Google Hummingbird Affect Video Marketing

How Will Google Hummingbird Affect Video Marketing?

Twitter Facebook Author Lizzie Davey on October 11, 2013

Over the past couple of weeks you might have seen a number of references to Google Hummingbird. For the search savvy types, this might cause a little confusion since we are used to seeing Google typically partnered with a black and white animal of some kind; Panda and Penguin, anyone? These updates notoriously rocked the world of marketing when they emerged, and many webmasters are still suffering the consequences today.

Since these monochromatic species emerged on the search engine scene, one mantra has risen above all others, changing the way information has been prioritized based on its quality.

Don’t tell me you haven’t heard the “Content is King” spiel before.

Then, it all went a bit quiet on the Google front until recently, when Google offered a double whack in the face with their encryption of keyword search terms and, now, the much-talked about Hummingbird algorithm.

Firstly, what is Google Hummingbird?

What comes to mind when you think of a Hummingbird? Fast, precise, consistent? These are the exact characteristics Google hope to mimic with the new update, providing results quicker, more consistently, and more accurately than ever before.

How, you ask, is it going to do that? Surely Google was already at the top of its game? I mean, we were all able to access millions of pictures of cute animals with just the click of a button, right?

In the past, Google determined the results of a search by analysing the keywords typed into the search bar and returning sites that included these keywords as, quite obviously, these were thought to be the most useful. However, this gave webmasters the chance to game the system by padding out not so good content with numerous keywords to ensure that Google considered it a useful site.

Hummingbird, on the other hand, focuses less on keywords and more on conversation and questions. The term semantic search has been thrown around recently, but it’s more a case of Google responding to what people say to it, like they would if they were another human. Instead of analysing keywords and bringing back pages and pages of keyword-stuffed content, the new algorithm allows Google to understand questions and entire sentences, meaning it is a lot more precise than before.

Hummingbird has changed Google search into a space for answers rather than results.

Look at it this way. Before the Hummingbird update, I might have wanted to search for “galleries in Europe where I can see art by Salvador Dali”. With the old algorithm, Google would have maybe picked up on “galleries in Europe” and “art by Salvador Dali”, bringing back a whole load of sites that probably wouldn’t have helped me out at all. Now, though, it considers the entire phrase; it knows that I want to go and physically see art by Salvador Dali in galleries around Europe, so it will only return results that tell me how I can do this.

It’s all about mobile, too. With the vast majority of internet users logging on via their smartphones, Hummingbird aims to be optimised hugely for this purpose. Those on the go might use the Siri tool or something similar to quickly ask a question, which means Google has to be able to understand conversation.

How does Google Hummingbird affect Video?

With “Content is King” echoing around the interweb and an increased focus on visual information, video has rocketed past other types of content as it can be easily digested by users who want snippets of information on the go. More and more, marketers are using video as their main form of content; and why wouldn’t they? It has all the characteristics for being visually appealing, informative, and easily shareable.

So, how does the algorithm affect video marketing efforts? In reality, it shouldn’t affect it too much at all, provided you are producing great quality videos packed with useful, interesting information.

In the same way that written content has to answer the user’s questions, so does video. If you continue to tap into what your audience want and need, then you shouldn’t notice any difference. If you are placing video on your site, make sure it’s on a page that complements the content; combining visual content with quality written content can only mean great things. It’s double the answers, and double the information.

Getting Social with Hummingbird

The social side of video marketing remains the same, if not more important. With Google encouraging a more conversational approach, is it any wonder that social angles are continuing to thrive? At the end of the day, it’s all just a part of the dialogue between the user and the content.

Does this finally mean that SEO is dead?

It’s the million-dollar question that gets everyone humming and ahhing. But, no, SEO is not yet dead. You still need to understand what the consumer is asking and be able to answer that – whilst making it obvious that you have the answer. Keyword optimising is no longer a viable technique, so video marketers are required to optimise their content in other ways, to ensure a comprehensive user experience. More than ever, we have to think about ways in which we can make our content visible so, no, SEO is definitely not dead, we just need to change the way we think about it.

What does the future hold for video?

Video continues to be easily shareable and informative and, until it is no longer either of these, is a fantastic tool for any company. It’s a great way to answer your customer and client questions and is the perfect medium for social sharing and generating conversation around your product.

Finally, it’s easy to see what consumers want, and by all accounts that is visual content; Vine has just reached 40 million monthly users; Instagram now has over 150 million monthly users; and YouTube has a whopping 1 billion unique visitors every month, and this is still on the rise. It doesn’t look like it’s going to stop any time soon, does it?

In light of this, it makes sense that “Content is King” should be changed to “Visual Content is King”.

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