To run a successful business, you need to have a clear sense of who your target audience is. Until you identify this core group, you probably won't understand their needs, what type of content they're seeking, and where to connect that content to reach that audience most effectively.

So who is it you're talking to? Your SEO strategy depends on the answer to this question. Here are three strategies for understanding your target audience.

1. Set Your Demographics

Demographics involves a variety of different features. You might be targeting broad groups or several audiences at once. Either way, certain kinds of information are vital.

What income group are you talking to? How old is your audience? Where do they live? All these things feed into a larger understanding of who your audience consists of and how to reach them with maximum impact.

Take families as an example. If you want to reach middle-class families with children between the ages of 0 and 5 years, you'll want to build connections through child, baby, and pregnancy-related websites. Interested in touching base with crafty moms, for example? Then you'll find your demographic group and a great partner website over at All For The Boys

Furthermore, you'll want to track the most current products and parenting trends, and find ways to integrate that information into your content -- whether you're going to do a nursery styling column or provide medical advice and products for new parents. 

One active trend parenting websites should engage with is adoption - adoption numbers have been on the rise for quite some time now. Groups like The Adoption Alliance work with both birth parents and adoptive parents. This demographic shouldn't be overlooked.

If you're unsure how your content relates to your demographic, get creative or rethink your demographic.

2. Learn The Rules

SEO used to be easier. You plugged in the keywords, built exact-match anchor text links, and waited for your rankings (and traffic) to soar. As SEO has matured, however, the rules have grown more complicated. You may wish to consult with an SEO expert to coach you through the early stages.

Key SEO rules today include proper mobile platform optimization, publishing quality content, and acquiring quality inbound links. Of course, you can't abandon keywords entirely, but even this familiar term may not refer to what you know.

Broad terms are short and drive a lot of traffic. These keywords tend to have much higher competition and lower conversion rates than long-tail keywords. Long-tail keywords, on the other hand, tend to have much lower competition, and result in better-qualified traffic, meaning higher conversion rates. They're more specific terms that will apply precisely to what you do, rather than to a wide array of possible query intentions, many of which may be of only tangential or even no interest to your target audience. See How to Identify Long-Tail Keywords for Your SEO Campaign for more information on using long-tail keywords. 

To return to the example of young families, words like 'pregnancy,' 'parenting,' and 'baby' are broad terms. "Baby names" is a bit more specific. Long-tail phrases might be "learning games for toddlers," "paddling pool," or specific questions about childcare or preschool choice.

If you think of a question that might make a great long-tail term, write a post about it and you might be able to position yourself as a leading site for that term. This works for any site's focus of interest, not just a parenting site.

3. Develop A Drive For Detail

SEO-related audience development tends to be more difficult for websites that maintain a broad subject area. This is why you should consider narrowing the focus of your site. If you've been dealing in a wide-range of economics topics, stop and reassess which segment of your audience you most want to reach.

Are you writing for wealthy investment bankers or recent college grads? These two demographics are most likely too far apart for one blog. An investment banker doesn't need the financial advice doled out over at Young Finances, whereas Wall Street Prep offers market insights targeted to those who speak fluent stock exchange. Trying to meet the needs of both may make your site come across as disjointed. A broad focus is a barrier to good SEO development.

Instead, pursue a niche marketing approach. Small, focused businesses and websites tend to garner much greater success than rambling, broad ones. Finding your niche may take a bit of experimentation and it may depend on economic and demographic shifts in your audience that have nothing to do with what you're up to, but you have to start small in any case. You might be surprised by how much the narrowing of your focus can expand your site traffic.

Parents, for example, don't want to sift through your macro-economics posts looking for one about budgeting for a baby. But if you provide an entire blog full of baby-related money posts, parents will find much more value, which will in turn increase the likelihood that they recommend your site to friends, share it on social media, or link to it from their blogs. A clear and useful focus will work to your advantage.


Great SEO demands a strong sense of self. If you're not seeing enough site traffic, see what you can gain by narrowing your focus of attention and strengthening your site identity. This works for any topic and will make your site feel more manageable in the middle of our daily information overload. It's time to stand firm in your identity as a business.

Jayson DeMers is the founder & CEO of AudienceBloom, a Seattle-based content marketing & social media agency. You can contact him on LinkedIn, Google+, or Twitter.


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Search Engine Guide > Jayson DeMers > Who Are You Talking To? 3 SEO Strategies For Building An Audience