How to Do SEO for Niche Markets via @krisjonescom

The Digital Ninja Club News Aggregation service has sourced the following article originally published on Search Engine Journal:

There is a product or service out there for everyone.

But, some can be so specific that their target market is an eighth of the size of a major consumer industry.

While there are many advantages to catering to unique audiences, it can be challenging if you don’t know how to reach them.

Because a niche market is so small, it can be nearly impossible to reach potential customers through traditional means.

However, the internet opens the door for even the most unique of businesses to become profitable if they market themselves correctly.

From generating targeted ads to having a stellar social media presence, being online is a must for any niche market.

When developing your digital marketing campaign, SEO is essential.

Though it can take some time for SEO to produce results, optimizing properly can completely transform your business.

How Niche Markets Benefit From SEO

Just because you sell something incredibly unusual doesn’t mean you’re the only one in the world offering it.

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Your competitors are online, and the only way to guarantee potential customers find you first is through a strong SEO campaign.

Your first goal in SEO should be to rank high in web searches.

Once you’ve jumped that hurdle, you have a much better chance of reaching new business goals, such as more conversions, more consumer engagement, and brand differentiation.

If you’re wondering what high-quality, effective SEO for your niche market entails, below are five steps you need to follow in your strategy.

1. Analyze Your Industry’s General Search Volume

One thing you should look at right away is the search volume on terms for your industry.

Are people genuinely searching for your product, or are there better, more specific phrases out there you should be targeting?

If you’re trying to rank for a keyword that has little-to-no search volume, you may struggle to bring in traffic once you’re in the top position.

There are a few ways you can check the search volume of your keywords.

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Google’s Keyword Planner is a great tool to research search metrics and historical data on your terms.

You can also use the Keyword Planner to generate ideas based on another keyword or a landing page.

This will help you get an idea of what users are actually searching for when it comes to your products or services.

You can also use a Chrome extension called Keywords Everywhere, which displays search volume, related keywords, and other data directly in your search query.

Another great option is SEMrush’s Keyword Overview tool. This allows you to plug in your website or landing page and see what terms you’re ranking for.

This can be incredibly useful to see how your site is currently performing.

Be sure to look through the list to ensure you’re ranking for relevant phrases, and to make a note of any terms you think should be higher in rank.

Analyze Your Competition

Though niche businesses generally have less competition than major markets, you still want to analyze what your competitors are doing.

Understanding what strategy they’re using, and how well it’s working, is essential to crafting your own.

This doesn’t mean to copy your competitors. Instead, take what they are doing, and do it ten times better.

Find out how well your competitors are performing and surpass them through quality content and SEO optimization.

SEMrush’s Keyword Gap tool is a great way to see what terms you and your competitors have in common.

It also allows you to see what they’re ranking for that you’re not.

This is a great way to help determine the primary keywords you should be targeting in your content to beat them in search results.

Mine the SERPs

Another way to analyze your niche industry is through mining the SERPs.

This is one analysis you’ll need to conduct on your own, as there is no tool out there that can outperform your own brain.

The best way to conduct a SERP analysis is to type in your keyword and analyze the results that appear on page one. You want to look at the following:

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  • SERP features.
  • Searcher intent.
  • Content type.

SERP features consist of anything on a search results page that is not one of the ten organic links. Some of the most common SERP features are:

  • Places: A map displaying a three-pack of locations.
  • Knowledge Graph: Information on your search queries, such as nutritional information or movie times.
  • Answers: Informational snippets that answer your query in paragraph, list, or table form.
  • People Also Ask: Similar questions to your original query.
  • News: Relevant articles from known news sources.
  • Images: A row, block, or carousel of images related to your search.

SERP features are not only beneficial to the user; they also help in determining searcher intent.

By looking at what features Google shows, you can guess whether the content is navigational, informational, or transactional.

Understanding searcher intent, and which typically shows up for your terms, is essential in determining what type of content would perform best for that query.

