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If you thought you saw a rise or drop in your Search ranking you are not just imagining things. There is yet another change to Google’s algorithm. This time impacts the entire Google search journey, including local search rankings.

Google just released an update to its algorithm. Called the Helpful Content Update, this update started being rolled out in August 2022 and businesses have already experienced its effects. And just before the Helpful Content Update, The May 2022 Core Update rollout was confirmed on June 9, 2022 to have been completed. They do Core Updates several times per year and it often takes up to 2 weeks to rollout.

Simply put, it's designed to improve the results of Google Search and make good content more easily accessible. In this article, we'll discuss what this update means for SEO professionals and businesses.

What Has Changed?

With the Helpful Content Update, the Google algorithm is rewarding people-first content and has been devaluing content solely written for SEO purposes.

In a not-so-surprising move, Google has been iterating on implementing neural matching to its search rankings for years now. With neural matching, the meaning behind queries is considered instead of just the keywords entered. This is significant because it changes the way results will be displayed to users, and is combined with the overarching initiative to provide searchers with quality, helpful content.

When someone searches for your business, the user intent is factored in, along with how helpful the content is to people. It is no longer a matter of searching for a business name and then finding the business. Now, users can type in their query (example: website redesign services) and be matched with, for example, top web design agencies near them that have a 4.8-star review.

What This Means for Content Creators

Google Search wants to provide helpful information. They released the Helpful Content Update to focus on content written by people for people. Content should meet the expectations of the visitors to rank better. This means better ranking for quality content and more helpful product reviews written by experts.

Examples of non-Helpful content written for Google-first is those written by robots or overseas writers with high keyword density, or re-use of search terms over and over, without adding value to people, hence "people-first" content being deemed as Helpful Content.

Gone are the days of stuffing keywords or writing content for robots like the Googlebot.

What This Means For Local Search Marketing

As always, updates are always being tweaked with ongoing experiments. Therefore, rankings are not set in stone. While it is too early to tell how businesses are being impacted, the update could make local SEO easier for businesses as the focus shifts from keywords to user intent, and from content written for robots to helpful content and expert reviews, written by people for people.

If your business does not contain a keyword and helpful content that answers important user questions along the search journey, the Helpful Content Update may drop your rankings, making it much harder for both informational and local users to find it. This is particularly useful for devaluing older businesses that were named before SEO was a factor or those that valued branding more than a keyword-heavy name or content written solely for Google.

While the full impact of this update is not yet known, it is possible that practices like keyword stuffing Google My Business listings or setting up multiple keyword-heavy business names under different phone numbers will be penalized.

How Businesses and Content Creators Can Adapt

According to Google’s official word on the Helpful Content Update, businesses do not have to change anything in response to the update.

However, there are ways to take action if you are seeing a decrease in local rankings or a devalued or de-ranked page. Or if you are trying to push ahead of the competition in an ever-increasingly competitive market where it's "winner take all."

Here are a few local SEO tips you can use to work with the algorithm change:

It is possible that efforts to properly optimize your local search will be rewarded (while blackhat techniques result in punishment) with this new update.

Although it might sound like common sense, the Helpful Content Update is not something to worry about. Stick to tried and true SEO techniques and avoid shortcuts.

You Have an Ally in SEO

At Running SEO, we stay informed on the latest changes with Google. You can rely on us to optimize accordingly whenever a new update rolls out. Get in touch for a free SEO quote over at Key Medium (our parent company).

Starting a business is one of the most thrilling and challenging things you can do. It requires a lot of dedication, grit, and determination. A solid financial foundation is one of the most important aspects of starting a business. 

For many would-be entrepreneurs, the most significant barrier to starting their own business is a lack of funding. If you're in this boat, don't worry—there are plenty of ways to start a business with little to no money. Here are five tips to get you started:

Know Your Strengths And Build On Your Skills.

If you are on a shoestring budget, the best way to start a business is by using your existing skills and knowledge. Consider what you're good at and what you enjoy doing. These are the qualities that will help you succeed in business. 

You need money to get your business off the ground, pay yourself and your employees, build your product or service, market your business, create a logo to build your brand, and much more. 

For example, if you're a great cook, you could start a catering business. If you're handy with tools, you could start a home improvement business. If you're good with people, you could start a customer service-based business. 

