When you think about SEO, you may not typically think of how human factors play a role; you likely think of the results. And rightly so; one of the most important ways to successfully increase the organic rank of your website is to pursue data driven-results: measurable, confirmable numbers that demonstrate ROI and justify your SEO initiatives.

But there is one crucial component of SEO success that is increasingly overlooked: the human factor. After all, it is real, actual people searching for keywords, visiting websites, and buying products or services. These days, if you aren’t considering the human psychology behind your SEO strategy (What is motivating users? What is their intent?), you’re not only creating a bad user experience; you’re also not going to achieve the results you’re looking for in your SERP rankings.

Your SEO Audience

Effective SEO starts with identifying your target audience, then figuring out how to connect with that audience. Defining and understanding your audience can help you create a more successful SEO strategy. This means creating a”persona,” or audience profile, with a highly-detailed set of parameters.

For example, if you have a business that sells baby clothes and accoutrements, your most likely audience is going to be couples who are expecting children, excitedly shopping for their future child. That is your demographic, and in order to set goals, you need to get to know them.

That seems simple enough, but to fully refine your SEO audience for maximum success, you need to go deeper.  It helps to boil down the questions into essential lists:

  • What kind of industry is the visitor most likely from?
  • What age ranges are they likely to be?
  • What locations are they likely to be from?
  • How do they identify themselves? Student? Parent? Business owner?
  • What level of employment do they likely have?

Why is this helpful? Because if your SEO audience is more likely to be upper level executives, and your site seems directed at college graduates, you’ll be acquiring the wrong types of traffic, yielding very few conversions. All of your content, metadata, tag, and other technical SEO features need to be carefully enhanced with your audience in mind.

Go deeper to broaden your SEO audience

The next set of questions to ask yourself revolve around specific social preferences, rather than a purely demographic approach. This goes  a little deeper than employment or age range, and it has to a do a lot with what your audience typically associates themselves with:

  • Who do they associate, or interact with often? Peers? Friends? Coworkers?
  • What types of media are they involved in? (Social Media Sites, Netflix Binging, Internet surfing etc)
  • What are they affiliated with? (Groups, Activities, or Organizations)
  • What are some brands they follow, or seem to be influenced by?
  • What are their hobbies?

I know, the last question seems a bit irrelevant. How would knowing their hobbies help? And isn’t that a little too “Big Brother?”

Well… like it or not, Google is Big Brother! Think about how your shopping searches, or internet surfing queries, or content of posts or sites you follow often show up in advertisements everywhere you go on the internet not long after. The capital-I Internet knows I am an SEO enthusiast. Therefore, they keep bringing up SEO tool advertisements and SEO related blogs. Because that’s what I search about.

That, however, is information that good SEO strategies examine. You can’t formulate a goal strategy without fully diving into the details of who your audience is. It’s like jumping into a pool not knowing how deep it is, or where the sides are. Where are you going? Where can you put your feet down?

Know Thine SEO Audience

The next time you sit down to formulate an SEO strategy, take a moment to consider the human factor, and in the process, create a better user experience for visitors while delivering better results to clients.

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