Keywords don’t buy products - people do.
If your SEO efforts focus too much on keywords, and not enough on your target audiences, then this could be holding back your conversions and stopping you from getting the most out of your digital marketing.
Keywords do play a role in SEO, after all, those are the words people are typing into Google every day, however, they’re just a small part of a much bigger process. What the search engines are focusing on more and more is how people interact with your pages, and whether they’re offering a good experience.
If you’re going to offer an amazing experience for the people who come to your page, then your first step has to be understanding who they are and what they’re looking for.
So, before you start thinking about keywords, think about who makes up your audience, what they’re looking for, and how they search for it.
Who Makes Up Your Audience?
Organic traffic is something every website owner craves. However, it’s easy to become fixated with volume at the expense of quality. Not every click is equal, and those clicks that come from people who are a part of your target audience are much more valuable than those who don’t.
This is where it’s vitally important to create detailed buyer personas and understand exactly who interacts with your business, and who buys your product.
If you’re an established brand, then you should have lots of data to help you with this. Through your Google Analytics, social media insights, and sales data, you should be able to paint a clear picture of what your customers look like.
One of the most simple ways to learn more about your audience is simply to ask!
Mine your data, create simple surveys, and find out the important information about your target audience:
- Preferred Channels of Communication
Of course, if you’re setting up a new brand, you won’t be able to use your own data, so you’re going to have to be a little more creative. A great place to start is by analyzing your competitor’s websites with a tool such as Ubersuggest to see what are the main keywords they’re ranking for. From there, you can put those keywords into free tools such as demographics.io or Google Trends to see the demographics of people searching for those keywords.
Bounce rate and interactions per visit are two important factors for conversions, and if you’re getting your target audience right, then you’re going to find you improve in these areas.
What Are They Looking for?
Once you’ve established what your target audience looks like, you need to understand what it is they’re looking for.
You can have five people who are interested in your product, but each of them might be looking for different information depending on a number of factors. One such factor is where this person is in the customer journey.
For example, someone who has been researching SEO for months is looking for something very different from the person who has just decided SEO is something they might want to invest in. This means you need to understand where your visitor is in the customer journey and have the right content to answer their questions.
This is where it’s important not just to understand your audience, but to make sure you’re keeping them in mind with every piece of content you create. Understand who each piece of content is for, where they are in the customer journey, how you can answer their questions, and what steps you want them to take next.
When you understand who is likely to read your content, and what they’re looking for, it’s not only going to help you convert more, but it’s going to have a positive impact on your SEO. By engaging more of your users, you will reduce your bounce rate, and improve the amount of time people spend on your site, both great signals when it comes to SEO.
How Do They Search for Information?
How people perceive your content can have a big impact on your rankings. The competition for any keyword is tough, and you’ve got to show Google why your content is better than the rest.
If you’re not optimizing each page to fit the needs of the people Google sends you, this is difficult to do. People will bounce back to the results page and simply go to another result that better answers their question.
For example, at KeyScouts, we have a client who was ranking around number five for a huge keyword (this is great work in itself,) and this made up a large amount of their traffic. The problem was, whatever they did, they couldn’t break into the top three results which would drastically increase their traffic.
When we analyzed the SERPs, we found the problem was searcher intent. Our client was providing content for B2B services, but the top results were all geared towards B2C. As our client also provided B2C services, we were able to create content that catered to this audience, allowing the page to break into the top three results.
This goes to show how important it is to understand how people are searching for information. You might be targeting a certain keyword thinking it reflects your business and services perfectly but in reality, the searcher intent is different from what you anticipated.
It’s also important to remember that SEO is just a part (an important part) of a bigger digital marketing picture. If you’re creating content that’s well optimized for your target audience, then you want to make sure people can find it in all the places where they search for information. While you’re working on your SEO, you have the perfect opportunity to grow your social media marketing, and leverage your email marketing to make sure you’re reaching as many people as possible.
Understanding your target audience - who they are, what they’re looking for, and how they search for it is a fundamental part of SEO that can get overlooked.
Searching for keywords and throwing them into your content at every opportunity isn’t going to have the desired effect unless you understand the people behind those keywords. At the end of the day, SEO is not just about getting traffic, it’s about getting engaged traffic that converts, and before your business can find these people, it needs to understand who they are.
Whether you’re looking to completely transform your SEO efforts, or make the small changes that will take you to the top, the clues are often in your target audience.