The golden rule of marketing still holds true and translates directly into SEO. Know your audience. This is the most important thing to keep in mind as you develop your website, its content and your SEO strategy. The good news is that there is a high likelihood that what your audience wants to see on your website is what Google wants to see. Both want relevant, well crafted content that is easy to find and use.
It can be easy to get so bogged down in your SEO strategy that you loose sight of the end user. The first question you need to ask is will the target customer like this, and then ask will Google like this. There are of course some back of the house activities that your end users never see, such as meta data. But the results they generate will impact your potential customers in the way you rank. That is where the two overlap.
The SEO industry lost track of customers during its keyword stuffing hay day. No longer were web publishers creating content for the end user. They were writing awkwardly worded sentences just so they could use the exact keyword phrase as often as possible so Google would know what the content was about and have it show up at the top of the search results. When the target customer opened the story and read the keyword stuffed content, they were put off and would often move on. That practice has gone by the wayside and now Google reads and evaluates content much in the same way your target customers do.
Keeping the target customer top of mind also plays a critical role in converting them into paying customers. How can you engage with your customers on their level and serve them the right information at just the right time in their buying cycle? That will help you take all the traffic you are generating from your SEO efforts and turn them into paying customers to give you a real return on your SEO investment and ultimately grow your business. Which is, of course, the main goal in the first place.