SEO and Hummingbirds: Why Don’t They Like me?


Unless the search query has the word Catholic in it, then Google uses the algorithm method. And a search for New Orleans music has an algorithm and blues applied to it.

Last summer I placed a lovely hummingbird feeder outside my apartment window to provide the little fellows with a bit of a respite as they went about their business. I hung it in mid-May in case the old adage about early birds getting the freshest red-colored sugar water was true. Well I needn’t have bothered because by the time I brought in the feeder in October, not one signature appeared in the guestbook.

Yep, all summer and not one hummingbird, zilch, zippo, nada, goose-egg (frankly I’d have had a better chance of getting a visit from a goose than a hummingbird). In fairness there was a whole lot of masonry work being done on the wall across from the feeder that may have scared off potential dippers, but that wasn’t the case on weekends, where were they on Saturdays and Sundays?

Fool that I am I’ll probably give it a go again this summer.

Hummingbird AlgorithmHaving been snubbed by actual hummingbirds all summer, my avian troubles continued with the introduction in September of Google’s new Hummingbird Algorithm.

Any blogger or webpage owner or administrator worth his or her salt has come up against the concept of Search Engine Optimization or SEO as it is usually referred to. In other words, how do I get more traffic flowing to my site by being more visible in search results? What will make me stand out in a vast forest of search returns?

SEO advice has become a huge industry unto itself, with article after article banging on about essentially the same things. (My favourite is always the first step to getting more traffic – create quality content – no shit, I never would have thought of that.) For those of us on WordPress.com, we are told repeatedly that all is taken care of for us. This is nice to know, but does make me wonder a wee bit sometimes.

When Google returns results for a search it uses things called algorithms. Unless the search query has the word Catholic in it, then Google uses the algorithm method. And a search for New Orleans music has an algorithm and blues applied to it. Since the Hummingbird Algorithm started crawling through pages there has been a flood of people claiming their traffic has been negatively affected; me among them.

Yeah I’m lookin’ for the king of 42nd Street
He drivin’ a drop top Cadillac
Last week he took all my money
And it may sound funny
But I come to get my money back

– Jim Croce You Don’t Mess Around With Jim

Feeling a bit like Willie McCoy in the Jim Croce song, while it may sound funny, I’d like to get my traffic back!

My traffic has been down by about 50% since last September, what a coincidence. Feeling a bit like Willie McCoy in the Jim Croce song, while it may sound funny, I’d like to get my traffic back! Did the quality of my blog drop radically since last September? Nope, if anything it has increased if CNN linking to me and a few of my posts being published in print is any indication. Did I start paying for back-links? No. Did I pay for traffic? I most certainly did not. My keyword use has always been minimal and I don’t duplicate my content on other sites.

I’m such a swell guy. So what did I ever do to annoy the Hummingbirds?

Me DCMontreal is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and Freans and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DC on Twitter @DCMontreal and on Facebook, and add him on Google+
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