If you havent see it already, check out the links in shor's comment below - there are some great resources in there. In some cases you can also consider surveying your current audience or customers through email, on-site surveys or SurveyMonkey.  Be sure to ask for some profiling information that you can use for determining specific persona needs like age, sex, location, etc. (Probably best not to make it sound like a creepy text chat like I just did though...)  :)


As I had a teacher at school who was always really picky on how to draw conclusions I must say that the conclusions you drew for your health situation might be true, but dangerous. For example: If slightly more women than men suffer from health deseases it could be wise to write the information toward women. But, if you take search behaviour into account thing could look a lot different: It might turn up that men search more than women or that (senior) men are more present on the net than women.

Laura,Great post.  This touches something I wish more SEOs practiced: conversion optimization. I think most SEOs think of what they do as a service for, instead of a partnership with clients.  The end result should never be raw traffic, but value obtained through targeted, CONVERTING traffic.You make excellent points about market research, product input, content creation, and other functions many SEOs and SEMs neglect.More and more SEO providers focus only on assembly line basics and worn out techniques instead of challenging themsleves to learn product marketing, usability, and conversion optimization.Your advice on market research is extremely valuable.Great start to a promising series.  I look forward to more!
2. Targeted Keyword Discovery: Ideally you’ll want to do keyword research based on what the audience wants, not solely on what content the site already has (or plans to have sans audience targeting), which may be limited. I can do keyword research on health conditions and drugs (content I have on my site) and determine what the general population is searching for and optimize my current content, or I can cast my net wide and look at what my target audience wants first, then do my keyword research. You may find there are needs that your site is not meeting. Knowing my senior audience is interested in primarily in prescription drug plans and cheap blood pressure medication, I can first make sure I’m providing that content, and then further determine the top keywords in these areas (in the next article Step 2), and use those terms in relevant and high visibility areas on my site.
Calculating the CTR of two different ads is easy – predicting how they’ll perform over the long term is much harder without running a lengthy A/B test. Perry Marshall's SplitTester tool allows you to enter numerical CTR data to predict the ongoing performance of the two ads. Great for estimating statistical significance if you don’t have enough time for a full A/B test.
One thing we hear time and again about our own tools is how valuable the benchmark performance data is, and that’s one area where AdGooroo shines. As well as the usual ad spend estimate modeling and other tools, AdGooroo also lets you look at snapshots of specific brands in your vertical – very interesting if you’re looking to adjust your PPC strategy. 

My name is [YOUR NAME] and I’m the [YOUR POSITION] at [YOUR COMPANY]. I was doing some research on [TOPIC] and discovered your guide about [TOPIC]. I really enjoyed it. I never realized that [SOMETHING YOU LEARNED FROM THEIR CONTENT]. Super cool. Anyway, I won’t take up any more of your time. Just wanted to thank you for putting the article together and wanted to let you know that I linked to it from my article: [INSERT NAKED URL] – it’s about [TOPIC].
My name is [YOUR NAME] and I’m the [YOUR POSITION] at [YOUR COMPANY]. I was doing some research on [TOPIC] and discovered your guide about [TOPIC]. I really enjoyed it. I never realized that [SOMETHING YOU LEARNED FROM THEIR CONTENT]. Super cool. Anyway, I won’t take up any more of your time. Just wanted to thank you for putting the article together and wanted to let you know that I linked to it from my article: [INSERT NAKED URL] – it’s about [TOPIC].
Sure, we did keyword research, we recommended partnerships and widgets and architecture advice, but we didn’t step back and take a good look at our target audiences, what sites were meeting their specific needs in search results, and what we specifically could build into the product that would be far more desirable than what everyone else had (not even thought of yet ideally) to make sure our entire site is superior, resulting in the inevitable stealing of search traffic from our competitors.
Over the next few posts, and starting with this one, I’m going to share with you a detailed 8-step process for creating your own SEO strategy (what I often refer to as an SRD (SEO Research Document)), beginning with defining target audiences and taking it all the way through some fairly comprehensive competitive research, search traffic projections, content strategies, and specific goals and prioritizations.

If you’ve ever looked at your site analytics and yelled “what do you want from me?” you’re not alone. That’s why Inspectlet lets you analyze user activity via eye-tracking heat maps, screen capture, and user interaction analytics. You’ll be able to watch how users interact with your site and figure out where they may get confused. And then get to work fixing those areas.

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