How can video content fly with the Google Hummingbird search?

Fancy a new search algorithm along with your birthday cake? You do if you're Google, which celebrated its 15th in style the other week with a new way of retrieving search queries - the Hummingbird.

This change could make a dramatic difference to how many visitors see your content, but don't panic. Read on as we explain ways to keep your videos flying...

Firstly, why the hummingbird? Because it's fast and precise, and according to Google, should produce better, speedier results for users. Sounds good so far, but how does it do that?

The major change here is towards conversational search – from 'results' to 'answers'. This search engine now takes account of how people ask questions and talk naturally rather than the more formal way that they type questions into a box. This change is to meet the demands of people's searches on mobile. When users verbally ask their search questions through Siri or similar tools, they use a more conversational tone, but expect faster, more accurate results than a keyword search provides.

Instead of just using keywords in your search query to find content for you, the new algorithm can understand the whole search term and assess your intention. Very clever stuff…

…but what does this update mean for video marketing?

The changes will take some time to settle in as this is significant shift for search (estimated to affect 90% of search queries worldwide) and has SEO experts h-umming and ahhhing over the consequences. However, by going back to basics and putting your audience first when creating and sharing your videos, your content could still fly… 

Video content to answer questions 

The good news is that original, high quality video content still works. Video marketing needs to put the audience at the centre of content creation to answer users' questions and meets their needs. Think about what your content is actually offering the user. Let's take "how to…" videos as an example. Google will look for content which really answers the question, rather than that which just contains specific keywords. Are you really meeting their needs or just pushing a sales message or short-term SEO fix? 

Context for your video content

Much pre-Hummingbird SEO advice still stands, so it's important to show Google what the content is with schema markup and ensure you have a video sitemap. With a greater emphasis on the long-tail search, a narrow emphasis on keyword optimisation will diminish. But the context of your video gains even greater significance and video content should be on a landing page with rich, relevant, optimised text to capitalise on the long-tail search terms and to offer more relevant content to users.

Are you really ready for mobile?

Hummingbird is all about mobile – the demos of the new algorithm were all on mobile handsets, signifying their importance in this new world of search. It's back to the audience again and how they engage with your brand whether they're at their desks, watching telly or on their way to work. Video content can offer a real opportunity here to engage people on the move who are looking for snacks of quality content. And what's even better is that they're more likely to share on social channels with all the associated SEO benefits.  

Social media – it's all about conversations

Social media and social signals are still fundamental to video marketing and video SEO (unlike the real hummingbirds which are quite solitary and not very social…) The importance of getting social makes perfect sense when you think that the semantic web is more about users' intentions rather than keywords.

Chatting on social is not about pushing your messages, it's a conversation. By having authentic conversations with your audience and finding out what matters to them, you can start to effectively engage with them. Through those interactions, you can produce content that is useful for them and answers their questions. This will help keep your brand visible in the blended search results, and bring more interested customers to your content.

And don't forget to make sure that all your video content is easy for your users to share with their friends (you don't want them to keep it all to themselves!)

Join the conversation

Follow us on our social channels for updates on how Hummingbird will affect video marketing. If you want to discuss ways in which video content can help answer your customers' Google conversational searches, contact us for a chat.

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