Before You Get Your SEO On – Define Your Market

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Before you can “SEO” your site you should look at our first tip and make your site better.  Before you can make your site better, we have to consider the question “Better for who?”.  So we are going to define our market in the sad old stale tradional off-line way.  We are going to try to ask ourselves “Who are we building this site/content for?”

Often, as an SEO, we might see keyword research as a starting point for the search engine optimisation process but really we should start here. 

What can we write down about the visitors that we are trying to attract and please? 

Are they male or female? 

Do they have an age profile? 

Do they spend much time online? 

What are they doing online and where are they visiting?

I don’t have a background in offline marketing so the definitive customer profile checklist isn’t something you’ll find here.  These links might be useful:

What I do find really helpful is to just sit down and do the thinking.  Have a meeting and discuss the market for your site.  If you are a bigger operation with a marketing department, then ask them for any customer profiles or market segmentation work that already exists. 

What you want to be able to do is just write down a short description of who you want the site to appeal to.

It is worth considering that your site will likely have several different targets.  Your content needs to please prospective customers and possibly wider groups and it may well have to reach out to them at very different stages in their buying cycle.  Your site may also have to serve existing customers who will likely have very different content needs. 

One of the target markets for your site is not even human.  The search engine needs its own consideration.  You need to make sure that the search engine can access your content and you need to present your content in a way that the search engine is happy.

Another very important market to consider is the sub-set of people who control links.  People who blog, industry websites, journalists, ordinary visitors who might share your content by Twitter, or Facebook or elsewhere.  Links are a massive part of getting the rankings you need and this is one of the main reasons that you are considering your market so early in the process.  These people will probably never buy your product and yet can be exponentially more important than potential buyers.

Your site will have to appeal to these differing markets.  You will likely find these visitors in different ways, they will search for different things, they will read different websites and it might take different content to satisfy them.  When we look to build a better site, each improvement we make should be targeted to better serve some portion of our target market.

What we know about our market(s) and the different customers that our site needs to serve will feed into our SEO strategy.  It will affect our keyword research, and our content planning.  It will help us develop a link building strategy.  It will be the starting point that allows us to do a lot of normal SEO stuff but helps us do it better.

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One Response to “Before You Get Your SEO On – Define Your Market”

  1. [...] to take a strategic approach to your SEO and online marketing and we’ve already covered defining your market.  Defining your market is crucial because we need to come up with content that meets their needs, [...]