Stop worrying so much about SEO. Optimize for personas.
Optimizing your website for search engines has traditionally been a critical element of online marketing. If a website is more visible to the big search engines, the narrative says, searchers are more likely to find the site. And the more people who visit the site, the more customers you’re likely to get. Theoretically, of course.
While search engine optimization (SEO) is an important part of marketing your online brand, it’s not the only thing. It’s even more important to have quality content that speaks directly to the customers you’re trying to convert. Marketing to personas, not search engines, is the true key to success in any inbound marketing campaign.
A Changing World
SEO is still a valuable part of any marketing strategy, but the search engine world is rather volatile. Google frequently changes its search engine algorithm, meaning that there is no “silver bullet” tactic to get you to the top of the searches you most care about. What works today might not work six months from now. Marketing to search engines requires constant maintenance and a knowledge of both search engine trends and Google practices.
Paid search is a solution, but it comes at a cost. And if you pay to market the wrong keywords, you’re in even bigger trouble.
Like search engines, keywords still matter, and they go a long way in today’s marketing world. However, keyword marketing only gets you so far. Once people have made it to your website, the job’s not over. You still need to have relevant content available to engage the potential customer.
How do you know what kind of content is relevant? Glad you asked.
Inbound marketing has succeeded for many, in large part because it forces companies to stop thinking about themselves and start thinking about their customers. Instead of pandering to the search engines and keyword-stuffing your website pages full of words related to your products and services, envision your ideal customer, figure out what he or she wants, and make that persona the focus of your inbound marketing campaign.
The use of personas lets you tap into your customers in a way that simply cannot be done with basic SEO. The content you create will be more relevant and will naturally include keywords that are important to your ideal customer.
What’s more, personas naturally evolve with the changing world in which we live. As the habits of your customers change, you’ll be right on top of those modifications and will be in a great position to make some tweaks of your own. That’s a much better solution than being at the mercy of Google’s whims.
While the benefits of buyer personas are quite clear, they require a lot of work, particularly in their initial setup. This is one area where SEO really does matter.
One of the most common ways to develop a buyer persona is by looking at the keywords that customers commonly search for. Identify the search terms that bring people to your site, and base your buyer personas around the phrases people use. The keywords don’t tell the whole story, but when combined with your other data analytics, you’ll get an idea of where these people are in the buyer’s journey. This will give you tremendous insight into the psychology of your customers, which will help to make your personas even better.
The more you work with personas, the more you’ll understand why they’re so essential to an inbound marketing campaign. Personas allow you to personalize marketing in a way that search engines could only dream about. They’ll not only get eyeballs on your product, but they’ll set you up for long-term relationships with your customers. Even better, you can incorporate the best parts of SEO into your personas, giving you the best of both worlds.