Google has upped its game once again with the latest Penguin update and SEO pros have to up their game to achieve the results their clients deserve. No more easy link building – links have to be obtained the “old fashioned” way…through quality content. But that is much easier said than done.
Better keyword research, a deeper understanding of your customers’ buying funnel and a content development plan that brings it all together are steps in the right direction. This blog post describes a method for selecting the best keywords and developing content that connects with your customers.
First you have to understand who your customers are – their personalities, what’s important to them, how they think, etc. In the marketing world we call these personas – each unique type of customer has a persona and understanding these personas enables you to better understand what’s important to them with respect to your products and services. As an online marketing agency, we believe our personas are 1) owners of small businesses, 2) marketing directors in larger companies and 3) advertising agencies who may want us to provide some specialized online marketing services to them. Each of these personas thinks in a unique way, values different things and conducts their research in different ways. Knowing your personas equips you to predict their unique buying funnels.
The next step is to predict how each of your personas will progress through their unique buying funnel. In our case, one of our personas is an owner of a small business. We believe business owners when seeking SEO and other online marketing services will experience the following buying funnel (process):
1. Become aware of firms that provide those services
2. Evaluate the strength, credibility and quality of the firms identified in #1
3. Engage in conversations with the chosen firms to evaluate their match
4. Review/evaluate plans and proposals to provide appropriate services
5. Select the firm with which to work
Step three is to research and identify keywords for your SEO and content development activities. This step becomes much easier when you know who your customers are and how they think at each stage in the buying process.
Finally, develop your content development/marketing plan to generate optimized content that appeals to each of your personas during each stage in the buying process. For example, an agency that provides SEO services might choose “search engine optimization” as a targeted keyword. During the evaluation stage of the buying funnel (see item #2 in the list above), content could be written around how the firm evaluates target markets and develops unique SEO plans for a client. Naturally, this content would be optimized for the targeted keyword.
In summary, invest some extra time to understand the personas of your target customers, and how they act and think during each stage in the buying process. Then, use this information to choose the right keywords to target in your search engine marketing activities and create a content development plan to effectively educate your personas and market to them at each stage in the buying funnel.