What the toot? Google, Hummingbird and the English language

suburban-taxi-toot-adelaide Photo Steve DavisA taxi driver ignoring instructions and honking his horn, opens today’s reflection on the language we use in our online marketing.

This is increasingly important in the wake of Google applying its Hummingbird update recently, which has smashed traffic to some websites by 20 per cent.

Baby you can toot my horn

I always use the Suburban Taxis app to book my cabs and choose the inbuilt message, please do not toot.

I do this so I don’t wake the household or neighbours at ungodly hours.

However, last week, my cabbie arrived and blasted his horn.

As we drove away, he pointed to the display of my message and asked, ‘what does toot mean?’

Upon reflection, the choice of the word ‘toot’ is an odd one.

While most native English speakers would be familiar with the term, it is rarely used by adults and primarily used in children’s stories.

Given that most taxi drivers in Australia only have English as a second language, it might be better to use simpler terminology.

This same thinking should apply to the wording you use in your online marketing.

Favourite words can sink your marketing

If you use favourite words and phrases that your target market is NOT familiar with, you will be making it harder for Google to connect you with them.

Google works hard to understand your content and match it to words and phrases that people use in the search engine.

The latest update to the search algorithm, called Hummingbird, has increased Google’s ability to understand the meaning or semantic context of what people are searching.

This means that Google is scouring your content more deeply to gets its contextual meaning.

As a result, if you have been writing robotically in vain hope of ‘tricking’ Google with stuffed keywords, or using detestable automated blogging systems, you are about to watch your website disappear into irrelevance.

The Marketing Over Coffee guys report that some such sites have watched Google traffic drop by a dramatic 20 per cent overnight.

However, if you follow the blogging and online content approach I have been preaching through Baker Marketing since 2004, you will not only be immune from such drops but your traffic may well be on the increase.

Write for people first, Google will follow

The simple formula this new Google era has brought is the approach of going back to basics.

Get familiar with your target market, the questions that lead to search behaviour, the questions when deciding between products or services, and the questions that arise during and after purchase.

And if you are a retailer, new research shows that 49 per cent of grocery shoppers are googlIng product reviews while in store, so watch that habit develop further here in Australia.

You see, there are plenty of things to write about and plenty of angles to approach it from.

The more content you create, blanketing the sales funnel or pathway, the better your prospects for being prospected.

And if you remember our taxi driver, keep your language simple, so that you can hear his toot as he arrives at your website.



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