Blue Tegu tail, Tupinambis merianae, in front of white background

The update to Google’s algorithm in 2013, known as Hummingbird has revealed it’s self as largely a semantic search update. The ranking algorithm, with the intention of improving results, has shifted in order to accommodate above all, the users’ aims and the search concept behind the query, not merely the keywords. Conversational queries are now more easily understood by the search engine. As a result Hummingbird is faster and delivering more precise results than ever before.

User friendlier

The changes made to Google’s new algorithm should come as no surprise though, if you haven’t already put yourself in the shoes of users, it might be time to consider a career in politics. Going forward users will no longer be adapting to the search engine as they have done in the past, the search engine is now finally being modeled around the user.

Thanks to technological advancements

This natural progression has arrived on the backs of mobile and more specifically voice enabled search. Siri has learnt to listen to our questions; now both her and Google are delivering search results that are far more specific to our needs.

The life and times of long-tail keywords

And so we arrive at the long-tail keyword concept. The concept was initially introduced in 2004 by Chris Anderson, editor of Wired magazine and author of, “Long Tail, The, Revised and Updated Edition: Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More”.

Step into the workshop

By focusing on using keywords that are less dominant and rather strung together as a phrase or sentence, a broader niche can be reached. This, a far more effective method, is the basis of long-tail SEO.

In practice, the best way to pin down long-tail keywords is by expanding on your initial short keywords. Build onto them and turn them into phrases, questions and sentences. From here your research will guide you in the direction your users want you to go.

Don’t for a second think you can get away with not doing keyword research anymore, it’s still vital. Without research you will always run the risk of not only using the wrong keywords but also writing the wrong content. What’s the point if no one is interested?

So this is where things get interesting

Within the context of Hummingbird, SEO writers and content producers are again given the opportunity to use long-tail keywords, but not to keyword stuff. Content creation, as always, needs to follow a natural conversational tone, with users in mind rather than search engines. There’s no shortcut to finding meaningful content, but that’s what will give website the real boost – not the turducken style keyword stuffing.

What’s the moral of the story?

Long-tail keyword stuffing is still ‘uncool’, and harmful to the online environment. The initial ideology is not to be disregarded; the entire aim of Google’s algorithm update is to assist the users in finding that pot of gold. Google has recognised that one search word will not cater for the needs of every Googler, thus allowing us all to search for our individual queries more specifically.