When it comes to creating personas, most people automatically think “buyer personas” as use this tactic as a way to improve products and paid search. The truth is, however, that creating personas can also be used at a level that comes for a user before purchasing (usually education). In other words, personas can help improve your SEO if you know how to use that information correctly. Understanding your audience is key to successful SEO, and audience or user personas are a great way to stay organized.

How to Create User Personas

While personas are typically used from a buyer standpoint, these same personas can be used to improve your SEO and overall content strategy. Once again, this does not mean that you have to create different personas for buyers and users, you just may have a few different questions to answer depending on what you’re trying to analyze and discover through the personas. With buyer personas you want to learn more about your sales funnel, but when using those personas to learn more about your audience and improve SEO, you’re more interested in the clicks—time of day, content types, content subject matter, page layout, etc.

Below are a few simple steps to get started finding trends in your audience ad then creating these personas:

Step #1: Determine your main personas by talking with your audience.

A great way to better understand trends in your audience is to create surveys, polls, and quizzes. The problem here is that these content types don’t always get attention from everyone in your audience, so the data can be a little bit skewed. It may be worth it to try if you get a large turnout, but otherwise I recommend using Google Consumer Surveys, which you can learn more about here. You may also want to try creating a profile or account system to gather information, or even randomly call your customers to ask about their online experience. Just remember whatever you decide to do, keep it short and to the point.

Step #2: Determine more specific personas by seeing where those in each main group may fall in your marketing funnel.

We’re still talking about SEO, but that doesn’t mean that looking at your marketing funnel isn’t helpful. Because buyers/ conversions are your ultimate goal, you want to look at your main groups and determine where each persona would fit best. This will help you create more personalized content and a better experience for each persona group. Once you have an idea of which personas fit where in your marketing funnel, you can see who is acting similar and potentially create even more personas.

Note: The number of personas you want to create depends on the size of your company, but in general 5-7 is best. Too many and you’re not going to be able to accommodate and use the data, and too few will give you too much room to make assumptions that may not be correct.

Step #3: Finalize your personas by looking at your data.

Chance are you will look at data in order to complete step 2, but make sure you didn’t miss anything that may not necessarily be considered your “marketing funnel.” Once you have your personas defined, go through and determine any differences or any holes between them to see if those can be filled by another trend you can find in your data.

Of course personas can get much more advanced than just three simple steps, but this is a great foundation and basis if you’re simply trying to organize your audience and get started. Visit this article for more detailed information into create personas for business success.

How User Personas Can be Used to Improve Your SEO

Once you have your personas created, it’s time to actually use that data for SEO purposes. A few different ways you can use personas effectively include:

  • Create social media groups. Google+ is an excellent example of how to use personas. Google makes it easy to create circles and then share different information to different circles. The fact that Google makes this so easily shows the importance of relevant content and how much Google values that for users.
  • Segment your content correctly. As discussed above, you can use personas to help you create the right content for the right group of people. This will help improve your CTR and thus improve your SEO. Again, the more personalized the better.
  • Write content for every persona and know where to advertise that content. In the end, this is how personas are going to help improve your SEO. People will hopeful start to become regular readers and naturally link to you across the web.

I would also highly recommend checking out HubSpot’s customizable template to help you answer questions about your audience and therefore create personas. The tool helps you find personas as well as organize them to show to the rest of your team, so it’s a great option if you’re just getting started. Once you give it all a try, let us know your biggest struggles and your biggest accomplishments with personas in the comment section below.