The first step to creating an SEO strategy is to liaise with other marketing, sales, and PPC teams. Existing insights, such as demographics data or competitor research, should also provide a good idea of who your business is trying to convert into a client.
The target audience for your business will be overarching, and SEO is just another channel through which you can target it. However, by using tools and analysing data, you can carefully craft your website pages to target specific terms searched for by the audience to find your products or services.
Before we delve into who you should target from an SEO perspective, let’s differentiate between the various targets available.
What is a target audience?
To illustrate this process, let’s assess a travel agent like Kuoni, which offers various types of holidays. They have most likely identified the type of people that would look for the services they offer online or visited their physical agencies. Based on that information, they have crafted an SEO strategy to maximise the number of people that land on their website.
An SEO strategy is a multi-faceted process, but a big part of it is to produce content specifically for the target audience and the identified buyer personas.
For example, it is visible from the Kuoni website navigation that their target audience is a mix of people interested in couples, solo, family, and adult holidays. From this, we can infer the audience has been a significant consideration when creating the website content.
Target audience vs buyer persona
While target audience is an umbrella term for the actual people you are trying to attract to your site, a buyer persona is partially fictional.
The buyer persona is a semi-fictional character representing who your ideal customer would be. How are their characteristics identified? By analysing your market research data, and by using the various demographic insights available to SEOs, you can establish one or more buyer personas.
These findings will then serve as valuable in your SEO strategy. By creating targeted landing pages for the identified buyer personas, you can produce very relevant content that is search engine optimised with highly tailored wording.
In the above Kuoni example, we can see that one of their identified buyer personas is a solo traveller. The demographics data available on tools such as Google Analytics will provide detailed insights into this semi-fictional buyer persona. This data can then be used in SEO strategy and for general marketing.
Asset assessment for audience and buyer persona targeting
Once you have identified your audiences and buyer personas, the next step is conducting an assessment of existing assets for targeting.
This stage will assess:
- Existing assets (commercial and supporting) targeting your audiences
- Competitor gap analysis specifically for the target audiences
- Existing asset performance
- New assets that require production
Assets can refer to anything from dedicated commercial landing pages to informational guides, blog posts to case studies, or other creative content that search engines can crawl and index.
This analysis will serve as the basis of your SEO audience targeting strategy.
Prioritising audience and buyer persona targeting
Depending on your SEO project roadmap, you can approach the audience targeting in different ways.
When choosing which audiences to optimise for Search, you can:
- Prioritise audiences that could have the most significant ROI
- Prioritise audiences with existing assets that you can rework and optimise to make the most of the existing rankings and signals (these are your potential quick wins)
- Prioritise audiences for which you have the most significant competitor gaps
- Prioritise audiences for which you have the lowest ranking or lack of rankings
Once you have prioritised the target audiences for SEO strategy, you must then decide what SEO activities you will carry out for commercial keyword optimisation and informational keyword optimisation.
The above will depend on your internal capacities.
By clearly understanding your audiences, including what they search for and how you will be able to optimise your website for them and for key buyer personas. As your target audience will hopefully see how you can solve or offer solutions to their specific problems, they will reward you by visiting your site again and potentially investing in your offering.
Commercial landing pages for target audiences
SEO is always for someone, and specialists seek to increase the visibility of a page so their products and services can be found more easily. These products or services would, to search engines, solve a problem or provide a solution for the users.
These users are your target audience, and they include existing and potential users you hope will engage with your website.
Kuoni is a tour operator offering various types of holidays. Naturally, each holiday type has a unique commercial landing page to present to potential customers, and they are targeted to their audience with keyword optimisation.
On average, 36,600 users search for ski holidays every month, making it the primary target keyword for the above landing page to target both previous and new users.
The second most popular keyword the audience searched for is ski holidays 2022.
Both keywords have been included in the meta title of this page, and ski holidays have been targeted regularly across the page. Through SEO optimisation, the product page is tailored to the specific audience that is looking and searching for the product
Discover buyer personas product use cases with deep keyword research
A way to learn more about your target audience and how they might use your product is by conducting deep keyword research.
Kuoni are targeting solo travellers with a dedicated commercial landing page by optimizing the key term single travellers: https://www.kuoni.co.uk/solo-travellers
The aim is to show the value proposition Kuoni brings to this specific persona.
The content uses tailored wording to incorporate SEO keywords. Third-party search trend data suggests the interest in solo holiday packages has been on an upwards trend for the past couple of months.
Although a solo traveller is already a buyer persona, keyword research can identify even more niche buyer personas. For example, a significant number of users in the UK are searching for solo holidays specifically for their age group.
From a business perspective, a travel agent might take this information into consideration when crafting their holiday offering. However, from an SEO perspective, the opportunity here is to produce targeted commercial landing pages that “speak” directly to solo travellers aged 60+.
The purpose of this commercial landing page would not be to reiterate what has been shared in the commercial landing page dedicated to solo travellers in general but to convey the message of how the travel agent’s solo holiday packages are suited for users in their 60s and beyond.
To ensure you are optimising your pages in line with how Google and other search engines perceive these keywords, conduct a SERP analysis to see what websites and content have been rewarded with the highest organic ranking positions.
This step will also provide insights into how your competitors target your key commercial terms and how are they address the target audiences and buyer personas.
The SERP will also present you with information on keyword opportunities surrounding your key commercial terms, such as the People Also Ask section. You can equally use 3rd party tools to identify related questions from keywords that the target audience or personas are searching for.
These keywords can form a part of your supporting content SEO strategy and be targeted through blogs or guides.
The importance of a targeted SEO strategy
The main goal of targeted landing pages is to increase their relevance of them to your target audience and buyer personas. This will maximise your chance of converting the users into customers and generating an ROI on your SEO investments.
The more relevant traffic you can drive to your site’s pages, and the better and most tailor-made experience you can offer them, the more effective your SEO strategy will be.