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  • Navigational: A searcher knows what they want, but need help getting there, such as a branded search.
  • Informational: Someone is trying to find an answer or information about a topic, often using specific long-term keywords or voice-searches.
  • Transactional: Searches for a product name or type with intent to purchase it.

The last step to analyzing SERP results is digging into the content itself.

Click through the search results page for your query, starting with the top-ranking pages.

  • How is the content formatted?
  • Is it a 101 guide or glossary definition?
  • What about a video or a how-to page?

Take notes and include this same type of material when you develop your own.

You also want to check if the content follows Google’s E-A-T guidelines.

Though E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness) is not an actual ranking factor, Google heavily relies on these guidelines to ensure their results are filled with quality content.

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2. Keyword Research

Keyword research is one of the most critical steps for niche SEO.

It allows you to understand how people describe and search for your products, so you can optimize your site to accommodate their needs.

It also ensures your business ranks higher in search results, making it easier for potential customers to find you.

Though you may have some specialized terminology for your niche market, it may not be what customers are using to search for what you offer.

Let’s say you do maintenance on antique sailboats. Ranking for the term “antique sailboat repair” will be easy, despite its lack of search volume.

However, keyword research may show that the term “sailboat restoration” is more prevalent among users.

As mentioned in Section 1, you want to focus heavily on the intent of your terms. If you want people to buy your product or service, you want to ensure your keywords have transactional intent.

Include terms that contain “for sale,” “buy,” or “deals,” depending on your industry, and assign them to the appropriate product and service pages on your site.

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The right keywords can successfully target those most likely to be looking for you.

Though you want to focus on transactional intent, you should not ignore the low-volume, long-tail keywords associated with your business.

They can be included in blogs or additional resources to help draw in users and spread the word about your brand.

3. Incorporate Keywords on Your Website

Once your keyword list is defined, you want to begin incorporating them on your website.

Section 2 briefly mentioned utilizing your long-tail keywords for blogs and resources, but that alone won’t help your niche business rank on Google.

You want to optimize your entire website with keywords, and there are numerous places that can be done.

To increase your chances of ranking, you want to place your keyword phrases in the following spots on your website.

Page Title

One of the most important places to have your keyword phrase is the page title. It’s one of the first things that Google looks at, and that users see in search results.

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Google only displays about 65 characters in this spot, so you want to ensure you craft it effectively.

Ideally, a page title should look like, “Keyword Phrase | Business Name or URL.”

Meta Description

Though your meta description doesn’t influence search position, it can influence clicks.

This text is displayed in search results under the page title and is often your first and last chance to market to customers.

You also only have about 165 characters to work with, so you want to ensure your message, and keyword phrase, is clear and engaging.

Body Content

The body content of a page is incredibly essential for a variety of SEO aspects.

In the case of keywords, Google is continually looking at the text to determine what a page is about.

When crafting your content, make sure it’s informative and reads naturally. The last thing you want to do is stuff keywords into every sentence.

Google is smart enough to detect this spammy tactic, and it will negatively impact your SEO.

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Header Tags

Though keywords in your body content are important, the most essential spot to place a keyword is the H1 tag.

There should only be one H1 per page, and since it’s directly at the top, including your primary keyword is a must.

You can also add keywords in the subheading tags, such as the H2, H3, H4, and so on.

URL

Adding your primary keyword into the URL of that page is an effective SEO tactic that many businesses overlook.

Not only does it help keep your site structured effectively, but it’s one more spot to tell Google what your page is about.

For example, if you’re targeting “sailboat restoration,” as part of your services, your page URL should look like: www.example.com/services/sailboat-restoration/

Graphics

The graphics of your website are another great spot to include keywords, when applicable.

The image alt text, which is primarily meant for visually impaired users, is also scanned by Google to help understand what a page is about.

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If you can incorporate a keyword into this space, it’s one more opportunity to prove your authoritativeness to Google.

4. Create Great Content

No matter how niche or mainstream your market is, great content remains a significant focus for SEO.

