“To win at SEO is to win at HEO (human enjoyment optimization). Don’t solve for the search engines, solve for the humans.”

– Dharmesh Shah, HubSpot CTO and Founder


How can my website rank for certain keywords?
How do I improve placement on search engine result pages (SERP)?
Why doesn’t my website appear on page one of search results?
How do I increase organic search?

Some of the most common questions about improving a website are connected to search engine optimization (SEO). There are articles, books, webinars, and even classes that are around this never-ending game of SEO.

We write blogs around certain keywords, dive into HTML, spend time writing meta descriptions, always remember to create an ALT tag, watch our H1s, on…and on.

What if we looked at SEO in a different way? Instead of solving for bots to find our website, we also solved for humans — our customers.

I’ve been frustrated for quite a while with the SEO game marketers play. We constantly work to appeal to a robot, often missing what the changes–or content we create–mean to our visitors. It’s easy to become so focused on keywords and using them in ways that mean very little to our actual customers or are terms our customers would never use.

How can we keep the experience our customers have at the forefront? How can we begin solving for human enjoyment optimization (HEO)?


Ask and Implement

Even after a website is built, it’s never really final. Ever. Tweaks take place constantly to improve functionality and experience. This is where your customer can provide the most valuable feedback, often leading to solving problems you may have never known existed.

Find ways to make your website more about your customers’ needs — make the experience valuable. It’s so easy to keep the focus on our brand and lose sight of what information customers need the most. Take the walk customers take, keep their perspective, and make it easy for them to give honest feedback.


Content Marketing & Perspective

Creating quality content is more than one blog post that attracts a visitor, it’s content that offers value to visitors over and over again. Content should never be created for the sake of creating something new, for updating your blog or video library. The key is to create a valuable experience with each piece of content–building trust and relationships with visitors at every touchpoint. Being consistent with quality content will retain visitors and will help build the relationships needed to turn them into customers.

Find customer pain points and where they occur by researching their most common questions. Your customers may never use the words you think would be important to rank for. More often than not they use completely different phrases. Which also has a benefit for ranking according to Search Engine Land: “It’s estimated that 70 to 80 percent of the demand curve is made up of long-tail keywords. These terms are not only easier to rank for, but they also tend to drive very targeted traffic.”



SEO and HEO must be a well-balanced machine, with one exception: your customers’ experience should always come first. Solve for them and offer value to humans, not robots.


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