Un-targeted content added to a website is like a billboard placed in the desert. No one is going to see it. By targeting content, you make that content more likely to be seen by a specific audience. It’s like moving the billboard to a road heavily trafficked by people interested in your content.
So how do you target content? This post will cover ways to target specific content to specific audiences on websites and social platforms.
Targeting Content on Websites
The first step to targeting online content to a specific audience is research. Some of the best tools available are on Google.
Simple Google Search
Let’s start with the basics. Simply go to Google and begin typing a word or phrase related to your topic. When you get towards the end of typing in your search, look at the suggested words that Google provides. This is a good indication of how people are searching for that particular keyword or phrase. Jot these keywords down because we will use them later.
Google Keyword Tool
The best free tool for determining how people are searching for particular content is to use Google’s Keyword Tool. Simply type in keyword ideas, a website URL, or a category to see a set of data fields for how many people search for that keyword worldwide and in the USA per month. You can also determine the level of competition for that keyword and what it would cost per click to advertise for that word.
I use this tool for almost every website development project for my clients. What I find is that my clients and I often have an idea of how people will be searching for a particular topic or idea and yet when we use the Google Keyword Tool, we see that people search in a completely different manner. We then optimize for the words that people use instead of how we think people search.
Optimization | Targeting
After the keyword research has been completed, then comes the process of targeting content to a specific audience. You can do this by using the keywords and keyword phrases determined during the research process to target the content.
If this content is to be posted on a website, there are three main components you will need to complete to properly target the content at a basic level. These three components are:
- Meta Description
The Title is usually the title for the page or post containing content. The title should consist of 60 characters or less as this is the number of characters that Google will show for the results. The meta description should consist of 160 characters. The meta description is what Google will use to show underneath the title of each search result. You get to tell Google and the other search engines about your page in the description section. It is good to add keywords in here and to write it in such a way to get more people to click through to your page.
The final part is to add keywords. Google and other search engines use keywords to further target a page to the correct person. Make sure the keywords are pulled directly from content on your page. It is even debated if keywords are even used any more as many webmasters have misused keywords to trick users into going to pages not containing the type of information that was originally searched. Anywhere between 5 and 10 keywords or key phrases should be added and separated by commas.
The information above applies to optimizing content for the web, optimizing images, and optimizing videos. In each of these situations, you will have the ability to fill in title, description, and keyword information.
Twitter & Social Platforms
This same type of targeting applies to social platforms as well. For example, when Tweeting, a normal tweet without any mentions or hashtags is similar to a billboard in the desert. But, by utilizing @mentions and #hashtags, that tweet will be better targeted. The best way to determine who to mention and what hashtags to use is to use Twitter’s Search feature.
Recently, Google released a feature called “How Search Works” and it covers Google’s system of collecting all of the web’s information and making it searchable. Here is a link to the feature – http://www.google.com/insidesearch/howsearchworks/thestory/
The content above is from a presentation given at the Metro Atlanta Chamber on Monday, March 4, 2013 by @ErikRostad