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What is a persona and why are they important to SEO?

Samantha Coates
Samantha is currently studying a dual degree of Business Management (Majoring in marketing) and Information Technology at the University of Queensland. When she’s not studying or working Sam can be found scrolling through Instagram at a coffee shop and catching up with friends.

Here at Alpha Digital we often create a persona of our client’s target audiences to help us gain a deeper understanding of them, ultimately enabling us to strategise how best to target them. Personas are helpful to any marketing campaign (particularly digital marketing) and may be extremely advantageous to your SEO strategy.

 

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What is a persona?

A persona is “A semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers” (HubSpot, 2017). These representations provide a lot of insight about how customers interact with your products and services and gives you the ability to precisely target them, making it more likely that they will see your business and – most importantly – engage with it.  The persona of “Clark Andrews” (below) is an example of the kind of information that a marketer might gather about the potential and current customers to help them gain a deeper understanding of their customers.

There are many types of personas that marketers can create and use. The more detailed information you include, the deeper the analysis you are likely to get on the target audience. Examining elements such as customer demographics, behaviour patterns, motivations, goals, the brands they like and what their frustrations are can help you determine where you should be spending your marketing efforts and budget. Attracting the right audience is likely to result in more valuable visitors who are more likely to become leads or customers to your business/brand.

How are personas helpful for SEO?

Personas can help with:

  • Usability

Understanding how your customers shop and interact with your website online is vital and could be the difference between the success or failure of your website. Through user research you can develop an acumen about how users expect to your website and allows you to strategically plan where you place content on your website. For example, if after developing a persona for your target audience you find that the majority of customers are visiting your website from mobile devices and expect information to load quickly and easily. You might choose to restructure the content on your website to ensure that the website is mobile-friendly and that the most important content is located at the top of the page. Small changes like this are likely to more accurately target your exact audience and may lead to higher conversions.

  • User Intent

Creating a persona gives great insight into a users intention. When you know what tasks or goals your users are trying to accomplish, you will have a greater chance of understanding the questions they might ask when interacting with your website. Are you a charity website and want to get your website visitors to donate? You need to consider where they are looking on your website and what words they are looking for and this can help with overall goal completions and maybe even conversions. Not providing your customers what they actually want and need to see on your website can lead to a reduction in website engagement and often, page abandonment.

  • Information Architecture

As already mentioned, personas can help you determine what information is important to your customers and this can be beneficial when determining the overall structure of your website. Placing the most important information that your customers want and need to see in their direct line of sight is the easiest way to increase the usability of your site and conversions, as mentioned earlier.

How can I get started?

So you’re convinced that you should create a persona for your digital marketing or SEO strategy but not sure how to get started?

Start with the information that you already know about your customers based on the behavioural data that you already have access to. This can be gathered from direct (and voluntary) feedback from customers or observational information attained from your sales and support departments.

If you need to gather more information, create a survey and get your customers to fill it out, making sure to ask important questions about what they like about your product, how they access your product and even their values when purchasing products similar to yours. This will provide you a wealth of information based on the attributes and values of the people who are already interacting with your brand. Once you’ve found out what your customers are interested in seeing, A/B test it on your website to see how they respond. You might even find that all this effort you’ve put into creating a customer persona has improved your conversions and other SEO metrics.

References:

The definition of a buyer person [in under 100 words] (2017). HubSpot. Retrieved 4 September, 2017 from https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/buyer-persona-definition-under-100-sr#sm.0001u1dxt3e1gdbqrbw14xvjnqp5y