Digital Insights
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Stop Thinking About Keywords and Focus on Users

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Published: November 29, 2013

Many website owners add content to their sites in order to draw in visitors. And while this is certainly a necessary step to take in the world of SEO, it’s also crucial to ensure the content you’re using is actually informative and helpful to the person reading it. There has been a trend for a long time of website owners attempting to drive up their search engine rankings by adding keyword-laden content to their website. While keywords are something to consider, the point of having content is to provide useful information to the reader, to build your name as an expert in your field, and to build rapport with your demographic. Focusing chiefly on keywords can actually be detrimental to your online marketing efforts.

Unnatural Content

One of the main reasons that focusing solely on keywords can be a detriment to your online content is that it makes the content sound rather unnatural. Most of the time, when people talk about a certain subject there are certain keywords that will naturally come up once or twice because those words are closely related to the subject. For instance, if you sell pet supplies, the terms “pet supplies”, “dog food”, and “dog toys” might come up a couple of times in conversation. But when you see text on a website that has those keywords mentioned many, many times in just a short amount of text, it becomes obvious to the reader that the content is not written for their benefit. It comes across very “spammy”, and the reader will lose interest and be unlikely to return. If you write naturally, including a couple of keywords at about one to three percent density, that is more than enough to attract search engines, and your text will be easy to read and natural in tone for the user.

Search Engines Are Changing

Search engines are changing more and more, and algorithms change frequently. But a recent trend in search engines and how they crawl websites is that they, too, are starting to focus on quality websites instead of the amount of keywords present. People who create algorithms pay close attention to how the current SEO algorithms and rules are affecting customers and website users. It has become obvious that “keyword stuffing”, or inundating your text with keywords to drive rankings, is prevalent, and that users aren’t spending time on sites that put this technique into practice. So search engines are starting to look at other indicators, such as bounce rate, number of pages, depth of a site, and other aspects, to determine whether a site is actually helpful to users. This means that from now on, it will likely damage your SEO rank to stuff your content with keywords.

Search Engines Aren’t Customers

The main thing to remember is that while search engines bring you customers, search engines are not going to pay for your product or service. So when you cater solely to search engines, you’re ignoring the user. Users, or people who use search engines and the internet to find your site, are the people who are actually going to make up your customer base. Remember to cater to them, and the rest of your website development process will fall into place more naturally. Think about what will most benefit those who read your content and visit your site, and put more attention into those things than keywords.