In one of my previous articles regarding keyword research, I briefly discussed personas and how I use them every time I take action for SEO. Most of the time, they don’t have a lot to do with technical SEO, but they play a massive role in on-page optimization.
A persona is a fictional character created to get to know your users better. Here’s a fantastic in-depth explanation of what a Persona is and how to make one from the Interaction Design Foundation.
You can create a persona using a piece of paper, a pen, and some time. If you want something more “designy” I am using Figma for my own, and I can vouch for it.
Here’s how one of my personas looks like. Meet Jake – (click on the image to see him on Figma)
Jake is a young entrepreneur that works most of the day on his apparel business. He has built it from the ground up, and it’s been a great couple of years. The sales keep on climbing, and he wants to move to the next step, but he is not tech-savvy or marketing savvy enough to know what that next step looks like.
Probably the question that comes up to your mind is, “How can I use this Persona for my SEO strategy?”
At this point, I have to say that building personas mean that you give “birth” to them. They are your brainchildren, and you need to take care of them and know them by heart. Jake is just one example; Jess is another, Tobi, Max, Joe… you get the idea.
Knowing your personas will make it much easier to target them using marketing strategies or build a website that speaks directly to them and solve their problems.
Personas for Keyword Research
Let’s jump back to Jake and how I use his persona to target not only Jake but many young professionals that fall into the same category.
Jake is working with his hands most of the day, which means less time online. Less time online means less time to research methods of marketing. For a person like Jake, SEO means nothing. ROI, SMM, or PPC are just weird acronyms that he heard for the first time after he set up his Wix or Squarespace website, and he started receiving a tremendous amount of emails from the “SEO gurus” offering link building their services from high domain authority websites.
How does a person like Jake searches for the “next step” for his business?
During dinner, Jake cracks open his laptop to check “how to sell clothes in the US,” “ways to increase reach,” “how to increase sales,” “increase online sales,” “how to market my business online.”
Try to keep in mind that people outside your industry don’t search your products the same way you do. Most people will start their search journey using long-tail keywords (3,4 or even more words), and this is the stage that your brand needs to win them over.
Personas for Outreach Research & Link Building
Similarly to using personas for keyword research, personas can be an excellent tool for link building and manual outreach. Jake spends most of his time offline, but a persona like Tobi (a journalist) spends most of his time online reading and sharing articles.
Tobi spends most of his time on sites such as Twitter, Reddit, Poynter, etc. He is interested in facts and hard data rather than theories and thin content articles.
In a real-life situation for SEO, I could reach out to Tobi using one of his preferred methods of communication and ask him to check out an article that I am writing regarding the “10 facts about Google Search”. If he also feels that this is an article that deserves a share with his peers, then I would more than appreciate the gesture.
Ask yourself this question “Is this article something that Tobi would share with his peers?” if the answer is yes, then hit publish; if the answer is no, maybe revisit it and add a few details that will make Tobi want to share it.
A persona is a powerful tool that you can use in multiple SEO tactics. The strategies that I build revolve around personas. From keyword research, outreach, and link building to content writing.
Personas can, of course, be utilized in multiple marketing verticals, from social media marketing to PPC, email marketing, affiliate marketing, and more.
Make sure to utilize them for your strategy and let me know about the results!