Previously, the basis of online and content marketing was largely based upon keyword research. Marketers analyzed keywords to understand exactly how customers searched and arrived to their site. They used their findings to improve search engine results and create campaigns around keywords that were proven to work.
Google has totally changed it's algorithm through the release of Hummingbird. The changes are meant to take into account the whole search query rather than certain keywords. It's about a bigger picture and the natural evolution of search. That being said, it's still important to create quality content regularly. Here's what you can continue to do in light of these changes.
1. Continue to engage
Although you can no longer determine the exact keywords that are driving people to your site, you can still see which URLs drove conversions. This means that you will still be able to see what sections of your site are performing the best and which need to perform better, based on your key performance indicators. It is still important to continue to engage with your audience. See what pieces of content work and from there drive them to make conversions.
2. Don't completely give up on keywords
There are still some methods you can use to see which keywords are producing traffic:
- Adwords: Marketers can still use AdWords to create a campaign to see keywords that are driving traffic. Google has replaced it's previous Keyword Tool with Keyword Planner, which may help improve research for paid search campaigns. Keyword Planner is only accessible to those who have an Adwords account.
- Bing and Yahoo!: It's also important to note that other search engines continue to pass along keyword data. You may not receive the full picture anymore but you can still get some indication of useful keywords.
3. Continue to create quality content
If you continue to create for your audience, write high quality content, and link to relevant websites your website is still going to rank well. People will continue to click on content links, keeping optimized content high in search results.
4. A mobile strategy is becoming even more essential
Google is continuing to focus on mobile and how to offer a better experience the user. This change is meant to facilitate Google in providing accurate and fast search results for mobile users. Since Hummingbird enables Google to better understand complex search queries, a proper mobile strategy is going to be essential.
Search data is continuously evolving. Marketers just need to become a bit more savvy in the content they produce. The stress is now, more than ever, on quality content and how you deliver it. It's time to listen, connect, and provide value - all to better serve users.