SEO: Ranking for the User Vs. Ranking for the Keyword

Abdur-Rehman Qadeer
3 min readNov 5, 2022


Yoast and AIOSEO are great tools to know the basics of authenticity for your content SEO. But you have to remember that your ultimate target is the user that will be reading it, and you have to provide value to the reader. If the reader is happy, the Search Engine is happy. If your priority is Search Engine or the predetermined criteria of keywords percentage and word count, that will eventually backfire. A year or two years from now if not today.

SEO is more than just the number of keywords and word count. It requires big-time critical thinking and an analytical approach to understanding human needs. We have to keep in mind that “the human user” is the only end goal (unless aliens or humanoid robots are already living among us). They are the only ones that can give back to you. It’s their response to your content that is going to help you make a place in the SERPs.

What is so wrong with being KEYWORD-ORIENTED CONTENT? Let’s talk about it with an example. Imagine, a question keyword “who paid the largest criminal fine in history and why” has a global search volume of 103K. Imagine writing a blog on that. In a 1000 words blog, you might want to embed this keyword at least 5 to 10 times, according to the popular narrative in South-Asian-SEO.

Now imagine yourself on the reader’s end. Reading one phrase “who paid the largest criminal fine in history and why” in the same write-up of 1000 words for 7 times, how would that make you feel?

For as long as I have been learning and working in the area of SEO, the most frequent statement that Google Search representatives are found screaming is:

“Optimize for the user, not for Google”.

In the most recent Google Search update, (read about it: in our LinkedIn post from RankRooster SEO experts.) there were some clear warnings for specific practices.


-Writing content to make it rank in a redundant manner would be highly discouraged.

-Optimizing the content for keywords instead of users will end in highly disappointing results.

-Repeating the worn-out ideas that the masses have discussed and have already been covered enough, would not be given any importance.

-Unnecessary use of keywords without giving a thought to the contextual and syntactical standards would wear the reader out. Or at least, drive them through an awkward experience. If it doesn’t help the user, it doesn’t the search engine.

For a little more enlightenment, here’s a screenshot I found this morning. That was when during my breakfast, I was just going through my Google Feeds and I found a cool post from Search Engine Round Table. John Mu has some answers in a Tweet that you can find in the pictures.