Focus on customers to improve keywords and search engine optimization

Smart SEO Means Focusing on Customers

vortex-miami-keyword-researchFailing to recognize the role of the customer in search engine optimization (SEO) seems to be a common mistake among business owners. They put time and money into impeccably designed websites, pepper them with what they think are relevant key terms, and then sit back scratching their heads when no one comes calling. Sound familiar?

If you’ve found yourself in this situation, don’t despair. The solution is a simple one.

Optimize for the Customer

You’re an expert in your field. No one understands your brand better than you do. So when you think about keywords for your website, you’re coming from an entirely different mindset than the potential buyers on the other end of that search engine.

If you want to rank on page one instead of page 10, you need to start thinking like your target audience. Optimize for topics and popular longtail keywords that people are actually searching for.

Remember, the customer drives the search engine and determines which key terms are the most relevant for your website. To better understand how your customers are searching, you have to first understand the customer.

Start with Buyer Personas

Understanding the needs, and expectations of your target audience is not only essential to SEO, but to your overall business success. By creating a buyer persona, you gather invaluable demographic information about your ideal customer, whether to focus on local search or not, and gain a deeper understanding of the longtail keywords and phrases that a potential buyer will use to find your products and services.

Make the Most of Keyword Research Tools

Once you have a basic understanding of the types of key terms that potential leads are using to find your website, you can use online keyword research tools to fine-tune your SEO strategy. Here are a few popular online tools.

  • Google Suggest is the auto-complete function of the Google search engine. Just start typing your keyword, and Google will suggest long-tail variations. For example, if you type in “assisted living,” you’ll see suggestions such as “assisted living vs. nursing home.”
  • Ubersuggest is advertised as “Google Suggest on steroids!” Submit your query and instantly receive hundreds of long-tail suggestions.
  • Google AdWords Keyword Planner provides keyword suggestions and statistical data, including how many average monthly searches a key term receives and how competitive ad placement is for a given keyword.
  • SEO Book provides average monthly searches, daily searches, searches by specific search engine, and cost per click.
  • Wordtracker is similar to Google’s Keyword Planner, but provides additional competition metrics such as the keyword effectiveness index (KEI), which estimates a key term’s potential to attract traffic.

The idea is to choose relevant longtail keywords while maintaining a delicate balance between organic monthly searches and competitive difficulty. This is where the long-tail suggestions really become useful.

For example, a PR firm may want to optimize a blog post around the term “PR firm,” a term that gets an average of 1,000 monthly searches, but also carries a high competition score. By instead focusing that blog post on “top PR firms,”, they face significantly less competition for nearly the same monthly searches (720).

Don’t Forget the Content

Drawing potential leads to your website is only half the battle. If you don’t provide potential buyers with engaging content, they’ll quickly hit the back button and search again.

  • Don’t cry “wolf” – You see this mistake made repeatedly on social media platforms such as Twitter. A keyword phrase is embedded in a hashtag, but nothing of substance is provided to the reader. Just like the little boy who cried “wolf,” you may get some attention from this strategy at first, but eventually those potential buyers are going to tune you out.
  • Provide useful information – Answer questions, give tips, offer advice, and focus your topics around a single, relevant keyword. This not only helps send a clear message to search engines, but it helps keep content more focused and useful to the reader.
  • Keep adding content – Continue to add new content that fulfills the needs of your buyer personas. Post content two or three times a week to keep your website active and show Google you’re a relevant source of fresh, useful information.
  • Don’t duplicate content – Resist the urge to reuse content just so you’ll have something to post. This can work against you in the search results.
  • Avoid keyword stuffing – Don’t try to manipulate search results by needlessly stuffing keywords into web copy. Not only will it backfire in terms of search results, but it will likely put off your readers.

Be Patient

Don’t expect to compete with the big name competition on day one. Gaining traction with search engines takes time – even when you’re doing everything right. Be patient and plan on a long-term SEO program that will provide results several months down the road.

Need Additional Help?

You may wish to contact a web design firm in geographic area for assistance. You can refine your search to specific areas by adding a city name, ex: Web Design Miami. A professional, experienced firm can guide you through the process of selecting templates, or building a custom design from scratch.

A specialized firm should be able to help you with buyer persona development, search engine optimization, PPC (pay-per-click) and inbound marketing tactics such as bloggingcalls-to-actionlanding pages and forms that can help improve your site’s page ranks and generate new prospects and leads.
About the author: Tom Weinkle is a founder and partner of Vortex Communications, a graphic and website design firm who offers graphic and WordPress web design, build, troubleshooting and training services along with search optimization, social media and inbound marketing services. Based in Miami, Florida, Tom has over 25 years of experience in visual communications for the healthcare, medical, law, accounting, software, financial services and banking industries.

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