Operating in a niche industry means you’re catering to a distinct audience and customer base. What drives customers’ purchases might be a little to the left of mainstream markets. Indeed, niche industries can be quite specific. Think of pet stores for owners who only adopt or raise schnauzer breeds. Or homebuyers who are looking for tiny homes under 650 square feet.
Attracting target audiences in niche markets can be demanding because the sizes of those potential customer bases are small. Fortunately, in the age of digital marketing, search engine optimization can be a powerful tool for niche businesses. Below we’ll explore four ways to optimize SEO campaigns to boost a company’s reach to small but often passionate audiences.
1. Do Your Research
SEO-optimized content may be one of the ways your target audience finds you. But to optimize your content for search engines, you need to know what information your audience wants. Researching keywords and keyword phrases is a good start. However, you also want to consider the intent and what questions your prospects want to answer.
For example, law firm digital marketing and SEO campaigns might target long-tail keywords like “How to divide assets in a divorce.” At the same time, the campaigns will consider the searcher’s intent and possible questions. The target audience’s intent may be to find information about ways to navigate a divorce on amicable terms. Some questions might be “How do I avoid a court battle with my soon-to-be ex?” and “Do I need my own divorce attorney?”
Using keyword research tools and analyzing competitors’ content can help you find phrases and determine search intent. You can also try seeing what keyword phrases search engines suggest when you look up related topics. Just keep in mind that search volumes for keywords in niche industries won’t look impressive. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t use them in your SEO campaigns. Over time, these phrases and words can deliver good results.
2. Create the Content Your Audiences Want
It goes without saying that niche audiences aren’t looking for run-of-the-mill content or advice. They’re searching for information that’s more off the beaten path than what most people are reading or watching. This means blog posts, videos, and web pages must be unique and perhaps more in depth. A mainstream cooking audience might not care about the protein and iron count in different plant-based foods. Yet vegan and vegetarian consumers will.
If your content fails to deliver what niche audiences want, you may see high bounce rates and fewer conversions. High bounce rates let search engines know content isn’t relevant to people’s needs or expectations. Consequently, those posts, how-to guides, and videos may drop in the search engine rankings and results pages. These aren’t the SEO campaign results you’re aiming for.
Creating content that matches what niche audiences want is an effective way to reduce bounce rates. From a search engine perspective, the longer people stay on a page or site, the more relevant that content is. Incorporating links to related posts or landing pages on your site can also help keep your bounce rates within range. But your overall strategy should focus on knowing what information your audience is looking for and providing it to them.
3. Look at the Technical Side of Your Website and Content
Overlooking the technical side of your website and content can lead to a drop in search engine rankings. That’s because search engines also consider how user-friendly and responsive your digital content is. Search engines will mark you down if your site takes too long to load. You also want to avoid broken links and pages that aren’t mobile-friendly.
Data from Pew Research shows the percentage of U.S. consumers who own smartphones has risen substantially since 2011. Back in 2011, 35% of Americans had a smartphone. Fast-forward a decade, and 85% of U.S. consumers now have a smartphone in hand. It’s not only desktops and laptops audiences use to find information and businesses online. The conveniences of apps and smartphones mean digital content must look good and function well on mobile devices.
Another big technical aspect to check is your website’s security. Expired secure socket layer certificates is a no-no. Not having an SSL certificate on your site can also cause your search engine rankings to tank. If you’re publishing gated content, collecting data from online forms, or operating an e-commerce store, SSL certificates are non-negotiable.
4. Analyze and Tweak Your Approach
Search engine algorithms and niche audiences morph and change. What looks like a promising keyword or phrase may not bring in the traffic you were anticipating. Likewise, search engines may change how they evaluate content and what determines a higher ranking. Analyzing the results of your SEO campaigns will reveal whether your approaches are on target.
That said, SEO takes a while to work even with non-niche audiences. With more refined market needs, your SEO campaigns may take a bit longer to produce results. Adjusting your benchmarks and targets according to your industry helps you set realistic goals.
Niche industries may have smaller audiences and markets, but a few competitors usually exist in the same spaces. There may, for example, be enough market reports and data for growing industries such as green energy. Comparing your SEO campaign results against internal and external benchmarks over time will uncover opportunities for refinement.
While overall trends may not impact niche audiences that much, microtrends might. Leveraging these changes in your keyword research and content may expand your reach. Also, keep on top of what search engines evaluate and adjust your strategy according to those criteria.
SEO Optimization for Niche Audiences
All businesses and industries can benefit from well-optimized SEO campaigns. Even though niche industries have smaller keyword search volumes and audiences, SEO optimization still drives traffic to their digital content. Researching your audience’s intent, creating relevant content, fine-tuning technical aspects, and tweaking your strategy can improve your campaign results.