Improving Credit Scores – The Disconnect Between Searching and Content

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I’ve been doing a lot of keyword research and other types of SEO information gathering and I’ve noticed that there can be a pretty wide disconnect between how people use search engines and how search engines deliver the search results.

For example, if you do some research on the keyword phrase ‘credit score’ you’ll find that many people search in the first person.  Searches like, “how do I raise my credit score” or “can I fix a bankruptcy on my credit score” are fairly common.


The issue is that when someone like me, or a financial columnist for the New York Times, or the Ben Bernanke the Chairman of the Federal Reserve write a wonderful, informative, article about credit scores and how to improve them, we won’t be using those phrases.

The closest we might come is, “this is how you raise your credit score.”  That wouldn’t be much of a miss and I bet Google and the others correct for that a little bit.  However, that sentence does not belong in good writing.  Indeed, a sentence like that would be a disturbing hack inside of a well written article on improving your credit score.  (Worked it in pretty good there though, eh?)

In fact, a great deal of more formal writing and professional publications specifically discourage the use of the pronouns you and I.  So, these sources, which might be some of the best credit score resources out there, can’t hope to come any closer than,

“There are many tactics available to raise a credit score.”

One wonders how they fare against more exact matches.

And therein lies a potential issue.  The more intelligent and educated a person is, the more likely they are to be able to distinguish good sources of information from bad sources of information.  In fact, the same people are more likely to already have at least a vague idea of where to go, like searching to find out who does the FICO score and then going directly to that website for the best tips to improve a credit score.

On the other hand, the less educated a person is in any given topic, the more likely it is that they have to rely solely on search results.  For example, if I wanted to know how to insert an amino acid into the human chromosome, I have no idea where to begin looking, although I might start by restricting my search to universities through the site: advanced search operators on Google.  (It also works on Live Search).

Thus, the person who needs the most honest and unbiased help is precisely the person who will instead end up on a website geared toward advertising and selling the poor guy an overpriced credit monitoring and protection server because that website will have done keyword research and realized how many people search for “how do I fix my credit score”.  Once they have that bit of information, it isn’t that hard to work that first person keyword string into an article.  (Look how many times I did it here.)

Perhaps it is time to start teaching “Advanced Search Techniques” in school.

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Feel like you are in an experiment?  You are!  This site has nothing to do with credit scores or even personal finance.  There are no links to this page other than the standard blog links (I’ll add more later after I see how the raw article performs.)  I’ll post a thing on Twitter leading people here, but it’s not like I’m a giant in social networking.  In other words, the only possible reason this page will rank at all is the use of keywords in the title, italics or emphasis on certain phrases (but it looks like I did it for a non-search related reason), the quote tag, and the use of bold and underline (the last isn’t even related to credit scores).  Let’s see how it does.  Subscribe to the Best Hubris Feed to keep up with the progress.

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