SEO persona: definition, steps and examples

Appréhender son audience grâce au persona SEO

An effective SEO strategy starts with a good understanding of your target audience and their online behaviors. To make it easier, we advise you to represent it in the form of an SEO persona integrating not only the usual characteristics of a marketing persona, but also information specific to its search behavior. Find out how to do this and a concrete example of an SEO persona from which to develop a powerful search marketing strategy.

What is an SEO persona?

SEO persona is not very different from “classic” marketing persona also called buyer persona. Basically, it’s about describing a fictitious persona representing a typical prospect or customer and the link he or she may have with your products or services. The concept of SEO persona proposes to go one step further to detect the keyword themes that your persona is likely to type in search engines. This approach forces you to put yourself in the place of your target and to take their point of view to identify the right keywords.

A persona marketing generally has the following characteristics:

  • Socio-demographic profile
  • Bio
  • Personality
  • Objectives
  • Motivations
  • Frustrations
  • Preferred channels (or how he/she is likely to discover your products)
  • Objections or arguments that will influence his/her choice

Example of "classic" persona marketing

Let’s imagine that you run an e-commerce specializing in high quality children’s clothing. Your typical customer is a married man with children who works full-time. When establishing your persona, you need to imagine a real person and put yourself in his shoes. It is a question of understanding the daily life of this person: what are his desires, his motivations, his frustrations but also his interests and the channels he prefers. It is essential to understand the reasons why your marketing persona is sensitive to your product or service, beyond its technical characteristics.

From marketing persona to digital persona

When you want to set up a digital marketing strategy, it can be useful to flesh out your buyer persona a little bit, especially in terms of behavior on the Internet and the way he/she interacts with the online channels.

But how do you go about it? Once again, start by formulating hypotheses by putting yourself in your persona’s shoes. For example, ask yourself:

  • How does he/she use social networks?
  • What kind of content does he/she view online?
  • Is he/she sensitive to promotional actions?
  • What kind of videos does he/she watch on YouTube?
  • Is he/she active on thematic forums?

Once you have defined your assumptions, compare them with the data you have. This will allow you to refine and objectify your persona.

Your company may have conducted market research in the past or a customer survey. You can also turn to your sales representatives who receive regular feedback from prospects and customers. They are best able to inform you about their needs, motivations, reservations and arguments to which they are sensitive.

Similarly, your internal databases (CRM) and web analytics are full of valuable information. Your Google Analytics account, for example, is very useful to establish a digital persona. The “Audience” tab allows you to find out the age, gender, country of origin and language of the people who visit your website. You can also discover their different affinity categories (= interests) and their in-market segment (= what they are looking to buy online).

Through segmentation, you can also focus on a specific acquisition channel or even go further and analyze the behavior of visitors who have made an online conversion.

You can then refine your marketing personas (= general profiles) and specify their attitude, preferences and interests in relation to their preferred channels:

  • General profile
  • Instagram Profile 
  • Email profile
  • YouTube Profile
  • SEO Profile

How to define your SEO persona?

Among the channels favored by your persona, you will very often find “Search”, that is to say search engines such as Google or Bing. The SEO persona is therefore to pay particular attention to the behavior of your target when he/she is looking for information at different times of the Customer journey.

1) Identify the themes that interest your persona

Let’s take our example of e-commerce for children’s clothing and our marketing persona: Nicolas. What are the themes that interest Nicolas and for which e-commerce could offer relevant content (information, advice, solution or product)?

 « Informational » themes

  • Parenting
  • Trends/fashion
  • Clothes storage/organization

« Transactional » themes

  • Children’s clothing + quality
  • Children’s clothing + age
  • Children’s clothing + occasion/ceremony
  • Children’s clothing + online
  • Type of garment

2) Imagine the queries he could make in search engines related to these themes

 « Informational » themes

  • Parenting: Should you let your child choose his clothes?
  • Trends/fashion: Children’s fashion trends 2020, Eco-responsible fashion, …
  • Clothes storage/organization: How to sort children’s clothes?

« Transactional » themes

  • Children’s clothing + quality: quality children’s clothing
  • Children’s clothing + age; children’s clothing 5 years old
  • Children’s clothing + occasion/ceremony: children’s ceremonial clothing
  • Children’s clothing + online: buy children’s clothing online
  • Type of garment: boy pajamas

3) Confront them with data from your Google Search Console

Once this first “screening” is done, you can go to your Google Search Console account (you don’t have one yet? Here are the instructions to create an account). You will then have access to the keywords that generated an impression of your site in Google results.

In the “Performance” tab, you will find all the queries on which your site appeared and the number of clicks generated. This can help you identify the most relevant terms and give you new ideas.

You can also analyze the behavior of your potential customers on your own website.

  • What searches do they perform on your site (if you offer an internal search bar)? 
  • What are the most visited pages or the most successful articles?
  • Which tabs do they click on?

4) Categorize your keywords 

After performing these searches, you may feel a little overwhelmed by the number of search terms found. We advise you to classify them by major keyword themes, concentrating initially on the queries most likely to generate a purchase or a contact with your company. You can then start by optimizing your site and its contents on these priority keywords, before targeting broader themes.

Example of SEO persona

Once these 4 steps have been completed, you are able to formalize your SEO persona through his main research themes, as in the example below:

SEO persona, as the basis of your SEO strategy

With all this data, you have a better understanding of your audiences’ behavior and the type of information they are looking for in relation to your products/services.

You will be able to build a robust content strategy around :

Your website and its main pages:

  • Content prioritization (product/service categories)
  • Faceted navigation of your e-commerce
  • Topics to cover to convince your audience

Your blog articles :

  • Broader themes based on informational queries
  • Tips
  • Practical guides

But before reviewing your website and your content in depth, one last step is essential: the semantic analysis. We will see, in a next article, how to perform this analysis as part of a long-term SEO strategy.

Want to know more about SEO strategies? Contact the Semactic team to discuss your SEO issues.

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