How To Optimize Your Website For Hummingbird


Infuse Your Content With The Sweet Nectar Of Better SEO Strategy

Just when you think you’ve got the Google ranking puzzle cracked, the search engine throws another wrench (or algorithm) into the mix. Luckily, in most cases, these updates make it easier for legitimate SEO strategies to pay off; Hummingbird is no exception.

We all know what happened to content quality when Google started ranking sites based on keywords. Later updates tried to discourage keyword stuffing, but still couldn’t quite line up with what people were looking for or how they searched for it. Like its predecessors, Hummingbird doesn’t focus on the quantity of keywords or phrases—it focuses on the quality of the site.

As a result, you need to be aware of both when planning your next SEO strategy. Here are a few tips for passing muster with Hummingbird when optimizing your website.

1. Keep Writing Great Content

Over time, Google has become sophisticated enough to distinguish quality content from a bunch of keywords randomly strung together. It pays particular attention to content not available anywhere else, so keep this in mind when creating content.

If you’re already writing great content, this just means doing what you do. Generate blogs, videos, and infographics that tell people what they want to know. Cite reliable sources and link to authoritative pages. This frees you from having to obsess so much over keywords. If you still want to follow that strategy, though, consider changing your approach.

2. Use Long-Tail Keywords

Many people search for phrases and sentences, not words. As a result, optimizing for one or two keywords might land you in an unrelated search or even leave you out of a relevant search. Neither outcome is good for your click-through rate. Avoid both these issues and attract more qualified leads by adding long-tail keywords to your strategy.

This usually involves adding more detail. Take this post, for instance. If you optimize it for someone searching on “SEO tips,” it would barely crack the top 100. If, however, it were targeted to anyone looking for “how to optimize for Hummingbird,” it would rank much higher on Google and generate more clicks from interested visitors.

3. Optimize for Mobile and Voice

Like everything else, search is going mobile. Numerous reports show that mobile search will exceed desktop search by 2016. Meanwhile, most Apple users don’t type their searches — they ask Siri. Hummingbird is geared to these changes, so your SEO strategy has to incorporate the shift to mobile and voice.

Pick up your phone and search for your site. What comes up? Do the features make it easy to get in touch, or is it just a truncated version of your website? Does Siri use your content as a reference, or does it go to a competitor first? Mobile users are too busy moving around to trudge through fluff, so make sure they can get to your offers right away.

4. Don’t Build So Many Links

This might sound like anathema to effective SEO, but it makes sense. If you plaster links all over the web that no one clicks, have you raised your level of authority or done the online equivalent of a mass mailing? Hummingbird might say the latter, so pull back on the linking a little.

The best way to do this is to sharpen your link-building efforts. According to SEO Company Go, focusing on generating inbound links from authoritative sources in your field is the best way to improve linking tactics. Where you might have approached 20 sites, narrow it to 15 or 10. Not only will you generate more clicks per link, but each click will come from quality traffic, thus raising your credibility even higher.


While you might get sick of having to adapt to updates like Hummingbird, they ultimately benefit sites that care about presenting good content — including yours. By rolling with the changes, you’ll have an easier time generating high rankings and click rates.

Savannah Marie is a freelance writer for 12 Keys and editor of her blog – Mixios. She enjoys the world of online marketing, social media and business and covers all of these topics on her blog.

Image: iStockphoto

About The Author

Savannah Marie is a freelance writer for 12 Keys and an online marketing enthusiast. She has a passion for social media, new technology, and online marketing techniques. Savannah is editor of her blog, Mixios, and focuses her content on sharing the tips and tricks she has learned about the online marketing industry. Follow her on Twitter and Google+.