then take it a step further by asking when other people might ask too. Great post!

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