Premium copywriters should be jubilant about Hummingbird. Google’s latest algorithm is able to hone in on good quality writing and reward it with high search ranking. Now Google’s crawlers can discern the strings of words and phrases that make up well-written text; they are getting better at making associations between natural language terms and are able to recognise good writing when they see it.
Hummingbird has propelled quality content to the next level. It puts content at the forefront of online marketing and is going to be instrumental in raising content marketing from a buzz phrase to mainstream marketing practice. Because businesses need to be visible. And Google says, if you want to be visible, deliver quality information to your market.
What it means for writers
The rise of content marketing to #1 in marketing strategy is great news for good writers. For quite a while, top quality writing has played second fiddle to sheer content volume, which average writers are capable of producing. Now it’s the very best writers who are going to be in much greater demand, thanks to the evolution of Google’s search algorithms, from Panda to Penguin to Hummingbird, and even to engaging Google+ to identify the authority behind the content.
With the power of Google behind them, good writers are finally being elevated to where they belong in the marketing world, up there with great designers, innovative brand-smiths, astute strategists and digital fundis.
What it means for business owners
Not all businesses are happy about Hummingbird. Google has been continuously raising the bar, requiring them to frequently update their websites to stay up front in Google’s search ranking. Panda prompted them to get rid of junk content, Penguin prevented them from using masses of artificially created links to their sites, and now Hummingbird will force them to get serious about using good quality content on their websites. Google is even able to toss out content that is riddled with grammar and spelling errors or that doesn’t look original or unique.
For businesses this means that they need to review how they are using written content in their online marketing strategies. The old adage that ‘content is king’ has never been truer than in today’s context of content marketing, where quality content is making a comeback as the cornerstone of any marketing campaign.
The call for education
In content marketing, sales start with education. In the staggeringly vast and competitive environment of online marketing, those websites that are successfully driving sales are the ones that are educating people about the benefits of doing business with them. And those that are doing it with good content are seeing exponential growth in their results.
Educational content attracts links, builds your authority in the market and develops trust. Marketing legend Seth Godin says that online authority feeds into the primal psychological need for people to belong and follow their leader. Tap into this phenomenon and you can create an audience of followers who will readily engage with you online and share your content with their peers. And the result for your business can be greater ranking in search engines, with commensurate growth in your marketing reach.
The call for constant content
The other impact of Google’s algorithms is that production of content now needs to be constant, not just incident driven. Yes, Google does look at how recently your content has been added and at how frequently you are posting new copy. In fact, the Panda-Penguin-Hummingbird formula also looks for ‘fresh’ copy – is it new, is it original, is it topical, is it relevant in its context?
This actually translates into good news for businesses, as Google is now providing all the incentives you need to create a successful content marketing campaign: the more content you produce, the more aggressive your marketing strategy; and the better the quality of your content, the greater your visibility and the greater your return on investment.
From sideline to mainstream
The essence of online content marketing has become, thanks to Google, how you use your brand stories and relevant articles to engage the attention of your target market and convert people into followers, who can then be turned into leads and sales. We’ve been watching the buzz about content marketing for a couple of years now. With the introduction of Hummingbird, it’s set to go mainstream.