One of the biggest mistakes that marketers make when creating an SEO strategy is to start with the following question: ‘What keywords should we be focusing on?’ This is not a bad question. In fact it is a very good question, but it should never be the first question asked. The starting point for good SEO, as we have discussed more generally, should be creating the goals and objectives for the SEO channel (for example, will SEO be your primary channel?). Once you have covered those basics the next crucial step is a thorough understanding of your customers.
The best way to do this is to create audience personas. Consider the audience types you have and try to create no more than five distinct personas. This approach will help you considerably when you move to the next step of keyword research. Personas and segmentation are discussed in Chapter 1 but it is worth taking a quick look here at how personas apply to SEO. As we have already discussed, personas are a useful way of understanding the personality and potential behaviours of your customers.
This becomes useful in SEO (and paid search) in predicting what the user may search for. As we move into the next phase of keyword research (below) this is extremely useful to understand. If, for example, our persona is a woman in her early thirties with a young family who lives in central New York, we can start to understand some of her daily needs.
We can be fairly certain that she is time poor and will want things now, so she may use words such as ‘now’ and ‘fast’. She is likely to want something in New York as it is often harder to travel any significant distance in cities than in rural areas, so she may do a lot of searching for ‘in New York’ and other local terms. She will probably search for children’s products and may also search for helpful tips on parenthood such as ‘how much milk should I give my baby’ or ‘best things to do with kids at the weekend in New York.
She is still young herself though, and so it is likely 96 Digital Marketing Strategy she will search for babysitters, restaurants and perhaps bars and clubs. She may well buy her groceries online as it is easier than dragging the children around the local store. All of this insight that we can gain from the persona can steer our initial keyword research and we can then use the below process and evolve the campaign over time.