Knowing Your Niche for SEO

Aug 03, 2016


BEST PRACTICES SERIES

Article ImageUnderstanding your niche is a foundation for any marketing campaign, SEO or otherwise. Businesses need to know who they are appealing to, what attracts an audience, and even better, why potential customers are attracted to particular pieces of content or use certain keywords in their online searches.

This post will continue to add to the SEO strategy for the mock company "Wally's Hobbies," owned by Sandra Wallace. Already an expert, Sandra probably has some idea of her customer demographics. She will probably even know specifics on what is relevant for RC enthusiasts and has a few ideas for various content pieces. Knowing her industry is key to recognizing which keywords and content will be relevant.

Sandra will have to go further to discover her online niche. Without understanding her online communities, she will limit her visibility and conversions. It is not enough to know your own, already established audience. You need to understand the competitive marketplace, and how other companies in your industry are succeeding online.

How does Sandra research her audience? Keyword research is going to be her best bet. Doing keyword research for her own business was discussed at length in a previous article, so let's look at some other ways Sandra can research niche markets.

Competitor Analysis

Investigating your community isn't just identifying who your audience is. It is also recognizing who your competitors are, and what makes them successful. By introducing more in-depth keyword research into her SEO strategy, Sandra can gain new insights into her field.

SEMrush is the best place to start competitor keyword research. She can discover new online communities and keywords through competitor keyword research. What keywords are driving traffic to her competitors' websites? What keywords are her competitors ranking for that Wally's Hobbies aren't? This will help her develop a better understanding of what her target audience is searching for on the web.

Sandra can also develop content strategies through competitor long tail keyword analysis. Perhaps one of her competitor's long tail keywords were for a specific RC vehicle part, such as "RC helicopter wire pack price." She can begin targeting new keywords and long tail keywords, along with brainstorming content strategies. These are some of the benefits of competitor keyword research that can increase traffic by implementing long tail keywords.

How does this lead to relevant content that is targeted toward her business? If people are buying replacement wire packs for their RC helicopters, they are also going to have to repair them. Based on this inference, Sandra can create "how-to's" on repairing RC vehicles that would be relevant and valuable to her audience.

Through competitor analysis Sandra was able to find new keywords to target, a product that could be driving traffic and sales to her competitors, brainstorm content ideas, and provide information that her audience may find highly relevant. All made possible by further researching her online community.

Buyer's Personas

Sandra has already done her keyword research using Google's Keyword Planner and Authority Labs. She has already developed a keyword strategy and discovered her niches "affinities"-or people who are connected by similar interests, through Google's Keyword Planner.

Now she can create buyers' personas. A buyer's persona is very similar to Google's affinity categories. It is a hypothetical archetype of a consumer of your product or service. Creating personas will help Sandra understand her audience, and stimulate creativity in driving conversions and crafting content. Sandra needs to clearly define these personas.

Examples for her industry could include:

  • Technophiles
  • Outdoor Enthusiasts
  • Auto Enthusiasts
  • Online Shoppers

She can think of many reasons as to why these personas are connected to her niche. Outdoor enthusiasts may enjoy flying their RC helicopters while camping. Technophiles may enjoy the advancement in RC drones, while auto enthusiasts may like driving their favorite classic cars in the form of RC models. Online shoppers make up a broader persona and will be people who make many purchases online, and will likely be highly familiar with e-commerce sites.

These groups all make sense for a hobby business, but by segmenting them into separate personas, Sandra can gain a deeper understanding of her audience.

What products would an auto enthusiast consumer find desirable on an RC hobby website? What content could I create that would appeal to outdoor enthusiasts who enjoy RC vehicles?

To know her niche, she should work to become a subject-matter expert. Luckily, for many business owners, they already are experts on their customers, industry, and products/services. Personas will help Sandra understand the nuances of her niche and audience, and help generate new ideas for attracting customers.

Niches, Keywords and Google

Niche research and keyword research are inseparable for a successful SEO strategy. Keyword research gives you insight into what your niche wants to buy, learn, and what they aren't interested in. The more Sandra knows her niche, the better she can target keywords that will drive traffic to her website.

At the end of the day, SEO is about attracting your audience with valuable content targeting often-searched keywords. Sandra having a full understanding of her niche will benefit her in many ways outside of SEO. Understanding her industry will contribute to her strategies for advertising, as well as providing insights for other marketing campaigns.

While Google uses many signals to determine rank, keywords are an important indicator which help Google present the most relevant websites in search results based on the user's intent. The 5 pillars of SEO are all deeply connected. Keyword research must be done to further understand one's niche and audience.

(Image courtesy of Shutterstock.)


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