Google’s “FRED” – What You Need to Know for Breakthrough SEO in 2017


May 3, 2017 | Social Media & Online

You might recall that Google introduced its game changing “Hummingbird” search engine algorithm a few years ago with much fanfare. Hummingbird signaled a significant change in the SEO world and the way senior living marketers approached their brand’s presence online.

However, the changes to SEO ranking methodology did not stop with the implementation of Hummingbird. Rather, they have very quietly continued to morph and evolve. And unless you’re a card-carrying member of the “Geek Squad,” you’re probably not even aware of the latest changes that directly impact your message construction and, in turn, your online visibility to consumers.

Why You Need to Know About Google’s “FRED”

What you don’t know CAN hurt you. This is especially true in the constantly evolving SEO space in the digital marketing world. With the continuous refinement of SEO algorithms, your tactics for breaking through the competitive clutter to reach your target audience needs to be kept current as well.

This is particularly true in senior living where information seekers routinely use web searches to locate pertinent information and provider options. It is vital that your information be visible to them.

The newly introduced Google search engine ranking methodology called “FRED,” (Seriously!) has already resulted in many organizations’ online content rankings being significantly downgraded, according to trade insight. This update means it is time for providers to review their online content and take stock of what is helping—and hurting—their website’s SEO.

Why Your Digital Brand MUST Be Current for 2017

Sean Ochester, Executive Vice President of Digital & Integrated Strategy, says, “If you are a growth-focused senior living or senior care provider, it is imperative that you understand the changes that accompanied ‘FRED’ and take immediate steps to modify your marketing approach accordingly. This will help you to achieve the kind of high-visibility messaging you need for effective lead generation, successful sales funnel management and sustained growth.

“Specifically, the changes in the ‘FRED’ algorithm further reinforce search engine preference for content that:

  1. Has real meaning, value and usefulness to your prospects and customers

  2. Avoids overly promotional or ad-laden text and internal links

  3. Is supported by backlinks to authoritative sites that establish or reinforce the legitimacy and credibility of your community’s message

“Or, stated another way, ‘FRED’ penalizes content that is low in relevance and utility value to users; appears to be written solely for search ranking purposes; is ad-heavy; and uses low quality backlinks that have low domain authority for the subject matter.”

How the Science of Digital Writing Gets Proven Results

One of the tools we use at SageAge to continually maximize your brand profile is called ‘digital writing.’ This technique involves creating keyword optimized content in a digital framework that meets the criteria of the latest web search algorithms.

“As an example,” says Sean, “SageAge Strategies develops website content and blog articles for our clients that focus on usability, readability and style. We believe that content is the most effective way to ignite meaningful relationships. But even the greatest content must be combined with a remarkable experience to reach its full potential. A positive user experience paired with great content keeps your visitors engaged by allowing them to easily choose the content journey that makes sense for them.

“In today’s competitive digital marketplace, writing a nice article and posting it online is no longer sufficient for generating the level of exposure and desired response for your community. For maximum effect, your key benefits, advantages and points of differentiation must now be presented in a detailed digital context that search engines will respond to favorably and give you the high-profile exposure you’re looking for.

“The science of ‘digital writing’ for breakthrough marketing involves several key components. For sake of brevity, we’ll touch on some of the more important ones as they pertain to ‘FRED’”. For example:

  • Focus on what is most important to your audience – Create relevant content that helps them in their life, i.e., that provides answers to their questions, solutions to their problems, and offers useful advice that focuses more on their needs than selling your ‘product.’ This can also help to establish you as a senior living “thought leader” in the mind of your target audience.

  • Build authority for your brand message – Select authoritative backlinks for your website pages and blogs that add credibility to your message. Sean says, “For example, when we develop content for a memory care client about the benefits of their social engagement programs, we frequently include links to related articles by the Mayo Clinic® or the Alzheimer’s Association® that discusses the evidence for why these types of therapies improve the lives of Alzheimer’s residents.”

  • Apply the science of “digital writing” – Effective “digital writing” involves many detailed elements from using primary and secondary keywords that match actual senior living search data to optimal word counts, keyword ratios, paragraph density, subhead use, bulleted lists for easy readability, and meta titles and descriptions.

While it might seem a bit complex, “digital writing” can mean the difference between your information appearing on page one of a prospect’s search results or page seven.

SageAge Strategies: Leading the Way in Digital Marketing, Lead Generation and Growth

At SageAge, our professional team excels in the latest business best-practices for “digital writing” and digital marketing techniques. They’ve been trained in all aspects of SEO communications, and they are updated on a timely basis when new SEO algorithms are introduced. This enables us to achieve superior results for senior living providers in the areas of web page content generation, social media initiatives, blogging, and overall search engine ranking performance.

If you need assistance in the leading-edge areas of digital marketing and SEO-based content development, contact us today to learn more.  And find out if your content is in sync with Google’s new “FRED” algorithm through our unique SEO Content Analysis Report!

SageAge Strategies is a multiple award-winning, strategic growth and marketing organization that operates exclusively in the senior living industry. For more information, please call or e-mail Adrienne Mansfield Straub at 570-601-1720 ext. 100 /

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