SEO is often thought of in much narrower terms that it should be. It isn’t just keywords and other “mechanical” aspects you should be paying attention to as you seek to maximize your website’s marketing performance.
Here are some additional factors to consider as you plan a new site or an update to an existing site, or even consider adjustments to your ongoing editorial calendar.
Do the Research – Know Your Target Market
Don’t guess or go with your gut. Know the issues your target market is facing and be sure your web content (and all your other marketing materials!) focus on solutions to those issues. The best keyword research in the world won’t help if you’re addressing problems that aren’t relevant to your target audience.
The best way to do this is to ask questions. That can be accomplished effectively in a face-to-face setting; in the course of the sales process; via survey, focus groups and interviews; and by gathering usage data from your various digital properties. (Web, social, and email.)
Don’t forget to talk to a full range of people who interact with your brand, products, and services. Sales team members and customer support personal will be extremely helpful, as will existing clients, inactive clients, and prospects who opted not to sign up with you.
Assess the Market Landscape
Forget good, better, best. It’s not how your audience thinks when they are comparing you to your competition. They’re assuming some (significant?) portion of what you and your competitors say about yourselves is marketing fluff. And they assume whatever supporting data you have may not be perfectly applicable to them.
What’s more likely to set you apart is, well, whatever sets you apart. That is, it’s how you’re different that matters more than whether you’re “better.”
So don’t worry about being great, or even being the best option for all people. Focus instead on finding a differentiator that resonates with a segment of the audience you’re comfortable serving.
Being different requires knowing what’s already out there. Get to know what your competitors are doing. Track changes in their approach as well as changes in their performance. (Who owns the top of the search results pages today? Are they the same firms that owned them six months ago?)
Words Matter – Be Careful with Your Language
The basics like keywords do matter, and so does using the language that your audience knows and understands. If you call your whose-it a thingamabobber, you’d better have a compelling story why, and a reason that what you’re doing differently is worthy of a shift in thinking. Otherwise, nobody is going to know what you’re talking about, even if they do manage to find you.