Are you and your target audience speaking the same language?

Author -  Allan Kent [Guest]

All trades and professions have their own jargon and acronyms, their own language to some extent. Indeed this often goes much further, with individual businesses and organisations developing their own terms based on their own internal systems and history etc.

However, your clients/customers probably won't have the same terms in their vocabulary and the danger is that if you talk to them in your 'speak' you run the risk of losing them, worse still even alienating them.

A further problem occurs if you are using the search engines such as Google to attract their attention. If you're not using the language they're using in their searches, they won't even find you.

Think of it like this...

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Your website terminology is on the left. The people you want to do business with, and indeed, the people who are actively searching for the products/services you supply are on the right. The 2 circles represent a clear demarcation in the language being used and the result is obvious – they're not going to find you!

So, what to do?

You'll be fighting a massively uphill battle if you try to educate your audience to adopt your speak. Instead you have to change yours to suit theirs, as the next diagram shows. The more you can do that, not only will you show up more and more in their searches, your chances of engaging them once they're on your site dramatically improve too.

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Put yourselves in their shoes and try and use more generic terms in your content, especially in the terms you optimise for. If you're going to use trade terms or acronyms, make sure you explain them. Speak to your customers and listen to the terms they use.

There are some other things you can do to. Google has a Keyword search tool that will help identify some of the search terms that might work for you. It also has another tool, The Google Wonder Wheel that is a simplified form of mind mapping and should present other search terms that people might be using.

If you can basically mirror the language of your target market, not only will you be put across them far easier when they search for what you provide, they will also far more likely end up doing business with you because they understand whay you're trying to say to them. Simple but highly effective!

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