The Biggest SEO Secret – The Real Keyword You Should Be Focusing on Is…

Content. That’s it. That’s the article.

But wait, what makes this the “biggest SEO secret,” and why are we so eager to give it to you?

For years, Lone Beacon has been stressing the importance of content to its clients. But for years, keyword stuffing and backlinking have been dirty little secrets in the SEO landscape. Keyword stuffing is a way to make your site rank for specific keywords while at the same time having no real relevant content. It’s how some tried to game the system and has been a constant battle for Google and its algorithm. Next week Google will ensure this is no longer the case. The king of search engines is set to roll out a new algorithm for SEO that not only will penalize your site but, in some cases, de-rank it from showing up in search results at all. OUCH!

Keyword Stuffing

An example of Keyword Stuffing

But Why?

Google’s goal for this new algorithm is to prioritize websites that hold real authority. Websites with a human touch – not just sites that are AI-generated or sites that have little to no substance. It’s no longer just what you say, but it’s how you say it.

“In particular, it will target content that seems to have been created primarily for ranking on search engines – ‘SEO-first’ content rather than human-first content,” Google stated in a recent blog.

Google has deemed this rollout the “Helpful Content” update. It’s said to be rolling out by the end of August and is likely to take about two weeks to roll out worldwide.

So, let’s look at some quick particulars:

The Target: The Helpful Content update aims to de-rank sites that were created with the main goal of ranking high in google searches. Period. If your site does not offer actual “human help,” it may fall prey.

Expected Impact: When asked, Google did not give specifics on what percentages of sites will be impacted; they just left us with one word, saying it would be “meaningful.” They also hinted that this would impact educational materials, entertainment, e-commerce, and tech-related content the most.

The Penalty Box: I wish this was like hockey, and I could tell you 5 mins for high-sticking, but that is not the case. Google has not confirmed nor denied this; however, it has been hinted that if your site is affected by the new algorithm, it will fall from the rankings relatively fast. And if Google deems your content is not helpful in any way, it may de-rank you completely. One thing this update seeks to do is de-rank pages that aggregate other sites’ reviews, known as “content farms,” without offering unique content on their own.

“For example, if you search for information about a new movie, you might have previously seen articles that aggregated reviews from other sites without adding perspectives beyond what’s available elsewhere. This isn’t very helpful if you’re expecting to read something new. With this update, you’ll see more results with unique, authentic information, so you’re more likely to read something you haven’t seen before.”

The Comeback: If you find that the “Helpful Content” rollout was not helpful to you and your site, don’t worry. You can be redeemed! You just need to review your site’s message and write fresh content based more on Google’s advice. This could take a few months, but it can be done. (And we can help!)

What Not to Do: Perhaps you’re working with an SEO Expert, and they think they can just move or bury the content deemed unhelpful to a subdomain or subfolder. After all, you took the time to write it, and it seems to get clicks. But is it helpful? If not, Google has your number! Because google will no longer be basing decisions on a page-by-page basis, rather it takes the whole site into account. So, one bad apple truly will spoil the bunch.

Danny Sullivan, Googles Public Search Liaison, has a strict message to those looking to work around the new algorithm rather than take their advice:

“… YOU’RE LIKELY MISSING THE MORE IMPORTANT POINT OF DOING THINGS FOR PEOPLE RATHER THAN SEARCH ENGINES. USE WHAT YOU THINK MAKES SENSE FOR THEM, AND YOU’RE DOING WHAT GOOGLE’S SYSTEMS SEEK TO REWARD.”

But Compliance!

We know, and we get it. In our industry, it’s hard to write content that doesn’t pass compliance. After all, there is no real way to answer the search query, “How do I have the perfect retirement?

That’s why you should focus on answering the questions you can and the ones that are helpful to people in your day-to-day conversations. A few examples would be:

  • “What is a Fiduciary?”
  • “When should I file for my Social Security, and what will I need when I do file for Social Security?”
  • “Should I take my pension as a lump sum or an annuity?”
  • “How will I pay for medical expenses in retirement?”

Recently, to better serve you and help you serve your clients, we rolled out a Frequently Asked Questions platform that allows you to do just that: Present real solutions to real questions.

But how do I know if my content is good?

Ask yourself this question; “After reading my content, will someone leave feeling they’ve learned enough about a topic to help achieve their goal?” If not, it may be time to review your content.

But how can I ensure I’m creating content that will be successful with this new update?

“By following our long-standing advice to create content for people, not for search engines.” Google says, “People-first content creators focus first on creating satisfying content while also utilizing SEO best practices to bring searchers additional value. Answering yes to the questions below means you’re probably on the right track with a people-first approach:”

  • Do you have an existing or intended audience for your business or site that would find the content useful if they came directly to you?
  • Does your content clearly demonstrate first-hand expertise and a depth of knowledge (for example, expertise that comes from having actually used a product or service or visiting a place)?
  • Does your site have a primary purpose or focus?
  • Will someone reading your content leave feeling like they’ve had a satisfying experience?

What Have We Learned?

To quote our co-founder, John Capuano, “Content is King.” And we don’t mean content written like a college student stretching a paragraph into a 5-page essay. We mean real, engaging, and impactful content. That’s what Google wants, and more importantly, that’s what the “Googler” wants.

So, remember – content for people, not for search engines.

If you would like a review or refresh of your website’s content, a review of your current SEO strategy, or are interested in Lone Beacon’s services, click below to contact us!

Fun Fact: As of April 2022, 92.49% of all search queries across all search engine providers are done through Google. Even the new “privacy first” search engine Duck Duck Go uses Google’s database to propagate its results. So, this will not just affect Google. But it will trickle down to every search engine platform as well.

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