I found an interesting forum question today, which has nothing to do with targeted traffic and knowing your audience, but had the question asker been thinking about aiming at a specific target audience, rather then thinking about getting lots of high traffic, he would have seen the answer to his own question quickly and not needed to ask it at all. Which got me wondering how well his future website will succeed, if he doesn't fully know who his target audience is or what they will be searching for?
Well, if you read my stuff a lot, you know how my brain works... one thing lead to another, and now here I am writing knowing your target audience and why that is important, not only for people building websites, but for any business, including us authors.
Now at first I'll be dealing very directly with is SEO keyword related question, but reading and watch how it evolves and you'll soon see why this is important for anyone in any business and why we as authors should know who it is who reads our books before we start marketing them. (The article is already written and I am adding this intro at the beginning, so I already know where it went :P)
For those who read my stuff but are not familiar with SBI, this question is referencing a very specific software program called BrainStormIt. He asked this question on the help forum for the software program and so, did not go into details of the program itself, because, any one using the SBI BrainStormIt! Forum already knows what the program is. SBI is the web host I use for this site and BrainStormIt! is the keyword research tool that I use to find targeted keywords for my site. If you found this page via Google or Bing search engine, then you have SBI's BrainStormIt to thank for directing you here.
So for my readers here, to understand the situation he is asking about, basically it is this: He is in the process of designing/building a new website about MLM (Multi Level Marketing) and is using BrainStormIt! Keyword Research Tool, to compile a list of the best keywords he should be focusing on.
The text in red, is the results the keyword research tool gave him. The numbers tell him, how many people are searching for that keyword and how many sites already exist using that keyword and an estimated scale of how profitable his use of that keyword will be with in his grand scheme of his website.
That said, in going over the results that BrainStormIt! had given him, it occurred to me that he is dealing with a keyword that has two dramatically different meanings and that the meaning he is using is the smaller, less commonly used meaning. Yet his goal is to drive as much traffic as possible.
The problem with driving huge amounts of general traffic to a site, is that it increases your bounce rate and decreases your click through rate, and these are things Google takes into consideration when determining your web rank.
A high bounce rate, means visitors leave your site without reading the page.
A low click through rate means people leave your site without clicking through to a second page.
In terms of search engine optimization, a web master needs to have keywords that bring in TARGETED traffic. Targeting traffic results in low bounce rate and high click through rate, because your visitors find your site useful and stay to read the pages then click through to other pages to read even more.
So, on to his question, and my characteristicly over long answer...
Have you tried doing a Google search for the word "leverage"?
The top result is Wikipedia and it says this:
The next result is IMDB listing for a TV Show called "Leverage"
The next 10 pages of results, are either more info about the TV Show or sites for construction workers and building architects.
Not one single MLM site showed up in the first 100 search results.
This tells me that, not many people use the word "leverage" outside of building/construction and that the only reason the word "leverage" has good numbers in BrainStormer, is because people are looking for a TV show.
With that bit of information in mind, I would think, if you used just Leverage only without specifying Leverage in MLM, I would think MOST people who searched for Leverage would NOT be searching for MLM info and would quickly click away from you site.
Thus my end conclusion (what I would do if in this situation) would be to use "Leverage in MLM" instead of just "Leverage", because the average person (according to search results) is not thinking MLM when they search for the word leverage.
And myself personally, I've never heard the word leverage used for money before, so I'm wondering how many average/general people outside of the MLM niche would even realize that a long fat yardstick with a water bubble in it, has a money meaning as well?
Less than 1/3 of America has access to internet connection, keep that in mind to, so people who do search the internet, for such things fall into people who do have the internet and people who drive 40 or 50 miles to find a library that has internet access.
I make money online and teach others within my niche how they can do it as well, but it's not my focus and I've never gotten into multi-level-marketing, so I don't know the lingo of MLM. I do know that I have internet access in a region that most people still have yet to hear of the existence of cell phones. And I struggle every day, against vandals who claim I've invited Satan into the region, by virtue of owning a computer because in their words "Satan invented computers".
Welcome to Maine.
And our mountains aren't that big. Any place that has mountains bigger than ours, also has neither internet nor cell phones.
That may seem unimportant here, but it's something to think about.. most people jump into online money niches, thinking "OMG! there are 300 million people in the US alone! Look at all that potential!"
Fewer than 50 million Americans have either internet or cell phone access.
People with easy access to those things often forget that for MOST of America's population, those things are exorbitant luxuries, either because families in the area are too poor to afford it, or because they live in a mountain region and are probably still 100 or more years from even having access to it at all.
A Lot of people in big city regions forget how big America is and how little of it is actually progressed above a 3rd world lifestyle. There's over a million people just in Maine who do not have access to electricity, running water, or toilets. My family only just got indoor plumbing in 2013, and we didn't add a toilet for another year after that. Don't have wells around here either... mountain ledge... you get your drinking water from a brook or pond, where you also bath and wash your clothes.
These people know levels, because they constantly have to move big boulders. And now that internet access in in the area, some of them are getting it, and many of the ones who have it, ARE in fact looking for ways to make money online, because the average income here, is $2,000 a year, and the average city person, makes that much in a single week. We see people starve to death every day here. It's a fact of life.
