Stop Targeting Keywords and Start Targeting Customers

One of the first things any SEO expert talks about when trying to rank a page higher is the keywords. We’re often under the perception that targeting high ranking keywords and using them in your content would influence the ranks of your webpage. We can’t completely rule this out, but to say targeting keywords is the most important factor that impacts a website’s rank is a statement relevant no more.

There were times when stuffing keywords was the best way to get your page to rank first. However, over the years, the way Google interprets search terms used by customers has changed. This is why, today, you have to target your customers instead of solely targeting keywords. Here’s more about how this change took place over time and how you can target your customers besides using keywords.

When did the change begin?

  • It was in 2011 that Google rolled out the Panda update. This update could identify content that used the keyword stuffing tactic and produced low-quality content. Thus, various sites were penalized. This brought a partial end to the practice of keyword stuffing.
  • Another update, which is the knowledge graph, was rolled out by Google that could interpret the search terms in light of their context rather than isolated words. After this, the Hummingbird update made it a lot easier for websites to target their customers without focusing too much on keywords.
  • Hummingbird could understand conversational search, which means if you enter a search query, “how hot is it?” you will find the first result that shows the temperature in your location despite not entering search terms like temperature or your specific location. Google could interpret that ‘hot’ has to do with temperature, and by using the searcher’s location, it displayed the right result.
  • The latest update concerning keywords, called RankBrain, was introduced by Google in 2015. RankBrain uses machine learning and artificial intelligence to follow patterns to identify what is the search intent and displays results accordingly. You don’t really have to enter the entire question. If you enter ‘depression criteria,’ Google displays the same results that it would for “what are the depression criteria?”
  • These updates didn’t roll out together at the same time. It took Google a fair amount of time to change its methods of ranking when it came to keywords. This slow change and inclination to search intent rather than search keywords make it clear that Google wants websites to target their customers rather than keywords.

Keywords are still important. We’ve not yet made it to a time when we can say we don’t need keyword research or keyword usage. However, using keywords optimally and paying attention to various other ranking factors that directly target customers is the right way to go about it. With that said, we’re moving on to how you can target your customers to please both- the users and the search engine.

How to target customers better?

Keyword research should not be the only part of your SEO strategy to target customers. You have a lot more to focus on, and here’s a list that makes your job easier.

Define the target audience and their interests

You have to know your target audience to be able to target them. This is why you should have a clear idea of what your target audience is. This can be done by analyzing the age, sex, geographic location, and interests that your business would primarily target.

Out of all the factors, you have to dive deeper into the interests of your target audience. Knowing the expectations and needs of your target audience helps you target them better. It’s obvious that people would only pay attention to what caters to their needs.

[bctt tweet=”Defining your target audience helps you streamline your content strategy.” username=”relevance”]

Improve the customer experience on your website

Google has so far updated itself so that the user gets the best results. If the user experience isn’t up to the mark or as expected, there’s a big question concerning user satisfaction. Thus, as a website, you have to do everything to make the customer experience on the website the best so that they keep coming back.

Make sure your website loads in a couple of seconds. For a majority of people, it all comes down to how long a page takes to load. If your page is taking all the time in the world to load, your customer will go back to the search results and click on your competitor’s page. Thus, keep a track of the page loading speed. Furthermore, make sure you optimize your website for mobile phones since almost everyone makes searches on their smartphones these days.

Ensure that your website is clean and clutter-free with definite categories to make it easy for the clients to reach the information they look for within a few clicks. Fix broken links and draft content in a way that it is easy to read.

Use a variation of keywords

While we have been talking about how targeting keywords aren’t so important anymore, we do need to talk about various forms of keywords that are still important to target. These are called long-tail keywords, which means a bunch of words. These can either be statements like “using turmeric to improve immunity” or questions like “how does turmeric help in improving immunity?”. Such keywords are also great for voice searches.

Long-tail keywords bring you closer to the common concerns of your audience. They are not the typical target keywords that we intend to use optimally. Including diverse keywords related to your target keywords also helps in avoiding keyword stuffing. This is because as already discussed, Google interprets a variety of sentences from your content that are not the exact keyword but a variation of the search term. However, you should only use each of the variations only one or two times.

Content strategy

When you identify your target audience, you have to make sure your Advanced content strategy solves your audience’s problems. However, building a strategy also depends on the nature of your business.

If your website is about fitness, your audience will mostly look for “how-to” blogs that help them take care of their health in different ways. However, if you sell mobile phones, your blog posts should inform people about the different models of phones you sell, make comparisons, and help the audience buy the right phone based on their requirements.

Furthermore, try and identify the kind of content that would be suitable for your audience. If it’s supposed to be a short read, stick to a few words rather than spinning long-form content. Similarly, know when to add images and videos so that you can give your audience a better explanation.

Target social media

As most people use social media, it becomes easier to spot potential customers on such platforms. While social presence doesn’t attribute directly to better SEO, it does have an indirect yet strong impact on the rankings of your website.

[bctt tweet=”If you’re active across various social media platforms and regular at sharing content, you can establish yourself better as a brand.” username=”relevance”]

When users stumble upon good content for brands on a social media platform,

it stays in their mind and has a bigger impact on them.. You can use relevant keywords as tags on social media platforms. However, that’s not all you have to do to have better sales. It’s only through the targeting of your specific audience with the right content that you earn their trust.

There are many social media platforms. Being active on each platform can be a lot of hard work. Try focusing on three platforms where you’re most likely to find your target audience to make your social media marketing less scattered and more specific.


The kind of transition that Google has made by updating its algorithm regularly has brought this change that signals the audience and their positive experience is of utmost importance. It’s now evident that targeting keywords and emphasizing too much on it is not going to bring the right results anymore.

If you’ve been following the same old tactic of working too much on standard keywords, you have to understand the Google algorithm that is currently operating and make amends to your practices. As a business, targeting and satisfying clients is the most important aspect of SEO. However, in the past, online businesses had a chance to rank better by using keywords and not focusing too much on what they’re delivering. Times have changed, and the best way to rank on Google is by addressing the factors that help you target your customers directly.

It all comes down to the quality of the content you offer. This is a change worth making because, in the future, Google is only going to be stricter in terms of how serious online businesses seem to satisfy their customers.