Google is constantly evolving and shifting how search results are ordered and what websites can do to ensure they rank high for the terms most relevant to their business. In a recent post on the Moz Blog, Rand Fishkin highlighted how Google updates like Hummingbird will affect content marketing strategies, moving forward.
Historically, content marketing strategies involved keyword-dense blog posts. For example, if your keyword was “San Diego homes for sale” then it was common practice to fit that phrase in the title, first paragraph, subheads,and several times throughout the body. However, stuffing keyword phrases consistently throughout any blog post comes off unnatural, awkward to read and detrimental to both the site and the likelihood of the reader engaging with the site, business and/or writer again.
With Hummingbird, Google has shifted its focus away from keywords and toward target demographics. Knowing your audience, who you’re trying to reach and what they’re interested in learning about, and crafting well-researched, well-written lengthy blog posts with that target demographic in mind will be looked at more favorably by Google.
“SEO has gotten more complex,” Fishkin said. “It’s gotten harder. There’s a little bit of disassociation away from just the keyword and the ranking.”
He did add that keyword and ranking can still be beneficial and SEO strategies will continue to include this practice, moving forward, but it has evolved to include much more than keywords and links. Websites have to do a better job of including other types of traffic, sources and channels in their plans, including social and content marketing.
And at the end of the day, publishing two dozen 200-word keyword-dense blog posts will not be as beneficial as publishing a dozen 500-word well-written, well-researched blog posts geared toward your target demographic with keyword phrases sprinkled sensibly and intelligently throughout.