By Jeff George
SEO Copywriting Before & After Google Hummingbird
After Google’s release of the Hummingbird update, SEO copywriting is just well-written copy with well-placed keywords and accurate and useful, descriptive metadata attributed to it. There once was a time when keyword stuffing and other grey/black hat techniques would actually work temporarily, but those days are over.
SEO Copywriting Post Hummingbird
The entire integrated spectrum of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) relies on the creativity, expediency, and efficacy of content creations. SEO copywriting, since its inception, has been comprehensively dependent on the algorithm practices of Google. Over the years, this search engine giant has come up with increasingly complicated algorithms to exterminate every possible manipulative optimization technique, poorly written or low quality content, and spam on its search results pages. Google’s vision perfectly aligns with quality web marketing practices.
SEO Copywriting Landscape Prior to Hummingbird
Even a few years back, the concept of SEO copywriting entirely concentrated on maximizing the use of keywords. The whole industry crystallized around the concept of incorporating a certain percentage of generic and specific keywords in their content while selling messages and managing content creativity around the key phrases. The content world was jolted into the harsh reality of Google Hummingbird. After this algorithm, if you are still focusing on keyword density percentages instead of creating the best content possible, you have a long way to go.
How Copywriting Evolved
To be more precise, Hummingbird has been preceded by Panda and Penguin – two of the earlier Google algorithm versions. These two algorithms were completely revised and re-engineered to launch Hummingbird in 2013. This new algorithm made it nearly impossible for malicious spammers to infiltrate and upended most of the Search Engine Optimization copywriting practices of the yore. With Hummingbird, Google is consistently transforming the comprehensive search dynamics. It expects the user to search in ways that includes –
- Question – searching by inquiring different questions
- Mobile search – searching while on the move
- Anticipate – anticipating what a user is looking for even before the search strings are finished to increase the speed of information delivery
These steps will usher in new changes in the process of copywriting and help in establishing unique nuances in content. This algorithm is also a stride towards processing ‘real’ speech pattern where the search engine generates results even by processing conversational queries.
Page Authority, Keywords, & Semantic Relevance
Building on page authority is important as Hummingbird rewards authority. It advocates depth over surface, information over fluff, backup over bluff, and a compelling collection of facts, data, and information. Each of these ingredients meshed together propels the authority of page by establishing its content quality. Keywords, so far, play a significant role post Hummingbird. However, the outdated technique of employing a same keyword and keyword string repeatedly throughout the content is the biggest faux pas that can ruin the credibility and ranking of your page. The long tail searches are highly likely to be characterized by human needs and desires and not just keyword strings. Keywords still remain a fundamental strategic tool but the writer must find interesting methods to redefine the keywords in meaningful ways. Most notably, content writers must move beyond the limiting constraints of keywords to offer depth and breadth in their content and copy. Page authority and intelligent use of keywords are intrinsically related with semantic relevance. Your content must communicate to a precise need with in-depth knowledge in a particular topic or area. In hindsight, Google’s Hummingbird is a step that will encourage serious content creation which upholds and endorses the value of quality over mindless gimmick and spam content.
5 Google SEO “Hummingbird-friendly” Copywriting Tips
Good content usually has 1 primary focus and should always be more relevant than creative. It should always keep the reader’s attention. It is important to stay on point so that your article does not seem cluttered or difficult to read. When you write, don’t worry about impressing your competitors or anyone other than the reader. The main goal should be getting your point across clearly and directly to the website’s user. Everyone should be able to read and understand your website. A good rule of thumb is to write at a 9th grade level when you’re writing website content. If the words you’re using are not commonly said or the sentence structure of your sentences is too difficult for the average person to read, chances are your website will not appeal to everyone and in turn this will only hurt your ranking with the search engines.
1. Write for People and Forget About the Search Engines
That means make bullet lists, give lots of white space between paragraphs, and make headings worth reading. People don’t read at first, they scan. Write and format in a way that is easy for them to see the important words. Expect people to skim instead of reading line per line. Break each paragraph into bit size reading. Use a format that is visually appealing with images, colors, and language.
2. Use Headline Formulas
Headlines work by bringing the reader in and getting them to stop scanning and start reading. The best SEO copywriting is using what works and headline formulas do work. A good headline formula to follow is the “who-what-why.” For example: “Have You Been Secretly Penalized by Google?”
3. Users Read 24% More When You Use Numbers
Numbers grab the reader’s attention. For example: “The Top 5 Tips To Gaining More Readers Through SEO Copywriting.”
4. Use Bold and Italic, Instead of CAPITALIZATION
That’s pretty much all I can say on that one.
5. Use Power Words
Power words are usually adjectives that draw the reader in. For example, the phrase “Must Read” works well along with “Free.” A power word in a title should be written at the beginning like this: ” 5 Free Must Have WordPress Plugins.” The power words are “Free” and “Must Have” in this case. Put some thought into this and you will see your click through rate increase.
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