The first step in writing great SEO content for the web is learning about your audience. You aren’t writing web content simply because you enjoy writing, and you (hopefully) aren’t writing just to make the search engines happy.
You should have a specific purpose in mind for the content, and a specific type of reader to write for.
If you’re new to writing for the web or are trying to reach a new audience, it’s worth going through a formal process to define your reader personas.
Begin by assessing your best customers, the ones you’d like to replicate.
Determine the characteristics they have in common, and then create a persona that exemplifies them.
The aspects to define will vary depending on your industry, but for a B2B company, you might wish to determine whether your ideal reader is …
- In a specific industry
- In a specific department
- In a specific size of company
- At a particular level of responsibility
- In a specific geographic location
- Using a particular tool or program
For a B2C company, the characteristics of your ideal reader could include factors like:
- Owns a smart phone
- Plays sports
- Travels for work 12+ times annually
If you already have a strong understanding of your target audience, do just a brief, informal persona review in your head before beginning work on content for your new web page or your next blog post.
Know What Your Audience Wants
This next step will help you refine your thinking, create content that connects with your target audience, and select the appropriate words and terms that have resonance for your audience.
The content that you create to meet the needs of your persona is also likely to rank better in search engines.
People search for a variety of reasons. Common reasons in the B2B realm include searching to:
Understand a product category
Learn about a product or solution
Solve a specific problem
Common reasons in the B2C realm include searching to:
- Find the best deal
- Find the closest location
- Locate a product or service that’s advertised
You can think of your persona as someplace along a continuum that approximates the buyer’s journey:
Awareness > Interest > Consideration > Purchase > Post-Purchase > Re-Purchase
The same content will not work for all stages.
Is your persona:
- Looking for a general category of information? (Awareness)
- Looking for a solution to a specific problem? (Interest)
- Looking for an enterprise solution? (Awareness-Interest)
- Identifying and comparing specific products or vendors? (Consideration-Purchase)
- Looking for help with one of your products they already own? (Post-Purchase)
- Looking to replace or upgrade a product, and planning to remain loyal to you? (Re-Purchase)
- A college student writing a research paper? (Awareness)