How to Use SEO to Reach New Audiences
If your company has a website and you’re not doing SEO (search engine optimisation), then you’re missing out on an entire stream of revenue and a wealth of audiences.
Think about it. How many times a day do you hop on to Google to answer a query, look for a product or find a service?
“Just google it…”
In fact, search engines have become so ingrained in our everyday lives, that ‘google’ has become a transitive verb. The phrases “I’ll google it” and “can you google this for me?” are second nature and they’ve been around for a while…
20 years ago the first record of Google being used explicitly as a transitive verb was in the TV series, Buffy The Vampire Slayer. In the episode ‘Help (episode 4, season 7) Willow asks Buffy, “Have you googled her yet?”
Why should your business care about Google?
But what’s this got to do with your business? We hear you ask.
It’s estimated that Google processes 63,000 search queries every second. This translates to 5.6 billion searches per day, which equals 2 trillion global searches per year (Hubspot).
There are 7.753 billion people on earth. This equates to every single person on earth doing 1.38 searches every single day 🤯.
And when 68% of online experiences begin with a search engine, you can’t afford to lose traffic and revenue to competitors.
What is SEO?
Search Engine Optimisation is a marketing channel that makes websites more visible in search engines, bringing more traffic, and therefore sales and/or leads to a website.
What makes SEO so sustainable is the fact that it is a long-term, cost-effective way to target people who are searching for a specific product or service, bringing more qualified traffic that’s more likely to convert.
SEO also helps to increase brand awareness and can position your organisation as an expert within your industry, building expertise, authority and trust (which is referred to as EAT - a concept that’s referenced in Google’s Search Quality Rater guidelines).
But obtaining that first position on Google, Yahoo, or even Bing doesn’t happen overnight, and it takes a lot of work.
The fundamentals of SEO
There are several factors that will impact the success of an SEO strategy. These include:
- Technical SEO: This looks at how your website is being crawled and indexed. From schema to page speed, site architecture, sitemaps and URL structure, it encompasses all the structural aspects of a website.
- On-page SEO: On-page SEO looks at all the content on a website. From text to image, video and audio, to structured data, HTML and tags, it focuses on all areas of content.
- Off-page SEO: Off-page SEO does what it says on the tin. This embodies anything that’s not on your site. This includes local SEO, link building, social media marketing, user-generated content, reviews and more.
Tactics for audience targeting in SEO
Now we’ve got the basics, here are a few tips and tricks to help you improve your audience targeting:
Understand your audience personas
Before you do anything, you need to understand who your audiences are and which are the most valuable to you. If you have Google Analytics, have a look at your audience data. You can also garner this information through market research tools such as UberSuggest and survey tools such as SurveyMonkey.
All of this will help streamline your activity and get the best results, as you’ll be targeting audiences who are more likely to convert.
Undertake keyword research
Keywords are the words and phrases people use to find web pages on search engines. You should look for relevant short tail (e.g. desk) and longtail (e.g. desk for sale near me) keywords and map them against the buying funnel.
When undertaking keyword research you should consider the average monthly search volume and competition of these phrases - you can get this information from tools such as SEMRush, Ahrefs and other marketing tools.
From this, you can determine your primary, secondary and tertiary keywords and seed them into existing and new content. This includes meta data, anchor text, blog articles, landing pages and more.
Segment your buying stages
Your audiences will be at different stages of the buying process, so it’s important to understand what these stages are, segment your audiences and then create content that aligns with this.
For example, a B2B software as a service (SaaS) provider could create a ‘How To’ guide, offering a solution to a problem for prospects who are at the start of the funnel and have just become aware that a problem exists within the company. For customers who are further down the funnel, they could create comparison tables with their features against competitors or a buying guide.
Cater to specific search habits
When you understand your audience’s search habits, you can optimise your content and tailor your efforts, further streamlining your targeting.
For example, 50% of buyers begin their product search on mobile, so it’s important for eCommerce businesses to ensure their mobile site is optimised for search. If your audience is predominantly on mobile, you should consider whether voice search is relevant.
For B2B companies, it’s important to include the search engine, Bing in their efforts. After all, 87% of businesses use Windows operating systems, and Bing is Microsoft’s default search engine.
You should also think about the process your audience takes when searching. When people search for products, services or information they do one of the following:
Users search using a keyword, see the top 3 positions that don’t meet their intent so they go back and reword their search.
The user has a targeted query the search engine meets the intent of this search. They may click on one or two URLs and get what they need.
New to a topic, the user wants to find more information and go to a resource website or PDF, as they learn more terminology, they adapt their searches and use those terms to search.
Closely related to pearl growth – the user knows what the topic is and then refines it with the information they have.
Results are so broad the search needs to be refined, so the user has a look at the results page and then reformulates their search with the information served, to get a better result.
When you understand these search habits, you can create content and cater to them. Not all forms of search are the same.
Create visually rich content
Visually rich forms of search are on the rise, and social media is driving this.
Google has already started to index short videos from Instagram and TikTok, making their search engine results page (SERP) more visually appealing than those blue links that are becoming a relic of what Google once was.
In July 2022, Senior Vice President of Google, Prabhakar Raghavan said that younger people are using TikTok and Instagram to facilitate their searches.
He said, “In our studies, something like almost 40% of young people when they’re looking for a place for lunch, they don’t go to Google Maps or Search. They go to TikTok or Instagram.”
Don’t discount social media
From obtaining user-generated content on Twitter, to increasing referral traffic to your website from LinkedIn, and getting reviews from customers on Facebook, social media is a powerful marketing channel that can influence the success of your SEO strategies.
For your SEO to reach new audiences and convert, you need to understand who and where your audiences are, and ultimately serve their intent through the content you generate.
This comes in the form of search experience - from short videos to long-form guides and experiential landing pages, you need to create content for people not search engines. Doing this will help you remain relevant and present in the search engine results page, which ultimately builds trust.
If you’d like more information, or you’re looking for an agency to develop an exceptional SEO strategy that sets you apart from your competitors, then get in touch with Pull The Pin today.