Nowadays, most businesses recognise the value of SEO. And especially for companies who don't want to spend an arm and a leg in paid advertising, SEO has become one of the most widely adopted digital marketing strategies. However, many businesses jump straight into SEO research without first solidifying their buyer personas.
Here's why you need to create your buyer personas before starting any SEO work.
What are buyer personas?
Buyer personas are semi-fictionalised representations of your target or ideal customer. This could be the ones that bring you the most sales, or the ones you enjoy working with the most.
Personas are based on some data you might have collected about these types of customer, as well as some educated speculation. They help you to understand important information about your ideal customers such as:
- Geographical or demographic information
- Their needs, desires or goals
- Their frustrations, problems or pain points
- Where they are most likely to engage with advertising materials (e.g. online, social media, print, TV)
- Their buying behaviours (Do they read reviews before they buy? Do they like to speak directly to a salesperson?
- Which sort of tone, messaging or content they are likely to respond to
Why are buyer personas needed for SEO?
Quite simply, using buyer personas makes SEO more effective. SEO has three main principles:
- Gain more site traffic from people who want to buy from you
- Produce content based around keywords and topics your customers are interested in
- Gain backlinks from other authoritative websites in your industry
Let's look at how buyer personas help each of these areas:
Increasing site traffic
The point of SEO is not only to drive more traffic to your site, but the right kind of traffic. Your ideal customer is the best kind of traffic. And SEO helps you make sure you're putting out content targeted to your ideal customer.
Let's say you sell high-end antique furniture. You want visitors to your site who are interested in this sort of product. Not people searching for IKEA furniture, or furniture that is budget or modern.
But without buyer personas, you won't know where to start your keyword research. How do you know what your ideal customer is searching for in Google? How do you know where they find their information about furniture? How do you know what sort of content will be interesting and engaging to them?
SEO research that is informed by the behaviours, needs and characteristics of your target customer will help you find the right keywords and topics to draw these customers into your site and keep them engaged in the long-term.
Producing Engaging Content
Let's take our example of high-end furniture again. Sure, SEO keyword research will tell you which search terms and topics are popular in the furniture industry. And it might start to shed some light on popular terms and topics within the high-end antique furniture industry.
But this still might not be relevant without understanding your ideal customer.
Let's say one of the most popular topics and keywords that comes out of your SEO research is 'vintage shabby chic.' This probably isn't going to be relevant if your target customer is over a certain age and prefers classic styles.
Or, say you hit the nail on the head with a topic that will be relevant for your most desired clientele and you publish it on your website. Where are you going to publish links to this content so that it will reach your customers? What format are you going to use? What language and tone will be most appropriate?
You could end up writing a piece that would be perfect for your customers, but if you publish it on Facebook when they mostly use Pinterest or Instagram, then you're not giving your content the best chance to reach them. And your ideal customer still won't be aware of you and your products.
I'm sure you already understand the importance of developing a strong backlink profile for your site. It signals to Google that your site is reputable and authoritative, and increases your search engine rankings. However, not all backlinks are created equal.
Of course, you need to be acquiring backlinks from other authoritative sites, but they also need to be industry-relevant. And also, very importantly, they need to be accessible by your target customer.
In our example, a backlink from another reputable furniture seller, or a link from a database of antique furniture sellers in your area would bring you valuable site traffic. But in order to find your best backlink opportunities, you need to know where your ideal customer is consuming content on the web.
Acquiring a backlink from a modern furniture seller might boost your site authority, but your target customers probably aren't going to see this link in the first place to click it. And people who do click this link, won't be your ideal customers. Most will probably be interested in modern furniture and will likely click away from your site very quickly.
Let's say your dream customers are avid readers of a particular antique furniture blog. Writing a guest article on this blog, or getting a recommendation with a link back to your site will not only increase your traffic, but increase the right sort of traffic. - The traffic from your target audience.
Buyer Personas Recap
To recap, buyer personas help SEO in a number of ways:
- You'll know where to focus your research efforts, with the aim of increasing not only your site traffic, but the right kind of site traffic.
- You'll be able to create targeted content based around keywords and topics that your ideal customer is interested in.
- You'll have a more clearly developed and strategic backlink strategy to attract more site visitors that fit your ideal buyer persona.
All of this increases the effectiveness of your SEO efforts and increases SEO return on investment.
In our next article, we'll explain how to create your own B2C buyer personas. We'll come back and add a link when it's ready.
And if you've found this article useful, why not share it with someone you know? Especially if they're about to start investing in SEO!