Optimize your site for your audience [SEO Wed. Vol. 3]

In last week’s SEO Wednesday (Getting Search Engine Rank), we discussed how you could use a program like Advanced Web Ranking to find out your current search engine rank for various keywords on various search engines. We also looked at tip number one of our highrankings.com top 10, which was “Do not purchase a new domain unless you have to.”

This week, even though it is two days late, we’ll look at tip number two, “Optimize your site for your target audience, not for the search engines.

One other thing to consider from our discussion of search engine rankings from last week is the fact that you need to check various forms of your URL when you run a search engine rank report. Prior to today, I would always check the rank for gbradhopkins.com only. Then, after viewing some stats for my site, I realized that the search engines see gbradhopkins.com and www.gbradhopkins.com differently. So, I added both (in addition to homepage.mac.com/bradhopkins - which is the original home of gbradhopkins.com) to my search engine rank report.

I found that while www.gbradhopkins.com is not ranked for any of my keywords, gbradhopkins.com ranks in the top 20 on five search engines for the keyphrase “mac tutorials.” View full gbradhopkins.com AWR report.

Highrankings.com Tip #2: Optimize your site for your target audience, not for the search
engines.

Basically, you need to figure out who your target audience is and what are they looking for. One way to do this is to search for websites that are in your same space (area, field or business). What are they talking about. Monitor these sites for an extended period of time (only as long as you want to remain competitive - forever). By monitoring the other sites in your space, you can get ideas on what makes a good site (as far as rankings are concerned) and how you can create / modify your site to meet the needs of your potential visitors. (Note - I’m looking at this from the perspective of an informational site. Your needs may differ if you are creating a business site). In a nutshell, make sure your site give users what they are looking for and eventually you will be ranked (provided you continue following the tips and advice that is being provided here and in other areas) and start generating that traffic that you crave.

Also, make sure that your information is easily accessible. I prefer clean sites that focus on the content (or purpose of the site). What does your target market prefer? You need to know, so that you can develop a site that appeals to them (not just you).

It’s also important to have some idea of how people are getting to your site, rather, what they are looking for that is getting them to your site. This only works if you are currently generating some traffic from search engines or other referrers. A referrer is simply the site that led someone to your site. One way to figure out how visitors are getting to your site is to use a counter like SiteMeter. It provides the referrer and a wealth of other information about how people are getting to your site. Read this tutorial on how to add SiteMeter to your website.

In recap, learn your audience and develop your site around their needs and desires. That’s the first (or second) step to a healthy website.