Quality content is the driving force for high rankings, and you want to ensure your website is full of it.

From the informative content on your primary pages to an on-site blog or how-to guide, content helps engage your readers and get your brand out there.

When creating your content, you want to ensure it accommodates your target audience.

When you write to the right people, in the right way, your rankings will skyrocket.

The research you conducted from Section 1 should help you determine what content potential consumers are looking for.

You want to put a strong focus on readability, which is where all of your keyword-focused header tags can come into play.

The goal is to get people to stay on your page and read what’s on it.

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This signals to Google that it’s relevant to the search query it was found on, and it will continue providing your page to searchers in the future.

When writing about the topics your niche market is looking for, go as deep as you can in the subject.

Conduct extensive research, explore different angles of a topic, and write ultimate guides.

This will prove to Google (and readers) that you are an authoritative source within your industry. Be sure to include plenty of facts and cite resources where necessary.

Even with proper header formatting, your long-form content shouldn’t just be a wall of text. Incorporate visual elements into your content, such as relevant images and videos, to make it more engaging.

If you’re writing a how-to-guide, supplement it with an instructional video. Doing so will further prove to search engines and users that you’re a source to be trusted.

Finally, apply everything you’ve learned so far in Sections 1-3 to ensure your content is correctly optimized for search.

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You want Google to be able to find all of the elements you’ve worked so hard to create. It can make all the difference between your niche market getting lost in results, and being in the top 10.

5. Perform Technical SEO

Technical SEO involves the functionality and usability of your website and is essential for any niche business to focus on.

As your website draws in more traffic from your optimized content, you need to ensure it is manageable for consumers.

This includes a variety of elements, such as your page speed, mobile-friendliness, XML sitemap, and more.

You also want to ensure you set up tracking for your website to measure your progress adequately.

Tools such as Google Analytics and Google Search Console are a must to ensure your website is performing well.

If you’re not sure where to start with your technical SEO, here are the four primary areas you should focus on first.

Site Audit

When doing technical SEO, your first step should be conducting an audit on your site.

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Screaming Frog is an excellent tool for this, as it will give you data on everything from broken pages and mixed protocols to meta data issues.

SEMrush also offers a site audit tool, which provides similar data to the Screaming Frog report, but in a more digestible way.

Take note of what needs to be addressed, and start cleaning up your website.

Mobile-Friendliness

Mobile traffic has officially dominated search engines, meaning most people are making searches from their smartphone or tablet instead of a desktop computer.

This means your website must be optimized for these devices to succeed. One of the easiest ways to do this is to ensure your site utilizes responsive design.

A responsive website will automatically change to accommodate different screen sizes.

Not only does Google love responsive websites overall, but it ensures your page is as user-friendly as possible.

Website Security

One major ranking factor recently imposed by Google is website security.

The search engine takes this very seriously, and if you do not have an SSL certificate installed, your rankings will suffer.

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SSL certificates are data files that activate a padlock, allowing a secure connection from the web server to your browser.

By default, sites that are SSL secure receive an SEO boost from Google, as the search engine will display secure sites over non-secure ones first.

This security measure protects sensitive customer information from hackers and the like, so if your website does not have SSL, install a certificate immediately.

6. Build Your Link Profile

Links are the backbone of any strong SEO campaign.

As one of the most significant indicators of your SEO health, you want to ensure your link profile does not contain any spammy links.

Use a tool such (e.g., Ahrefs) to analyze your link profile and determine the type of links currently leading your website.

Are they authoritative, high-quality sites for your industry, or are the links full of sketchy URLs and irrelevant information?

Disavow any undesirable links through Google Search Console to ensure your link profile is squeaky clean before building new, quality links back to your site.

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Conclusion

A website can be seen anywhere in the world, which is great for a niche business with a small customer base.

However, that also means it takes much more effort to market effectively.

With a lot of hard work, dedication, and the right strategy, your business can easily find its place at the top of search engine results.

More Resources:

Learn more about Search Engine Journal by visiting their website.