Over the past few years, SEO experts the world over have been banging on about how old-school SEO and the black-hat way of things was something of a dying art form. It now appears that they were more on the money than they’d have even thought themselves as here we are in mid-2014 and said old-school SEO is truly dead and buried.
For those of you out there wondering exactly what falls into the category of old-school SEO and whether you’re affected, it basically refers to any kind of SEO that involves taking the fast or the easy way out. The same applies for if any or all of your SEO strategy is based on a hack, a trick or anything else that goes against the grain of what you know very well to be organic SEO.
In terms of examples, you and your business are in plenty of trouble right now if your SEO strategy incorporates:
- Link building that does not take into account the quality of the source – i.e. favouring quantity over quality despite the fact that the source site has nothing to do with your niche and/or no authority. Doing so will earn you nothing but penalty points and a place at the bottom of the ladder.
- The spinning of dozens of pages across your website in order to make use of as many variations of your primary keyword or keyword phrase as possible. Hummingbird has taken Google well beyond the realms of single word keyword searches and now looks at context – keyword spamming is simply a fruitless endeavour as of right now.
These represent just two examples of what not to do these days if you’re looking to win any favour at all with the powers that be. There are hundreds more, but you get the idea.
So that’s the bigger picture covered, but what does this all mean for local SEO?
Local SEO – Why it Matters Now More than Ever
The key takeaway from the whole thing is the point made earlier that Google now looks at longer-tail keyword searches in order to search by context and relevance. To put it into a working example, you could do a search for “Cheap lunch in Sheffield” and the list of results you will be presented with will fit the bill entirely. What’s important to note here is that at no point does the search include words like ‘café’ or ‘restaurant’ and yet this is precisely what Google sends your way.
This, ladies and gentlemen, is Hummingbird in full flight.
You should be able to work out from this the effect Google’s change is having on local SEO. When people go to Google and look for something they need including the area it’s in, the engine will be able to return results only of complete and total relevance as opposed to the rather vague and all-too abundant results the same search would have triggered previously.