Content Marketing

How Buyer Personas Help Focus Keyword Research

For the last several weeks at Caddis, we’ve been focusing on defining our audience, and we’ve been sharing some of that process in our blog posts. Now that we’ve settled on a definition and breakdown of our audience, we have to start thinking about how they use the internet and search engines. We need to be able to answer questions like: How will they look for a particular type of content or service that we offer? What types of search terms are they using? How often will they search for those terms? What kinds of modifiers might they use? The list goes on...
Keyword research can turn into just a huge list of words if you don’t approach it with a solid strategy. Many SEOs still approach the process as a quest for finding low-competition, high search volume phrases they can rank #1 for. That method and thought process is antiquated and, frankly, useless if you want to help drive real conversions, profit and engagement for a brand online.
It is crucial to have a solid understanding of your audience before you even think about diving into deep keyword research. Don’t believe me? Read on!

Personas Help You Organize and Understand Your Keywords

If you approach your keyword research with your audience already in mind then you’re going to have context for every keyword you come across. You can set up “buckets” for each of your personas and begin to fill those with the keywords that will be relevant to those users. For example, at Caddis someone searching for a “Nashville web design firm” probably has very different needs from someone searching for a “Nashville SEO agency.” While these are both very relevant to what we do here at Caddis, they are likely to be different potential customers. Through the lens of personas, you will be able to understand the context of searches much better and will be closer to discovering the search intent of your audience.

Personas Can Help Define Your Content

An important part of keyword research is understanding what types of content are going to be relevant for each keyword. In our example before, someone searching for “Nashville web design firm” is probably going to want to look at examples of sites we’ve designed whereas someone looking for a “Nashville SEO agency” will likely be more interested in case studies or white papers showing how we’ve affected another company’s bottom line through search marketing.
Understanding what each audience’s needs are will help you pair up the most relevant content types with keywords specific to that audience. That way we can be sure we’re serving up interesting content to our users so they’ll want to return to our site far more often to read content and eventually contact us.

Personas Can Help in Keyword Reporting

Many times, SEOs struggle to find a way to report on keyword success outside of simply rankings or traffic. When we’re creating a more holistic marketing strategy we have to think about these things outside of just SEO.
One great framework for doing this is personas. If you know that a specific persona searches for your product or service in a specific way then you can track that keyword group and map them to that buyer persona. By doing this you’ll understand not only the average ranking of terms relating to that persona but also if that persona is visiting the site, if they’re interacting on the site and if they’re converting on your site. Those kinds of reporting metrics can be very insightful and lead you to solutions that are more relevant than simply building more links or writing another keyword-heavy blog post.
As we transition to our keyword and topic research phase for Caddis we’ll have a lot of interesting posts for you detailing our process, tools and presentation structures for keywords, but it’s important to remember that your personas are integral to your strategy so you should be using them throughout your campaigns.
Do you use your personas in keyword research? What are some methods that have worked for you? Let us know in the comments, on Twitter or by shooting us an email here in the office.