SEO guide for audience research and content analysis

SEO guide for audience research and content analysis

How your customers find you can vary considerably. It can be based on their interests, needs or pain points.

Some people may already know exactly what they need and search for it on Google. Others may be just starting the research process. Others may already know what they need and compare to find the best source to buy from.

In this phase of your SEO research and planning, you would like to identify:

Your goal will be to map your target personas, purchase stages and keywords for each persona and purchase stage.

Persona research 

Persona research 

You can start by using customer service data or information from your demographic information in Google Analytics. With this information, you can start creating target personas.

Below is an example of possible target personas for a real estate company.

Once you have your personalities and ideas about who they are, what they need, and what they are looking for, you will want to map out the possible steps they will take in their buying journey.

Buyer’s journey

Buyer’s journey

Finally, you can add the possible keywords they want to search for and map them to the journey.

Map keywords to persona to the buyer’s journey

Map keywords to persona to the buyer’s journey

The goal of this phase is to identify all the possible ways you can be found and to make sure you have optimized content on your website that is targeted to those buying phases and keywords.

You start by identifying primary roots. As you evolve, you can go deeper into long-tail terms or semantically related keywords.

This will allow you to identify gaps and opportunities that were missed during your initial baseline and competing research. Some of these keywords will not be revealed unless you really understand your audience and their needs and pain points.

This phase will complete your research phase and give you all the information to create your content strategy and focus your SEO priorities on the page.

Evaluate your existing content

Evaluate your existing content

With your extensive keyword research, the next step is to look at the existing content on your site and see if it is optimized properly.

Before creating a content calendar or editorial strategy, it is ideal to revise your existing content. By reviewing your existing pages, you can decide which pages to remove, consolidate or optimize.

Some of the items you can look for include:

To perform a content review, export all your pages from your CMS or use an SEO review tool, such as Screaming Frog or Semrush Site Audit, to get a list of your site’s existing pages.

Consolidate all this data into a content audit spreadsheet. Your spreadsheet might look like this:

Assess your site’s content

Once you have collected all the data, go through the URLs and tag the pages:

How to optimize, modernize or consolidate pages

Once you’ve tagged all your pages, it’s time to optimize your content. Some pages may work well, but they can be updated to help them perform even better. Others may perform poorly and need to be optimized to rank.

Typically, this process will involve two steps:

Select the primary and secondary keywords for each page

The best way to collect this data is to use the Google Search Console to rank pages or your keyword database for pages that are not.

To collect data from the Google Search Console, click Performance & gt; Search results report:

You can click on a page to see the keywords it ranks for, and clicks, impressions, and average position for each:

This will help you identify keyword keywords for each page that you can add to your spreadsheet.

For each page, add the primary and secondary keyword keywords you want to use when performing the necessary content updates.

Revamp existing content

When optimizing pages, make sure you maintain or add the correct on-page SEO elements. Let’s review these:

The primary keyword should appear in:

All related secondary keywords should be incorporated naturally into the article. For each related keyword, add them in an H2 heading. Whatever the focus keyword is for each section, it should be in both the H2 heading and in the section after the heading.

Questions and answers

Questions and Answers are an easy way to expand your articles by finding related questions. Take the primary keyword and search for it on Google. Use the questions in the “People also ask” field as section headings:

The section heading with the question will be an H2. In the next section, answer the question as quickly and concisely as possible. Do not reproduce the question; instead, give the answer immediately.

If the question was “How do you appear in excerpts”, then the first sentence should answer the question: “To get into selected excerpts, ask questions and answer them using paragraphs, lists and quick answers.”

Use bullets! Google loves to provide bulleted answers, so where possible, answer the question and immediately add a bulleted list:

Use proper formatting to make content easy for people to read quickly. Here are a few suggestions for formatting your content:

Add 2-3 internal links to other relevant pages on the page. Keep your anchor text short. Then find at least 3-5 relevant pages on your site, and link to your landing pages. Each page on your site should contain as many links from other site pages as possible.

Add 2-3 external links to relevant pages. Good external links serve a strong purpose. They create a natural link card and link your sites with authoritative sources. Google wants to give more weight to a site that has good external links.

Add new content

If the article is thin, you can add new content to elaborate on key points.

Writing new content


Content consolidation

When there are several short pages or articles that are all ranked by the same keyword, it may be ideal to group these articles into a longer, more comprehensive piece.

When consolidating articles, keep in mind:

Prioritize your fixes

Once you’ve created and tagged your spreadsheet and added targeted primary and secondary keywords, the final step is to prioritize and assign your optimizations based on traffic or keyword meaning.

If you have pages that target important keywords that do not rank well, move them to the top of the priority list.

If there are sites that have a lot of traffic and could perform better, these should also be prioritized.

At the end of this phase, you should have a comprehensive keyword list that you want linked to existing pages or branded to be created.

Mind the gap

Mind the gap

In the early stages, you will want to pay attention to identifying person, content, and keyword gaps. If you do not have content targeted to any of your keywords, you will miss out on opportunities to reach your target audience.

Most sites will have a degree of cannibalization as the SEO and content plans go through different teams and stages.

Before spending significant resources on producing new content, first identify and maximize the content you already have, and then “take care of the gap” by creating a content plan that targets all keywords that have not been optimized.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.

New on Search Engine Land

About The Author

Marcela De Vivo is an industry veteran with more than 20 years of experience in digital marketing, Marcela travels the world talking about SEO, data-driven marketing strategies and workflow automation and optimization. Marcela owns a digital marketing agency called Gryffin based in California.

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