SEO

Understanding and Optimising for Your Audience

Understanding and Optimising for Your Audience

There are new modes of marketing channels arriving nearly every year. Think TikTok, Instagram and Pinterest, each having new features consistently. As a result, it’s becoming increasingly important to identify your audience and target them correctly, especially in SEO. 

It’s not just who you think your audience is, but also those who are actually searching for your service and wanting to convert that you might be missing out on if you don’t optimise appropriately. 

What are you offering audiences that others don’t?

Look beyond the intent – if they’re looking for a top, do they need new clothes, new outfits and details for events?

In marketing, it’s implied we should know who our audience is from the start (and yes, you should!). However, as these channels widen and audiences double and triple, this crucial element can get lost in translation.

When asking the question “who’s your target audience or market?” to your team or even your client, we’re more often than not met with a broad answer that could apply to half the population for a single product. Answers such as “women over 50” or “teens” might be true. But how do you distinguish who to create your website for and who you might miss out on?

This article will give you the top tips for identifying your audience and learning the fundamentals of optimising your site to get you ranking in SERPs and generating those metrics.

What’s the difference between a buyer persona and a target audience?

Although these terms are used interchangeably, the two are considerably different.

Your target audience is a group you’ve identified as your ideal customer for your product or offering. While your buyer personas are based on specific data on customer profiles, including their interests, habits and even what they might do in their spare time.

Creating and understanding your target audience is the first step to optimising your website.

Why is a target audience important for SEO?

Just because traffic and revenue are being generated via your site, it doesn’t always mean this is the correct strategy.

Ask yourself and your team:

  • Who do you want to attract to your website?
  • Do you know what your audience is looking for?
  • Do you know how they speak and what tone of voice to use?
  • Do you know their pain points and how you can help?

Why this is important:

  • Drive more traffic that’s going to have more intent of converting.
  • Able to perform better keyword research.
  • Create content onsite and offsite that can generate organic links, spread brand awareness and increase relevance for your users.

Now… How do you identify your target audiences?

Keyword research & tools are your best friend

Once you have narrowed down and identified your target audience (and personas, if you want), utilise keyword research to help build out your pages.

To help find demographics, select 5-10 essential keywords related to your products and services and run these through tools such as Google Trends to find who is searching for these terms from age, gender and location. You’ll understand what audience is searching for your keywords and seasonality and trends throughout the year, which is also important for identifying when you should be updating and changing your site.

Utilising Google Analytics is another key channel to figure out if your audience is who you think they are. By going through demographics and interests reports, you can view the type of users visiting your site and whether this correlates with your idea of your audience. 

If both of these pull data that aligns with your current audience – great! If not, it’s time to start broadening who you’re marketing to and finding gaps to optimise your content.

Competitor Research – understand the market while figuring out yours

You can’t build a site without knowing your competitors, so why not learn from them too?

SEMrush has a Traffic Analytics tool where you can add up to 4 competitors to find who is driving the most traffic and their user engagement. A competitor that you may assume is leading the market might have a high bounce rate – compare this to your own to understand which sites keep users and replicate their performance. Which pages drive the most traffic for competitors? Are they landing/product pages you have, or are they even advice? Make sure you’re covering these too.

For content marketing and PR, understand where their backlinks are coming from and the audiences of their publications. By understanding where these publications and their audiences sit within your content funnel, you can build this into your strategy and cover all users.

Identify questions that your audience(s) want to know the answers to

Knowing what your audience is asking and looking for is a double-edged sword. You can create content that answers these, which will, in turn, improve your chances of ranking in SERP’s with long-tail queries.

Tools such as Answer the Public, SEMrush and Ahrefs are great for this. By inputting your keywords, these tools will give you related queries that you can utilise for your content, show your users’ search intent, and compare the tone of voice and common themes throughout the content.

Fundamentals of optimising your pages for your audience

Page copy & content

A good example of understanding your audience is through the copy on your site.

If you are in eCommerce or have worked with sites before, you will have built PDP and PLP’s for your website – Product Description Pages and Product Listing Pages (product vs categories). Each of these needs to be unique and focused on your user’s intent to work successfully and guide customers through to eventually buying products.

Fashion eCommerce do this well and prove that little can go a long way. ASOS highlights this immediately by regularly updating specific language and phrases on their key landing pages with snappy taglines and specific language and phrases. ASOS know their audience and personas for each department they cover. 

Bloom & Wild are also a great example of using a specific tone of voice within their PDP’s. With plenty of unique information on the products, reviews, and even suggestions of where you can send the flowers, they continually utilise their audience’s knowledge to optimise the user experience.

Blogs are a chance to speak to your audience

Once your product offering and key landing pages are optimised, look at your blog and consider if it’s really speaking to your users. Are the topics unique?  Do they answer questions about what you offer in exciting ways? Do they have the right tone of voice and cover specific areas of interest that capture your audiences?

Also, consider a range of levels with your content from a user funnel. Awareness: from your research, who’s your secondary audience that perhaps don’t know of your brand/site but would be interested in your products? Think of their intent and create content that can capture their interest and learn more about your brand.

Peldon Rose, an office interior design company in London, will have their target market as company stakeholders to create leads for their services. However, their blog looks further and creates unique, conversational topics that consider different levels from awareness to consideration on all topical, office-related content elements to show their authority and knowledge of their audiences.  

Don’t forget the small stuff – it makes big wins

 It may seem obvious, but your pages should also be refined and optimised for SEO as well as your users. The metadata (page titles and descriptions), headers and navigation – are crucial elements and quick wins when creating best-in-quality pages that show you know your audience.

Keep utilising those keywords you’ve found throughout your research earlier and implement them within any (natural) elements – it’ll pay off! 

Key Takeaways

And to let everyone get on with their research, here are the key takeaways in how you should figure out your audience and optimise your site correctly. 

  1. Find your target audience before buyer personas.
  2. Use your channels to align your ideal target market vs actual customers.
  3. Utilise keyword research & SERP analysis to find the intent of your audience’s searches.
  4. Learn from your competitors and their audiences to find common themes.
  5. Optimise your site based on your findings! Content is king and will open the gate for users to come.

Need some support with your SEO strategy? Get in touch with one of our experts. 

By Rebecca Jackson - 04/11/2021

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