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When it comes to SEO in 2024, linguisic nuance is key

By Georgia Beattie, Audience Intelligence Analyst

iCrossing UK


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April 16, 2024 | 7 min read

Getting as precise as possible a grasp on what people are saying and searching for online is key to connecting with the right audiences, says Georgia Beattie of iCrossing UK.

A close-up photograph of a page in the dictionary focuses on the word 'pseudonym'

It's important to understand the subtleties in language people use online to connect with the right audiences. / Edurne Tx via Unsplash

In the ever-evolving landscape of digital marketing, the ability to understand and resonate with the dynamic language of your audience is more crucial than ever. While conventional keyword strategies have long been the cornerstone of garnering online visibility, there is a need to shift the paradigm towards nuanced linguistic insights derived from active search and social listening.

With 71% of professionals holding licenses for three or fewer social listening tools, and a 6% increase in those spending more than $100k on these services in 2023, it's evident that marketers are keen to gain more meaningful and refined insights into online discussions, with this having significant value across all aspects of marketing operations.

Why linguistic nuances matter

Linguistic nuances refer to the subtle variations in language that emerge within discussions, indicative of how audiences are authentically expressing themselves. This may include specific wants, key perceptions, and manners of expression.

Search and social listening tools, such as Google Trends, Google Keyword Planner, and Brandwatch, play a pivotal role in uncovering these linguistic nuances by scanning search queries and a wealth of online conversations across various platforms, for relevant searches and mentions. Insights gained into specific phrases, colloquialisms, or trending terms used by the target audience provide a rich understanding of their language preferences when discussing a given topic, or specific brand.

Search and social listening tools empower marketers to explore the collective voice of their audience, extracting valuable insights into which engagement triggers, barriers to entry, sentiments, and trends are being discussed. By capturing how users naturally discuss products or services, marketers can craft content that organically aligns with what their audiences want, incorporating unique cultural, demographic, and regional idiosyncrasies.

Furthermore, search and social listening tools offer a radar to navigate the ever-shifting landscape of online conversations. Through carefully monitoring the language used within discussions, brands can choose to strategically engage with trending topics while also helping to steer clear of those that evoke negative reactions. Brands can also proactively respond to themes emerging in customer feedback, address and overcome concerns, and shape a positive narrative, positioning themselves as truly customer-centric and responsive to their needs.

It's all about staying attuned to the pulse of online discussions, ensuring brand messaging remains both relevant and well-received, and in turn, strengthening brand loyalty and fostering a deeper connection with audiences.

Linguistic nuances for cross-team collaboration

This emphasis on search and social listening in unveiling linguistic nuances has profound benefits for optimization across many aspects of marketing expertise by prioritizing audience-first activation.

For instance, there is a level of interplay between linguistic nuances and SEO. When content reflects both how and what users are naturally conversing about, it becomes more discoverable through search engines. Integrating carefully considered phrases and terms identified through search and social listening into website content, therefore, enhances organic search visibility. This not only boosts rankings but also helps to attract audiences by aligning with their specified preferences.

In the realm of paid media, understanding how the audience articulates their needs is invaluable for effective incorporation within ad copy. This helps to enhance the relevance of advertisements, increasing click-through rates and maximizing the ROI of PPC and paid social campaigns. Linguistic insights sourced from nuanced audience profiling also enable more precise targeting. With social media ads accounting for 28.8% of all digital advertising spend, and this expenditure is predicted to grow by 6.1% in 2024, this precision ensures paid media budgets are allocated efficiently by reaching the right users with messages that resonate on a linguistic level.

User experience transformations can also benefit from the insights leveraged from search and social listening. Findings can help to provide a valuable qualitative element to data-driven user journey mapping, revealing discussions of user’s needs and intent, what and who they interact with, how they are feeling, and their pain points across site and channel touchpoints. This further enriches the curation of informed roadmaps for experience transformation, aligning marketing efforts with the evolving needs and expectations of the audience at each stage of the conversion funnel.

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A holistic solution to connecting with audiences

In conclusion, the leveraging of search and social listening tools to unearth linguistic nuances is not merely a trend; it's a strategic imperative in today's digital landscape. Beyond optimizing content creation, utilizing this approach offers a holistic solution to connecting with audiences in the most meaningful and authentic ways. As brands continue to navigate the intricacies of online communication, the ability to understand linguistic nuances stands as a key differentiator in achieving marketing success.

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iCrossing UK

We are iCrossing. We build seamless digital experiences that influence consumers to act. With unrivaled access to Hearst’s powerful consumer insights, we uncover...

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