The key is choosing something you're passionate about and building on your strengths. This will give you the best chance for success.

Once you know what you're good at, start thinking about how you can turn your skills into a business. 

Do Your Research Before Business Plan.

The next step is to do your research to create an effective business plan. This may seem daunting, but it's essential to have a roadmap for your business. 

Start by researching your industry and competitors. This will help you understand the landscape and what it takes to be successful. This includes basic keyword and SEO research.

Then, create a business plan that outlines your goals, plans out your strategies, and figure out how you will achieve these goals. This doesn't have to be a long, complicated document—a simple one-page business plan will suffice. 

But having a plan is essential to starting a business on a budget. It will help you focus your efforts and better use your resources.

Get Creative With Your Funding.

Once you have a business plan, it's time to start thinking about funding. You'll need to get creative if you don't have a lot of money to invest. 

One option is to look for grants and other funding opportunities. There are many programs out there that can help you get started. 

Another option is to crowdfund your business. This involves raising money from a large group, typically through an online platform. 

Crowdfunding can be a great way to raise the money you need to start your business without going into debt.

Find Low-Cost Or Free Resources.

Finding low-cost or free resources is essential when starting a business on a tight budget. Many online resources can help you get started, including templates, tools, and advice. 

One of the best places to start is with the Small Business Administration. The SBA offers a wealth of resources, including free counseling and training. 

Another great resource is your local chamber of commerce. This organization can provide you with networking opportunities, advice, and access to business resources. 

Regardless of the resource you choose, make sure it is:

• Authoritative: Look for resources that come from reliable sources. This means they should be from reputable organizations or experts in the field. 

• Current: Make sure the information is up-to-date. This is especially important for resources like templates, which can quickly become outdated. 

• Actionable: The best resources provide you with specific, actionable advice. This will help you take concrete steps to start and grow your business.

• Affordable: Remember you are on a tight budget, so look for low-cost or free resources.

Finally, don't forget about your network. Talk to family and friends about your business idea and see if they're willing to help. 

Start Small And Grow Over Time.

When you're starting a business on a shoestring budget, it's important to start small and grow over time. This means being realistic about your goals and expectations. 

Don't try to do too much too soon. Instead, focus on developing a strong foundation for your business. Then, you can gradually add new products, services, and employees as your business grows. 

Starting small means you'll need to be scrappy and resourceful. But it's the best way to get your business off the ground without breaking the bank. 

Final Thoughts on Starting a Business on a Shoestring Budget

Starting a business on a budget can be a challenge, but it's not impossible. By following these tips, you can give your business the best chance for success. 

Remember, patience, perseverance, and passion are key. With these qualities, you can build a successful business on any budget.

This post was contributed to RunningSEO by Milyn Anne.

We’ve all been customers of a business that offered a great product or service, but a terrible experience. It never fails; no matter how great that product is, if the customer experience is lacking, people tend to do business elsewhere.

Every business knows that customer experience is of the utmost importance and that it can either make or break things for them. But many business owners are unaware of how to transform the customer experience that they are already providing into something amazing that will build loyalty and customer retention.

The most successful transformations occur when businesses focus on three simple aspects.

If you are going to transform your business, there needs to be a cohesive vision with specific goals that are known and shared amongst your entire team. Determine the vision you have in regards to customer experience and ensure that there is buy-in within your organization. Getting everyone focused on specific goals and onboard to make the necessary changes, is imperative for successful change.

Figure out specific things that you can change that will increase customer experience. Much like holding a campaign, you will implement changes that will essentially redesign your brand. Set out with a new mission, vision, or slogan. Discover new ways to appear relevant and reach your target market. Redesign yourself so that you can be the business that consumers would be loyal to.

These steps are essential in the transformation process. They are known as critical enablers, and they are steps that literally enable you to make the changes that you need to make. These are the step-by-step instructions in a recipe. They are the guidebook that takes you through each aspect of your business, helping you reimagine it to look the way that it should. These critical enablers provide you with doable changes that you and your team need to follow to get there.

Once you have followed these steps through every area of your business, you will have made the transformations that you and your team set out to make. You will have new leads, conversions, and will be building a strong and loyal customer base.

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