Why focusing on a set number of keywords can damage your SEO strategy

Unlike many SEO companies, we don’t make keyword promises. That’s because we prefer a data driven approach that targets real people – not search engines! Discover why you shouldn’t obsess over ranking.

This one’s a question we’re often asked by new clients and it refers to perhaps the best-known aspect of SEO – keywords. People want to know why we don’t offer packages based on a set number of keywords, such as 10 keywords for £500.

The answer’s relatively straightforward as it goes. In our experience, it doesn’t work! Let me explain…


Why SEO requires agile methodology

While many companies prefer to focus their efforts on ranking for a limited number of keywords, here at Cash Cow we favour a more data-driven style of SEO campaign – one that we know can provide more significant, long-lasting and sustainable results.

Of course, one of the key elements of SEO is keyword research targeting the right search terms for your business. However, many website owners and the agencies they work with, tend to focus on a limited number of keywords, thinking that it would improve their website’s traffic over the long term.

But, is that approach correct? In our experience it’s not and in this article, we’ll attempt to highlight why focusing on a limited number of keywords is the wrong approach to SEO and why it is better to stay agile and use data from tools like the Google Search Console to drive your keyword strategy.


Why it’s wrong to focus on a limited number of keywords

1. Limited Reach: Focusing on a small number of keywords limits your reach to potential customers. By using data to see what they’re actually searching for – rather than the keywords you believe you should be ranking for, or worse still your agency has told you you need to be ranking for.

2. Keyword Saturation: In their desperation to get ranked for certain keywords, many website owners and agencies overuse the same search terms all over their website – leading to keyword saturation, which is a red flag for search engines. This can result in lower rankings or even penalties from search engines. Experience has taught us to go broad, read the data and double down on the easy wins.

3. Stagnant Results: By focusing on a limited number of search terms, you may end up with a stagnant that reaches a ceiling and stops growing.

Focus on the same set of keywords throughout your site and once Google changes its algorithms you’re back to square one!

But by staying agile and drawing down data from tools like the Google Search Console, you can adapt your keyword strategy as and when needed and make the most of fresh opportunities as they appear.

4. Missing Words: By focusing on a limited number of keywords, you will almost certainly miss out on potential opportunities to drive more traffic to your website. Conversely, by targeting a broader range of keywords, you can easily target a larger audience and attract more traffic to your website.


Stay agile – use data

SEO is an ever changing discipline, so it would be flat out wrong to say we know better than other agencies. That said, with the knowledge we’ve built up over 15 years, we feel confident in saying, when it comes to SEO agile, data-driven strategies are far more effective.

keyword strategy

Here are 5 reasons why data-driven SEO beats keyword evangelism every time

1. Understanding the Customer Journey
A data-driven agile SEO approach involves analysing data to understand the customer journey and identify the keywords that drive traffic and conversions. By taking a comprehensive look at the data, businesses can gain valuable insights into what customers are searching for, how they interact with their website, and what drives them to make a purchase.

Your ultimate goal should be to create a user-focused keyword strategy that meets the needs of your target audience. By identifying the keywords that your target audience is searching for and optimising your website accordingly you’ll be taking the guesswork out of SEO and developing a deeper understanding on what your customers are looking for online when they search for the products or services you provide.

2. A Broader Approach to Keyword Research
Data-based SEO is not limited to a narrow set of keywords. Instead, it takes into account a broader set of keywords that may be relevant to the business and its customers. For example, a business selling outdoor equipment may not only want to rank for “outdoor equipment,” but also for “hiking gear,” “camping equipment,” and “backpacking gear.” This approach is widely known as semantic SEO and you can learn more about it – and how it can help your website attract more visitors here.

By considering a wider, but equally focused range of keywords, businesses can reach a broader audience and drive more traffic to their website.

3. Better Understanding of Competitor Landscape
Using data as part of your SEO approach also provides valuable insights into the competitor landscape, enabling businesses to better understand their competitors’ strengths and weaknesses. This information can be used to inform keyword targeting and content creation, leading to a more effective and efficient SEO campaign.

4. Improved User Experience
One of the key benefits of a data-driven SEO campaign is that it helps businesses improve the user experience on their website. By analysing data on user behaviour, businesses build a deeper understanding of your customers allowing you to identify areas of their website that may be confusing or difficult to navigate, and make improvements to enhance the user experience. A quick website makeover or refresh, when it’s beginning to look tired, can lead to improved engagement, increased conversions, and better search engine rankings.

5. Increased Relevance and Credibility
Data-driven SEO helps businesses gain a deeper understanding of what actual keywords are driving traffic to your site and which ones need improvement. This data-driven thinking allows you to make informed decisions about your SEO strategy and optimise your website for the actual keywords most relevant to your audience. Not the ones you – or your SEO agency – think you should be targeting.


Time to take the guesswork out of your SEO

In conclusion, data-driven SEO approach is a game changer in today’s digital landscape. By utilising tools like the Google Search Console, companies can gain valuable insights into their website’s performance, keywords, and audience behaviour.

This data can then be used to inform keyword strategy, target specific user groups, and optimise the overall website experience. By shifting focus away from a limited number of keywords and being agile with data-driven insights, owners can see real results and increase their website’s visibility and success.

Implementing a data-driven SEO strategy may require an investment in time and resources, but the rewards are well worth it in the long run. With the ever-evolving algorithms and demands of search engines like Google and Bing, staying agile and utilising data is key to future-proofing your website and achieving sustainable SEO success.



Q: How many keywords should I focus on?
A: There is no set number of keywords that you should focus on, as this will vary depending on your marketing audience. However, it’s important to remember that focusing too narrowly on just a few keywords can harm your SEO efforts. It’s better to stay agile and use data to drive your keyword strategy.


Q: What is the Google Search Console?
A: Google Search Console is a free web service provided by Google that allows website owners and digital marketers to monitor and maintain their site’s presence in Google search results. It provides a wealth of information about how users are finding and interacting with your website, including which keywords they are using to find it, how many impressions and clicks your site is receiving, and which pages are performing well and which ones need improvement.
Using the Google Search Console for keyword research is a good idea because it provides real-world data that you can use to inform your SEO strategy.


Q: What kind of data should a business analyse for a data-driven SEO campaign?
A: A business should analyse a wide range of data to inform their SEO campaign, including search query data, website analytics data, and competitor data.


Q: How does a data-driven SEO campaign differ from a traditional SEO campaign?
A: A traditional SEO campaign focuses on a limited number of keywords and is often based on intuition and guesswork. An agile, data-driven SEO campaign, on the other hand, is based on data and provides a more comprehensive and accurate understanding of the customer journey, competitor landscape, and user experience.


Q: Can a data-driven SEO campaign be implemented without the use of specialised tools?
A: While a data-driven SEO campaign can be implemented without specialised tools, using tools such as Google Analytics, SEMrush, and Ahrefs can make the process more efficient and provide more in-depth insights.


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