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SEO Personas: How to implement persona-driven search engine optimization (SEO) for a website, Part 2

The following is a post from the APG Team’s summer 2020 intern, Jaad Mohammed.
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SEO Personas: How to implement persona-driven search engine optimization (SEO) for a website, Part 2 by Jaad Mohammed. (Read Part 1.)

In this blog post, we discuss persona-driven search engine optimization (SEO) or SEO personas.

For this, we need to first create personas for your website, service, or product. This can be done following the steps mentioned in this article, How to create a persona?

Once we have our persona profiles that look something like this one from APG, a data-driven persona system, shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1: This is one example of a persona profile that one can use for SEO
Figure 1: This is one example of a persona profile that one can use for SEO

Now we can easily study our customers’ behavior and begin the SEO of our website for three main areas of (a) content, (b) navigation, and (c) on-page links.

  SEO Content for Personas

  1. From your list of personas, you can identify the pages users are most likely to visit by understanding their topic of interest.
  2. Once you have identified the pages that get the most visits, use web analytic tools like Google Search Console, Google Keyword Planner, KeywordTool, etc. to identify the keywords that bring traffic to these pages.
  3. Now integrate these keywords into the articles without seeming spammy, and also review anchor texts on the site that leads to these pages.
  4. Remember the final objective here is to create a good website for the user, as represented by the SEO personas, not to simply chase keywords, so make decisions accordingly. SEO personas help you keep this goal in mind. 

Off-site Navigation from Persona Perspective

  1. You’re most likely going to have to remap how users get to your site.
  2. By understanding the pages our SEO personas are most likely to visit as discussed above, you can redesign your website in a way that these pages show up first to the users.
  3. Remember the final objective here is to create a good website for the user, as represented by the SEO personas, not to simply chase traffic, so make decisions accordingly. SEO personas help you keep this goal in mind.

On-page links from Persona’s Most Frequently Visited Sites

  1. The more a page is linked, the more search engines like Google will understand that these are our most valued pages. 
  2. It also helps target our personas as users can go deeper into our website through these links. 
  3. To assure the users click these links, understand their areas of interest by reviewing SEO persona data and link to relevant pages. Link to as many different pages within your website as possible to ensure SEO.
  4. Remember the final objective here is to create a good website for the user, as represented by the SEO personas, not to simply create a lot of links, so make decisions accordingly. SEO personas help you keep this goal in mind.

Conclusion

Personas can be useful for SEO to understand searchers’ motivations, pain points, and used keywords. This knowledge can also be leveraged for website content design, UI design, and off-page link development activities.

Jansen, B. J., Salminen, J., and Jung, S.G. (2020) Data-Driven Personas for Enhanced User Understanding: Combining Empathy with Rationality for Better Insights to AnalyticsData and Information Management. 4(1), 1-17.
https://content.sciendo.com/view/journals/dim/4/1/article-p1.xml

By Jim Jansen

Dr. Jansen is a Principal Scientist in the social computing group of the Qatar Computing Research Institute, and a professor with the College of Science and Engineering, Hamad bin Khalifa University, and an adjunct professor with the College of Information Sciences and Technology at The Pennsylvania State University. He is a graduate of West Point and has a Ph.D. in computer science from Texas A&M University, along with master degrees from Texas A&M (computer science) and Troy State (international relations). Dr. Jim Jansen served in the U.S. Army as an Infantry enlisted soldier and communication commissioned officer.

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