Google’s missing keywords

Written on 31 January, 2014 by Verity Meagher
Categories: Search Engine Optimisation | Tags: google, keywords, seo

With Google’s Hummingbird update has come the news that the search giant will no longer provide website owners with keyword information. So what will this mean for your business?

The bold move is an attempt to increase user privacy that’s left many businesses running scared. But there’s no need to panic – there are plenty of ways for you to carry on ensuring ROI for your site.

Hummingbird explained

Before you start worrying about how Hummingbird will change your working process, stop to take a look at the reasoning behind the update. Google has changed it search algorithm in an attempt to cut down on the amount of ‘fluff’ it returns in its search pages. This means that, ultimately, if you’re producing good, reliable webpages, Google is working to help you make sure they get the exposure they deserve.

Semantic and conversational search

The Hummingbird update also came about in response to a change in the way people are searching. In the earlier days of search, people tended to approach engines with a very general phrase or term. Now, people are increasingly specific and conversational in their demands. This means that focus is moving away from isolated keywords and towards full questions, such as ‘where can I find yellow shorts near Melbourne’.

All your business needs to do to deal with this trend towards semantic search is to continue creating quality pages that offer clear benefits to searchers. Endorsements, social media engagement and relevant copy will continue to help determine your search engine ranking, so don’t worry that a limitation on keyword research will result in a loss of control over your strategy.

Keying into keywords

That said, if you’re keen to continue utilising keyword research, there are still a number of options open to you. There are several other large search engines that currently offer detailed keyword data and Google Webmaster Tools also provides some keyword analysis, so you won’t be completely cut off.

Your own website can also offer some very valuable information about the key terms people are searching for. Look closely at which landing pages are attracting the most traffic, monitor your internal searches and keep track of the way people tend to navigate your site. Your internal analytics are a very valuable commodity, so be sure to put them to work.

Look at the big picture

The Hummingbird update should be treated as a reminder that the online world is constantly growing, changing and refining itself. The best way to enjoy good ROI on your website is to invest your energy into a broad and inclusive online content strategy that offers customers the information they are looking for in the most convenient format.

Videos, posts on social sites, blogs and well-crafted landing pages can all work together to create the kind of site that will continue to be attractive, no matter what’s happening with keyword data.