A lot has changed for SEO consultants over the years. It used to be that backlinking in whatever form or fashion you could produce them was the norm. Also, before Google announced Rankbrain in 2015, it was a much different process to rank for keywords. While publishing a site full of meaningful and in-depth content is always the goal, it was easier back then for some SEO services to advertise and utilize bad practices (like keyword stuffing) to get a higher rank.
Now that Google has adjusted their algorithm to deal with “blackhat” link building and keyword stuffing, attention has turned to content as the means for keyword ranking and link building. Writing for search comes with its own set of challenges — namely, picking keywords that are achievable to rank for you in your niche, writing better content than competitors in your niche, and getting authentic backlinks to blog articles. However, if done correctly, writing effectively for search can improve site rank like nothing else.
Problem — Ineffective Keyword Research
We all want to rank for the high-volume keywords in a niche, but the reality for small and medium-sized business owners is that long tail keywords are the best investment. Let’s say you have an e-commerce shoe store in North York, for example. Does it make sense to go for location specific keywords like ‘shoes Toronto’? Check out the results below for the answer:
As you can see, there is less traffic to be had for ‘shoes Toronto’ than for ‘shoes Canada’. A blog writing campaign that focused on Toronto would, in this case, generate less traffic than one focused on Canada. This example illustrates the importance of doing thorough keyword research before publishing anything to your blog. Your organic search ranking depends on it!
Problem — You Don’t Know Your Audience
Keyword research only gives you a snapshot of what terms people are searching for, but it does not provide any background rationale or context for who is searching, and why. How can you expect to draw a lot of attention with your blogs if you don’t know what your audience is interested in?
Segmenting out your audience is a skill that SEO consultants have in spades. Using software like Google Analytics, search engine optimizers follow a 3-step process to isolate, analyze, and reach out to your target audience.
Here are some research ideas to isolate your target audience:
- Conduct a survey of existing customers to get an idea of what sites they like to visit, and what products, services, and themes they associated most with your brand
- Pick a demographic subsection of your customer base, research their likes and interests, and create blog articles specifically for them
Once enough information has been gathered about your target audience, it will be much easier to hit the right tone with your blogs and on-site content. Together with effective use of niche keywords, properly researching your audience is key to writing for search.
The only thing that stays the same in digital marketing is the “trying” to increase traffic. The means to this end are always shifting, and today content marketing is a big part of an SEO consultant’s overall strategy. If your search strategy is not pulling in the results you hoped for, it is probably due to one of these problems in your approach. It’s worth fixing it now because changes will come around the bend again soon and make it even harder to keep pace.
All you need is time (4-6 months) and patience and you can get that new business through digital marketing efforts. If you need results quicker, a website refresh and pay per click (PPC) program may be better suited to your needs. Contact me.
Rob Dunford is a Marketing Consulting in the Great Toronto Area with over 20 years experience in building and implementing marketing plans for small business.