Customer personas are a huge part of planning content for your website.
If you know your customers, and get inside their head, you can provide the answers that they’re looking for.
After all, what is SEO worth if it’s not providing answers for questions your customers are asking?
If you know who your customers are, and how they are likely to look for the service you provide, you’re more likely to win the SEO battle against your competitors.
Customer Personas, and the Role They Play in SEO
Customer personas are snapshots of what your real world customers are like.
Personas represent profiles of customers that already do business with you, or customers you want to acquire. The more detailed the persona, the more effective your site content will be at persuading them to click, call, subscribe, or purchase.
Here’s some things you will want to include in each of your customer personas:
- Who are they?
- What are their demographics?
- How much money do they earn?
- Where do they live?
- What do they read?
- How do they make purchasing decisions?
- How do they think about your service in general?
The better you understand your customers, the more likely you are to know how they search.
What words do they use when they type searches into Google? Which questions are they looking to have answered? What do they expect to see when they get to your website?
Search engine optimization is not just about getting Number 1 in Google. The end goal of SEO is to get people to take a desired action.
At the end of your marketing funnel, you want them to make a purchase, sign up for email newsletter, retake some other action that generates revenue for your company.
What Do Your Customers Expect to See When They Click?
What do your customers expect to see when they click a search result? If you can answer that, you can give them the information they need.
Compelling web content drives people to action. Do your web pages answer your customers questions? Or does your web content leave your customers still in search of an answer?
Search engines have one job: to provide the best answer possible for a given search query. The goal of Google and every other search engine is to interpret the intention of a search, and provide the best answers possible.
By figuring out who your customers are and what they are likely to be searching for, you can provide the best answers.
What are common questions your customers have?
Do you have a list of these questions? Do customers ask you over the phone or in email? If you answered Yes, now you have the beginnings of a content for your website.
Start With The Customers You Already Have
Consider the customers you already have.
How did they find you?
Was it through word-of-mouth? Advertising? Social media? An in-person meeting? Through search engines?
If you interact with your customers face-to-face, find out what type of language they use. How do they view your service? What type of words do they use? How do they describe your service?
If you talk to people on the phone, what words do they use when talking with you? How do they describe the problem you are solving for them? How do they describe it?
If people find you through a search engine, what words did they type in to find you?
How do you find out the answers to these questions?
One way to do that is just pay attention to how people talk about your service or your industry. Make a note of what words they use, and what words they don’t use.
If your website has a contact form, add a checklist that asks people how they heard of you.
If your customers indicate they found you through a search engine, ask them what phrase they typed in Google to find you.
You can also do surveys through social media to find out more about how people describe a certain service. Many social media sites (like Twitter) will allow you to promote a survey. You can use this information to focus your keyword strategy.
Why Are the Words People Use To Search Important?
In many industries, the way we describe what we do is different then the way people outside our industry describe what we do.
Many industries have internal jargon or acronyms that makes sense to them, but not to their customers.
When your customers are using different words than we would to describe what they’re looking for, those words are the ones you should be using on your website.
Whatever you have to do to find out how your customers search for you, and how they think of your service, this information is valuable.
Sign into Google Search Console, click your website property, and go to Search Traffic > Search Analytics.
As Google collects data about your site, you will be able to see what the top-performing search phrases are for your site. This will let you see how people are currently finding you in search.
There are checkboxes at the top of this report that allow you to see data on these search terms for total clicks, average position in search, and click-through rate. You can also see total impressions (how many times people saw a page of yours in search results for that search term).
Using all the methods described in this section, you can start making a list of what search terms people use to find your website.
Summary: Know Your Customers Language and Words
Before you overhaul your SEO, it’s important to know how people are finding you right now. There may be an opportunity for you to improve something that is already working.
If you know the language and words that customers are using to search for you, you can create content that uses that same language and speaks directly to them.
Here’s the Rest of the Posts in this Series
- What Is SEO?, Part 1
- Know Your End Goal, Part 2
- Know Your Customers: Part 3
- Keyword Research, Part 4
- Google Analytics & Google Search Console, Part 5
- Content Planning for Your Website, Part 6
- Website Content Audits, Part 7
- 301 Redirects, Part 8
- Back Links, Part 9
- The Title Tag, Part 10
- The Meta Description and Its Role In SEO, Part 11
- SEO Friendly URLs, Part 12