You have no doubt heard of buyer personas or customer personas, but have you heard of searcher personas? I can honestly say this was a new idea for me. After hearing the concept in class, I decided to do some more research. According to Hubspot, a buyer persona is a “fictional, generalized characters that encompass the various needs, goals, and observed behavior patterns among your real and potential customers” I have learned this in my previous marketing classes, but I have never thought of applying the buyer persona to SEO.
SEO is becoming less about keyword research and more about content and users. So before starting any keyword research or content creation, you must first develop a searcher persona. By creating these personas, you and everyone at your company will be able to work toward attracting those target customers. Searcher personas will provide a context for all your SEO efforts and help you understand your target customer from all angles.
So how exactly do you go about creating a searcher persona? First, start asking questions. What types of people are you trying to attract to your website? Who would be looking for a company like yours? What is their problem or pain? These are all good questions to start with. When creating a searcher persona it is important to remember that precision is preferred over accuracy. You don’t want a persona that just reads a “Male from 35-45 who is in the manufacturing industry”. You want to be as specific as possible.
After some research, I have come up with some main components of a searcher persona.
Who—age, gender, location, education, job title.
Environment—where are they searching from? Mobile? PC or Mac?
Goals—what are your target customers trying to complete? What are their daily tasks?
Motivation—what motivates your customers? What is the pain or problem that would drive them to your company for a solution?
Name—provide your persona will a real name, alliteration is helpful for remembering different personas.
Photo—don’t forget to include a photo to make the person even more real!
Here is an example from Hubspot! Developing these personas on a well-designed card or PowerPoint slide will help all your employees better understand the target customers and keep everyone on the same page.
Searcher personas will be helpful in all areas of digital marketing and SEO. However, I think they would be extra helpful in the beginning stages of keyword researching when you are brainstorming. Before you can think about keywords, you must first know why your customers are searching and you can learn the why through the development of searcher personas.