It’s that time of year again. The time when we recall the lies we were fed about the history of Thanksgiving, and put on our big girl pants to face intrusive questions from relatives.
This time of year inevitably inspires reflection on what we are grateful for. Including, but not limited to:
After the year that we’ve all had, we wanted to explore the latter, and share why we’re grateful for the Helpful Content Update. Let’s take a look:
As we ramp up daily torso stretching in preparation for stuffing our turkeys and ourselves, we reflect on a classic topic: Keyword stuffing.
We absolutely love bread. And we love bread sliced into tiny pieces, mixed with vegetables, covered in broth, and baked in meat fat. What a treat!
We also love keywords.
What we don’t love is that some marketers were taught to repeat their target term throughout a page in order to rank, and nothing else. No no no, just no.
Not only is this a bad experience for readers, it’s also discouraged by the algorithm. What remains encouraged is using related terms.
We love surrounding target keywords with related terms. This gives Google all the context it could possibly want to place your page on its encyclopedia shelf. If you’re trying to rank for turkey, including terms about mashed potatoes, gravy, and cranberry sauce indicates that you’re talking about thanksgiving, and not state hunting laws.
SEO side dishes – keyword strategy:
It’s never been enough to have one page about turkey and call yourself the authority on Thanksgiving.
Just as we surround our basted/deep fried/overcooked dead birds with all the fixins that our families love, we need to write pages on topics related to the terms we want to be known for.
Here’s an example:
We hear all the time that people want to rank for their most bottom-of-funnel terms. Think: CRM Software.
These are the terms that people in buying mode will be searching to convert on your site, take a demo, and enter your sales funnel. It’s incredibly tempting to focus all of your energy on those terms.
BUT. Google requires context.
If you want to be understood as the authority on CRM Software, you cannot neglect the related topics of:
Not only is this…ahem…helpful…to searchers as they research, it also builds out your wedge into the “CRM” topic and helps Google classify what you do.
*Food for thought*
Which brings us to…
Think back to a time when you were disappointed by a lackluster Thanksgiving meal. Maybe some of your favorites were missing this year, or the gravy was too thin (😱).
Disappointment aside, it turns out that Google doesn’t like this behavior either.
People who used AI to generate pages to get ahead in the search results are now paying the price.
It goes against what Google has always preached, which is, focus on a rich experience and providing relevant answers to what people are seeking, and you’ll be rewarded.
AI generated web pages with thin content was one of the main targets of the Helpful Content update. Imagine going to load your plate at Thanksgiving and winding up with nothing but crumbs. Nobody can fill up on a big ole’ nothing burger.
So ask yourself, is AI writing a good experience for readers? Do people like seeing the same content over and over again that circles around their question, but doesn’t really answer it? To make content that wins on Google, you need to provide value to site visitors, and AI writing doesn’t have the expertise required to produce a finished result.
Which brings us to…
Stick to your trusted recipes:
We are also grateful that the Helpful Content update rewards expertise.
In your SEO content, Google is now trying to quantify depth, relevancy, and actual expertise. They’re trying to weed out the people who are technically following the rules, but only answering questions at a kindergarten level.
So, do the following:
It’s the difference between Aunt Glenda’s famous apple pie, who sticks to pie, serves it every year, gets better all the time, and bakes the best version of apple pie you’ve ever had (rewarded by Google!), and a generic apple pie your in-law bought at the store because they’ve never cooked a day in their life (punished by Google!).
Finally, a foray into new topics should be thoughtful. If you’ve historically sold customer support software, and are now branching out into the CRM space, make sure that your new content is as good as, or better than, the other sites that’ve been promoting expert CRM software content.
Within the world of SEO, there are hundreds of factors in Google’s algorithm. We break those into three key parts: infrastructure (Technical SEO), content (On-Page SEO), and endorsements (Off-Page SEO).
Typically, infrastructure is limited in positive impact. Endorsements are highly impactful, but extremely difficult to scale.
Content is in the sweet spot – it has a ton of potential impact and is nearly infinitely scalable. If you are regularly publishing content, the rest is gravy. As long as…you have the right tool.
Excellent experience for searchers:
Reader experience is absolutely HUGE in the Helpful Content world. This can be categorized in two ways. First, create highly specific pages for what people are searching for, and second, be sure that the experience on that page matches the searcher’s intent.
If a user is searching for a CRM platform – be sure to have a specific page for that term, in which you share information about your full platform offering.
If they’re searching for a CRM Platform Demo – put your full demo video at the top of that page, and be sure to have a readily available CTA if they want to speak with sales.
On the flip side – if they have a question about a CRM automation guide, that is not a great place for a demo video. It’s a great place to offer a guide.
According to the pics that we’ve seen of the pilgrims, we think they must have specialized in black hat SEO. They took the shortcuts, they abused the system, and look where it got them.
Creating a highly relevant, helpful experience is great for searchers, and also a highly-defensible strategy to keep your site safe against future algorithm updates.
Google is always striving to reward the behaviors that create great search experiences for searchers, and punish the things that do not.
The Demandwell methodology has always been built on creating a good experience for searchers and for Google. It helps customers create a keyword strategy, use related terms in SEO content, and scale content production to build out their libraries.
Following this methodology results in much less stress anytime there’s a new algorithm update. While some panic about their rankings tanking, we (and our customers) rest easy…like post-Thanksgiving-meal easy.