Keyword research is one of the most critical parts of good SEO. Audience research is one of the most important aspects of digital marketing. Together, they offer extremely helpful insights into your website visitors and how they reached your site. So, today we will discuss the most effective methods to research audiences for SEO.
Why Should You Perform Audience Research from a SEO Perspective?
One of the key issues of sites that do not have a high conversion rate is that they do not rank for the intended keywords. This means that people perform a search using the targeted keywords, but they are not interested in buying your products or services.
There are several reasons for this:
- They are conducting research for market surveys or content writing
- They are curious to understand what a product does and how it looks
- They live in a different city or a different country.
Thus, using various methods to research audiences for SEO leads to a shift in your keyword strategy – one that will attract qualified traffic to your website.
What It Takes to Research Audiences for SEO
You have several methods available to research website audiences from a SEO point of view. You don’t have to spend a lot of money hiring specialists or using complex marketing research tools.
In fact, many of these tools are available for free and provided to you by your biggest marketing and SEO frenemy – Google (yes, we all have a love-hate relationship with the search engine giant, because it makes it harder and harder to rank, but with beneficial results for those who play by the rules).
So, let us get started:
1. Use Google Analytics to Find Out More about Your Site Visitors
The first method to research audiences for SEO is to log into your Google Analytics account and go to the Audience section. Here, in the User Explorer option, you will find three important subsections:
This is a very important part of your research work. First of all, you can check if the typical website visitor corresponds with your buyer persona profile. Secondly, you can find new useful traits and characteristics to update your buyer persona.
If you find a significant mismatch between the visitors’ profile and your buyer persona, it’s time to analyse your content strategy and keywords and fix them.
2. Use Google Trends to See What Users Are Searching For
Google Trends is a very useful tool to show you how popular your keywords are. And here is a simple example. Look at the chart below, showing the Australian users’ interest for the term “home fitness”. You can find a nearly perfect match between the periods of lockdown and the periods when people were performing most searches on this topic.
This is a very useful too to research audience for SEO and understand how your keyword strategy aligns with what consumers are interested in.
3. Practice Social Listening
Social listening means more than simply monitoring your brand image and mentions across social media channels. It also means looking at the overall reactions and engagements your posts get across all the platforms.
Most platforms offer the option to “like” or “love” a post. Facebook offers more reaction options:
Things are a bit trickier here – does a Wow reaction mean a positive engagement or not? Does a ha-ha reaction mean you’ve entertained your audience or do they laugh at you? Once you get to know the audience, you can understand whether the reactions they have to your posts are positive or negative. However, this takes time and lots of direct interactions with your page followers.
4. Use the Analytics Data Provided by Social Media Platforms
Just like Google, social media platforms offer users who create pages and business profiles valuable information about their followers. As part of your work to research audiences for SEO, you should get these analytical data from social media platforms (at least Facebook) and compare them to the data provided by Google Analytics on your website visitors.
You may discover surprising information, such as a new category of user that you had previously excluded from targeting and from your SEO efforts.
5. Use Surveys to Understand Your Website Visitors Better
You don’t have to hire a market research firm to conduct surveys on your website visitors and social media followers. You can create a survey with ease using various platforms, such as:
- Google Forms
The answers to the survey help you not only research audiences for SEO, but also measure the user’s sentiment towards your brand.
6. Find the Most Popular Questions Users Ask
Google is now making easier for users to find answers to question. The Featured Snippet category provides a short and clear answer to a question directly in the SERP. Since everyone wants to see their site in the Featured Snippet section, there is a cutthroat competition for providing the best answers to the most frequently asked questions.
But what are these questions? Here, you can become proactive and research audiences for SEO from the point of view of the questions they typically ask. Once again, you can rely on various online tools, such as:
7. Become an Authority with Google Scholar
Finally, you should not leave anything to chance and look for reputable information on the audiences you research, their interests and behaviour. Google Scholar is your ally in this endeavour. On this specific search engine, you will find only research studies and scientific articles published in reputable journals, which you can read to gather more insights on your audience or even use as sources to link to in your content.