Google Hummingbird, Online Video, and Why Content Marketers Should Have No Fear
October 04, 2013 10:39 AM
First there were Pandas. Then came Penguins. Now? It’s the time of the Hummingbird!
That’s right – news broke recently that Google has once again released a new “adorable animal that may or may not destroy your website’s search rankings” into the wild, leaving marketing and SEO professionals hummin—err… buzzing.
If you’ve read the news, you’ve probably heard some variation of the following:
- 90% of all searches will likely be affected
- Many sites have seen major changes to their SERP (search engine results page) rankings
- This is the end of SEO as we know it, blah blah blah…
The truth is, this happens every time Google releases a major change to its algorithm, as everyone wants to know what’s different and what it all means. Admittedly, Hummingbird is a somewhat different situation than past updates, as it’s an entirely new ranking algorithm that Google has put in place. These aren’t just some minor tweaks we’re talking about.
With that said, it’s also been up and running for over a month, and chances are the vast majority of marketers and publishers had no idea anything was amiss. (There was speculation in the SEO community, but nothing hit the fan until Google finally announced it.)
The details of the big changes are still coming to light, but how much do they really matter in the long run? Google is going to do what Google wants to do – we feeble marketers are powerless to stop it.
What’s far more important for most brand publishers to understand is WHY changes like these take place. Google isn’t constantly tinkering with its algorithm just to mess with us (OK, maybe that’s a small part of it). Really, the company’s ultimate goal is to return the highest quality search results for users.
Now to that end, this partly involves neutralizing previously effective SEO techniques that could be used to manipulate search engines into higher rankings. This is nothing new (it’s been years, after all, since the meta keyword and description fields of your typical CMS held any real ranking juice). And more recently, it was announced that all Google searches would be encrypted, making it impossible for webmasters to track which keywords were driving search traffic to their sites. (This is another tweak where the real impact has been mostly overblown.)
So what does this all mean for online marketers?
If you’re doing everything right – not a whole lot, really. Again, Google’s updates are geared toward weeding out the junk and returning the highest quality content available. More specifically, it’s looking for information that “engages, educates and incentivizes users to stay on a company’s website.”
This is great news for organizations that already invest heavily in video marketing, as video content covers all these points in spades. Online video:
- Creates a more engaging experience for visitors
- Maximizes message retention
- Keeps visitors on your site longer
This means Brainshark customers who are already creating lots of online video presentations to optimize and embed to their webpages have a leg up on brands who continue to stubbornly live in a text-only world.
Now does this mean that video is the only factor for improving SEO and avoiding the wrath of Google’s next update? Of course not. Keywords still means something, after all. So do compelling titles, effective linking, social signals and (more recently) Google authorship authority. As an online marketer, it’s important to prioritize content quality above all else, just like Google. Ultimately, the best stuff will rise to the top, keyword density be damned.
As Shell Robshaw-Bryan writes for Social Media Today, “sustainable and ethical content-focused techniques” are now the best form of SEO. These techniques primarily involve adding more value to the content you create – where video is an undeniably powerful tool.
In the end, responsible marketers who have moved on from the tired SEO techniques of old and create resources that are truly valuable to their audiences have no need to fear the next cuddly animal Google throws their way. Basic SEO best practices can still help you win some battles, but quality content will win the war.
For more on the SEO value of online video specifically, check out these resources below:
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