And when these people, here in Maine, go online looking to make money... they are truly DESPERATE to make money, because most of them have children on the brink of starvation, who likely won't live to the end of the month. They are not looking for the self serving scam artists who are just looking for affiliate link clicks. These people really NEED, your REAL and ACTUALLY ACCURATE advice on how to make money FAST online... if you ask them to pay a one time low price of just $399.99 for some summy, scammy 10 page report, then know too that the death of their baby next week is on YOUR head, because they DESPERATELY needed that $399,99 to buy food, but, they, not knowing the types of predators that exist online, are clueless to the fact that all they'll get for their money is a 10 page pamphlet that doesn't tell them anything useful and does nothing to help them make money online.
These people have no concept from what the internet is, they are easily scammed, and it disgusts me that money making online scams take advantage of these uneducated, often illiterate people who are desperately trying to find a way to keep their starving families alive.
Most of them have no education. Maine law only requires 2 years of schooling, and marriage is 15. Most people here go to school at age 8, learn to read and write, barely, then work the land from age 9, marry at age 15, and will be dead from poor health before 30. Until last year minimum wage was $4.13. That's less then $5,000 a year. It was just increased to $7 two months ago. That's less than $10,000 a year. The average family in Maine has 8 children.
So... when you look at the people who go online looking to make money online, because they desperately need a job, and there are no jobs available around here.... they know a crow bar can be used as a level to roll a boulder, but they do even know what a bank or a credit card is, they've only just discovered the existence of phones and computers.
So from the perspective of someone who grew up in and still lives in this culture, that Maine lifestyle...I know that these people do desperately search the internet for ways to make money, but leverage is not a term they use or even know.
While MLM is a popular niche... it's generally only popular for people looking to make money online without doing any work, or people looking to tel other people how to make money online, when they themselves have never made money online and have no clue what they are talking about. (And I remember you from previous posts, so I know you are someone in MLM who actually does know what you're talking about, unlike most MLM sites out there.)
I tell you all of this, to how you, WHO your target audience really is. People looking to make money online... they are not some wealthy city dwelling collage student who already has a job and an education and an iPhone. People looking to make money online, are the lowest class of America, the often forgotten mountain people of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Utah, Colorado, Tennessee, and all the rest of the mountain states.
If you want to target people searching for MLM, you want to get to know the type of person it is who searches online for that type of info. And consider... "Will they search for this term?" "Will they even know this term exists?"
That's why I think, "Leverage in MM" is a better term, then just leverage. Because I know these people and I know, they are not thinking about making money online when they hear the term "leverage".
So, my thinking, when it comes to choose keywords, you need more then just the BrainStormIt numbers. You need to know what search results Google gives for that term and ask if your site fits the search results AND you need to research the demographics of the people who are searching for that term as well. I think that's what Ken means too when he says "Don't become numbers bound" because a lot more then numbers decides who finds those pages.
And so that was my answer to him and his question, but now you may be asking, how does this apply to us authors?
Well, let's think about those statistics a minute.
A lot of authors gripe and complain that they can't get ebook sales and they wish they had better ways of getting their books in top selling lists the way paperbacks do.
Did you know, that there are only an estimated 100,000 ebook reader owners in the United States? And while most of them own a Kindle device, that is fewer then 10% of America's book reading population.
Paperback books and offline book sales from actual brick & mortar book stores, still accounts for 70% of the books sold in America.
Well, let's look at who reads books.
People without electricity have no TV to watch and no video games to play, and thus entertainment for them consists of reading and board games.
You remember the mountain family we talked about earlier? Those ones who even now in 2018 do not have acess to clean drinking water, toilets, or electricity, and are living in 3rd world conditions, right here in America?
Those people are also the BIGGEST readers in the country.
It is not uncommon for these families to mass hoard, insane amounts of books. I'm talking tens of thousands of books.
Most mountain families, have some sort of story time ritual that is a VERY important part of their daily lives. And involves multiple generations of people gathering around the one person who knows how to read and every night, before bed, listening to that person, read a few chapters of a novel.
Think about how important watching your nightly TV shows is to YOU. Noew think about what your life would be like without both TV and electricity. No video games. No cell phone. No computer. No tablet. No internet.
And now consider, that that there are more 1 million people living in those conditions right now, just in ONE state of America. Now multiple that by 50 sates.
Open your eyes to the REALITY of WHO it is, who reads MOST of the books in America, and WHY they read them.
And THIS is why my books are always available in print edition, rarely ever see ebook editions, and why, you have a hard time finding my books for sale online. Because I make my books available to the people who ACTUAL read them. And those people don't have internet access or eReaders.
So, next time you ask, why your ebooks are not selling, why print books remain popular, and why, in spite of places like Amazon, brick and mortar bookstores still sit on every small town corner... think long and hard about that question, and the answer.
If you are asking that question, then it means you don't know who your target audience is and you'll never see book sales, you'll never reach your readers... because like that guy who asked the leverage keyword question... you aimed for lots of general traffic from internet users... but the internet users, are NOT your target audience, so you don't get sales, because you don't put your books, in places where your readers are or in formats your readers can access.