One of the great things about developing content for your website is that, with a little research, you can know exactly who your target audience is and how create content to meet their needs. Spending a few minutes before setting pen-to-paper, or fingers-to-keys, can tell you just about everything you need to know about what types of things people are searching for on the web. From that, you can determine what kind of content you need to reach your audience.
Using keyword research tools provided by the search engines and third party keyword platforms can help you a great deal in writing for your target consumers. Not only can you learn what keywords people are using, but keyword research can also help you craft your content using the words and phrases that your audience searches for most frequently. This helps you attract the widest audience possible while also focusing your words using higher traffic and better converting terminology.
There are three things that good keyword research will help you uncover: who your audience is, what they are interested in, and what their needs are.
Who is your target audience? Your research will tell you quite a bit about who they are by the searches they perform. Look at the keywords. Are they looking for business solutions? Information that will help them with a hobby? Or maybe something that will help them with their personal or professional education? Even looking for the same product or service, different searchers will use a variety of search words and qualifiers based on what interests and needs they have.
You can use the research to weed out a lot of people simply because you know you don't provide what they seek based on the words they use in their search. They may be looking for a niche you don't provide or a variant that you are unable to supply. Either way, by focusing on those terms you can help, while moving away from those you can't. You'll find yourself reaching out to a greater percentage of your target market.
Areas of interest
Next, you need to use your research to learn what it is that your customers are interested in. Depending on who they are, each visitor is often searching because they have a specific interest that needs to be satisfied. Some may be looking for information, others education, and still others might only be looking for ideas.
Using this research you can uncover the interests of your audience and use that information to build content that speaks to those interests. With this knowledge, you may be able to create a page, or even multiple pages of content. By looking at specific interests, you are able to engage with your audience on their terms, within the confines of their area of interest. This will help you produce better content that has a stronger chance of converting.
Needs to be met
People are needy! Most searchers are doing so because they need to get answers, solutions, or information. Figuring out what your target audience needs is critical to ensuring you are able to create content that provides them with the answers.
When writing your content to meet visitor needs, you may have to cover a lot of ground. Each searcher wants to know, "what's in it for me", and it's your job to tell them! It all boils down to letting them know what benefits they'll get from what it is you have to offer. But the benefits won't be the same for every person. Or rather, the desired benefit won't be the same, so be sure to hit as many benefits possible.
As you work through your keyword research, you'll find that there is a lot of crossover between these three categories. Some industries clearly cater to one type or another.
Some business people are looking for ideas, some for information, and still others may be looking to build up their education. Similarly, the same can be said of students and hobbyists as well. You don't have to be a student to look for education, or a hobbyist to want some new ideas. You need to determine the degree of crossover and whether there is enough to go after those in a category different from your primary audience.
Using your research to uncover all the keyword gems will help you determine the course of your content and maybe even who it is that you want to attract to your site. Some sites can be a catch-all, but many times you'll find that trying to appeal to everyone appeals to no one. Only you can make this determination.
Keyword research will help you determine how best to reach your target audience. Without it, you're just struggling around in the dark.
This post was inspired from The Princess Bride themed presentation I gave in early 2010 at SEMpdx's Searchfest titled Inconceivable Content: The Dread Pirate Robert's Guide to Creating Swashbuckling Content, Pillaging the Search Engines, and Commandeering a Treasure Trove of Conversions. If you enjoyed this post you also might enjoy other posts inspired from the same. Search for "inconceivable content" on this blog to find them all.
Stoney deGeyter is the President of Pole Position Marketing, a leading search engine optimization and marketing firm helping businesses grow since 1998. Stoney is a frequent speaker at website marketing conferences and has published hundreds of helpful SEO, SEM and small business articles.
If you'd like Stoney deGeyter to speak at your conference, seminar, workshop or provide in-house training to your team, contact him via his site or by phone at 866-685-3374.
Stoney pioneered the concept of Destination Search Engine Marketing which is the driving philosophy of how Pole Position Marketing helps clients expand their online presence and grow their businesses. Stoney is Associate Editor at Search Engine Guide and has written several SEO and SEM e-books including E-Marketing Performance; The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist, Period!; Keyword Research and Selection, Destination Search Engine Marketing, and more.
Stoney has five wonderful children and spends his free time reviewing restaurants and other things to do in Canton, Ohio.
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