Google announced a major overhaul to its search algorithm today. Known as Hummingbird, the update represents one of the biggest changes to Google’s algorithm in years.
And it doesn’t matter.
Let’s back up for a moment. The update is important. From what little we know about it, it represents a huge leap forward that will likely make Google search results better than ever.
According to TechCrunch, Hummingbird “focuses on parsing searches as complex questions.” TechCrunch also reports that, while it was only announced today, Hummingbird has been in place for a while—at least a month, according to Search Engine Land.
Hummingbird means that searching Google has likely become much easier for many people. Ask a direct question and Google is now more likely than ever to give you a specific answer.
But for those of us who create content and use the web for marketing, communications or public relations, Hummingbird doesn’t mean much.
Old school search engine optimization (SEO) tactics still work, for the most part. And, ultimately, good SEO still boils down to writing well for the web. Content is king. It was true in 2009 and it’s true in 2013.
Take it from someone who has been writing for the web for over a decade. Organic SEO was once my bread and butter—it literally paid the bills. I may not follow the industry blogs as closely as I used to, but there’s a reason that this site is still the top result for [adam snider], despite the fact that some dude writing for Politico shows up in my Google Alerts far more than my own content does.
Make your content user-friendly and search engines will like it. It really is that simple.
You can tweak your metadata and play around with <h1> versus <h2> tags. But if your content is scannable, objective and concise it will be nearly as friendly to search engines as it is to the humans you’re trying to reach.
Hummingbird is a huge leap forward for Google. But it doesn’t matter to those of us who want people to read what we write on the web. Content is king, now and forever.