On the surface, creating a keyword strategy can seem pretty straightforward– you simply determine the terms and phrases your audience is searching for most often. But, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has grown significantly more advanced in recent years. Google’s search algorithm continues to evolve in its ability to recognize and rank high-quality content.
The days of keyword stuffing are long gone– instead, your keyword strategy must be more measured, thorough, and targeted than ever before.
Ready to learn more? Today’s post teaches you how to use a standard marketing tool—the buyer persona—to improve your keyword strategy. Keep reading!
What are buyer personas?
If you haven’t yet explored the world of buyer personas, this section will give you some basic background information. A buyer persona is a semi-fictional profile that represents a segment of your ideal customer base. Marketers create buyer personas using a combination of customer data, quantitative research, and anecdotal observation.
Personas include simple data points such as age, gender, job title, and company size. But, more in-depth buyer personas include granular details like shared pain points, buying habits, and content preferences.
Buyer personas can inform every aspect of your marketing strategy, including content creation, channel selection, and – as today’s blog will explain – keyword strategy. Now, let’s get into the three ways personas can improve your keyword strategy!
1. Map keywords to specific stages of the sales funnel.
If you’re new to content marketing, content mapping is the process of assigning each piece of content to a specific stage of the buying cycle. Strategic content mapping helps marketers nurture leads through the buying cycle by offering them content that is relevant and useful for their current needs.
The same principles apply to keyword mapping– which is why content creation and SEO must be closely linked. Consider this: Much like your content itself, your target keywords should be mapped to specific stages of the buyer’s journey. For example, let’s say your company sells a popular marketing automation tool. Let’s look at how we would map a few keywords related to the topic of marketing automation:
- What is marketing automation: Someone searching for this term isn’t necessarily ready to make a purchase– they are simply trying to learn about marketing automation. So, you should map this keyword to content for buyers in the early stages of their journey– such as a blog post that offers a beginner’s guide to marketing automation tools.
- How to implement marketing automation: A prospect who searches for this phrase is further along in the buying cycle. They’ve shown interest in investing in marketing automation, but they still need to learn some key information– so they’re probably not ready to make a purchase yet. Map this keyword to middle-of-the-funnel content that is more specific without pushing your product on readers too heavily.
- Best marketing automation software: This term carries much more buying intent than the previous two searches. The searcher is actively researching products like the one you offer. Map this search term to bottom-of-the-funnel content like a product demo or free trial landing page.
Your buyer personas improve keyword mapping because they clue you in to the searches being performed by potential buyers. To start, identify where each persona is along the buying journey and what search queries they are likely to make. Then, you can map your target keywords to content developed for that particular purpose.
Taking the time to include key sales funnel information and likely searches within your buyer personas will lead to more targeted search traffic finding the pages that speak to their individual needs—leading to more customers and ultimately to more revenue.
2. Speak the same language as your buyers.
Buyer personas must include many key details about your target audience– including how they communicate. Age, culture, geography and other factors can influence a person’s language in subtle ways. People often use different words and phrases to describe the same things. Think soda vs. pop, water fountain vs. bubbler, sneakers vs. tennis shoes– you get the point.
The same language variations exist in the business world– and unfortunately, they can have a real impact on your SEO Strategy. If you don’t understand how your ideal buyers refer to your products, you may not reach a large portion of your target audience.
That’s why it’s important to be as thorough as possible when constructing buyer personas. Look for differences in the language that certain industries, company sizes, or job titles use to search for your product. The more granular you get with your buyer personas, the more accurate you can be with your keyword targeting.
3. Target keywords based on common buyer pain points.
Why do customers search for a product online? No matter what industry they’re in, the answer tends to be the same– they have a problem that they need to fix. When they take to a search engine, they usually don’t look for specific product– rather, they search for ways to get rid of their pain points.
For example, we’ll once again use a hypothetical company that offers marketing automation software. You have built an extensive list of target keywords such as marketing automation, best marketing automation tools, etc. But, none of your target keywords reflect your buyers’ pain points– which is where many of prospects begin their searches.
You analyze your buyer personas and identify new keywords based on your ideal customers’ common pain points: poor lead quality, how to boost marketing productivity, lack of sales and marketing alignment, and more.
Buyer Personas and Keyword Strategy
As more buyers take to search engines to find and purchase products, SEO will be even more essential to your business’s success. Digital channels continue to grow crowded with competition– so marketers must take every step necessary to cut through the noise and reach their target customers.
All marketers can benefit from learning SEO best practices, and understanding the connection between traditional marketing and SEO. Buyer personas are a great example of a content marketing technique that can impact your keyword strategy. Using personas throughout your keyword strategy will lead to improved marketing personalization, a deeper understanding of your customers, and more targeted campaigns.
If you have yet to create and leverage buyer personas, it’s time to start. Once you see how personas can improve every aspect of your business– from content to SEO and beyond – you won’t launch another campaign without them!
Sam Holzman is a Content Marketing Specialist at ZoomInfo where he writes for their sales and marketing blog. ZoomInfo is a leading people information database that helps organizations accelerate growth and profitability. Sam regularly covers topics related to sales, marketing, and recruiting, and likes to write about sports and travel in his free time.