With the implementation of Google Hummingbird, the debate is currently raging over the importance of keywords in Google's new algorithm.
For SEO purists, hanging onto the past is comforting and until they see that their old tactics of keyword optimization aren't producing results, they'll gladly dig their heels in.
On the other side of the tracks, the progressive SEO'ers are ready to sound for the 21 gun salute and put keywords to death.
Both sides do have their points. On the one hand, keywords are still an integral part of queries… how can you search for something without typing in words?
On the other hand, Google has removed the ability for internet marketers to see most of their keyword metrics, meaning that if keywords are still powerful, you're expected to guess their effectiveness blind.
So what's the right argument? Well, caution would seem the most appropriate, but with a definite shift in thinking. Like most sides of a story, the truth lies somewhere in the middle. You should definitely keep optimizing your site with keywords, but start to also expand into semantic copy.
Writing Copy for Websites with Hummingbird
And what does that mean? Well, for starters, break out the thesaurus.
Semantic searches from Hummingbird focus more on the intent of the query rather than the actual keyword itself.
That means it will be looking for LSI (latent semantic index) keywords that fit in with the context of the initial query.
With queries getting longer in length and more specific in subject, you'll have to be more direct with what your content is about to get the same, or better results in the search engine ranking pages (SERPs) as pre-Hummingbird.
To do this, simply use the context of your copy to indicate exactly what it is you're talking about.
Pointers for Post-Hummingbird Copywriting
Here are some tips for writing copy moving forward.
Use these on your webcopy, blogs, white papers, press releases, etc. Basically, anything you want people to find through search engine queries.
Use synonyms for not only keywords, but other words as well. Don't repeat words over and over (with the exception of trying to hit your keyword percentage).
Ask the questions that you are answering plainly in your text. Since semantic searches are looking to provide viewers with the best surfing and suggestion experience possible, they will be looking to match exact answers for questions. Reword the question a few times.
Get more specific with your copy. Now is a great time to start upping the amount of copy and blogs on your site. You just have to make certain that it is all very specific. For example, whereas a page on “mobile phones” might have sufficed in the past, you'll need pages on “mobile phones for business use” and “mobile phones for personal use” moving forward in order to stay competitive.
Long-tail keywords are more important than ever, so make sure you utilize them. The more you do, the more chance you have at nailing a specific query and getting better indexing.
Prepare for the voice searches by speaking out loud. When you're thinking up your keyword research phrases, remember to speak them out loud because Chrome has implemented the voice search function. With so many mobile phone searches making up the majority of queries, this trend is only going to get more ingrained in the populace.
Prepare for it now and optimize your site to speaking pattern questions rather than textual questions.
The changes that Hummingbird made are actually beneficial across the board.
Writing copy should now be a little less formulaic and a lot more natural and informative.