10 Commandments to Developing Personas when Redesigning for SEO


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"Know Thy Audience" is the theme of the presentation given by Dana Lookadoo at PubCon Las Vegas 2012. The 10 Commandments for Personas cover a process to get corporate participation when redesigning a company website based on audience tasks and needs, including search engine optimization. Audience personas fuel content marketing and all online marketing efforts. The presentation provides sample surveys, questionnaires and worksheets.

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  • Jonathon, thank you for providing such valuable insights that fit hand-in-hand with the importance of focusing on the audience first. Other than a good laugh & having not brought foam fingers, we are big fans of you and REI!
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  • Thanks for the shout-out, Dana - users are #1! Hope you did this presentation with one of those big foam 'We're Number 1!' fingers you always see at the stadium... :)
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  • Will cover a process to get corporate participation when redesigning for search.
  • Personas are descriptions of people. People are core of online marketing. Content needs to be written & optimized for them. Help identify: What does person want to do? What keyword phrases are associated with their need? What content assets do we have to help? What do we want him/her to do? Why will he/she do it? What are the success metrics that lead to conversion?
  • How many would consider yourself C-Suite? People = employees, consultants, agencies, strategic partners Misalignment of interests & goals.
  • Do they REALLY know primary & secondary audiences? Corporate often has a surface understanding and only knows the audience at face value.
  • Get the C-Suite involved. Conduct internal surveys. 3 pages of sample surveys. Goal: who do they think the audience is, their Web behavior and pain points.
  • How is audience talking about the company? What are their objections & how can these be addressed? Stage of buying cycled?
  • Specific requirements that will help audience
  • Everyone, especially the C-Suite needs to focus on the audience as the center of design & content development. You need multiple perspectives and insights to help create a user-friendly site that delivers what they need.
  • Conduct Customer Surveys with select customers and site visitors to design around your audience: As them what types of media/content they prefer. Clicktools (integrates with Salesforce)
  • Select customers – survey via website, email, phone
  • Surveys will help to finalize input about the design and content and help finalize two types of personas: design (people who use the site) and search personas (those looking for information via search engines). The goal is to identify their needs or problems and obstacles and how the website fits into that.
  • Select a cross section of clients, employees, media for surveys. Have them rate ability to find information & site content. Find out what information they need most & how the site can help them accomplish their tasks.
  • Preferred media
  • How they find information about your company & social media accounts they use.
  • Too much we this, we that.
  • Stop talking about yourself! Your personas (prospects & customers) are tuned into WIIFM – what’s in it for me.
  • There is a famine in the land of website content due to all the self portraits.
  • free   analysis tool  that counts certain words on your site to see if your focus is on the customer or not.
  • Who was at SEOmoz Search SPAM game at PubCon 2009? Deck of cards representing who key industry SEOs are, black or white hat, and a blurb representing who they are.
  • That’s exactly what you ant to do… and give them a name and face
  • Don’t do this!
  • Cheryl has a tighter identity by conducting team workshops – Audience Identity and Task Analysis Get C-Suite, Product Managers, Managers, Sales, Customer Service Reps Get supplies – Vanessa Fox Sticky Note exercise for Task Analysis
  • Bring pictures from which they can chose to create their personas
  • Can be super simple, nothing fancy. Compile tasks they need to do on sticky notes. Focus on who they are and the tasks they need to do !
  • Workshop goals is true persona “understanding” - empathy
  • Now that you know who they are, ensure the team understands the customer is 1 st !
  • Jonathon’s presentation at MozCon 2012 – Whiteboard Friday
  • Identify who they are and the tasks they need to do
  • The 4 personality types summarize their content consumption habits. Your audience will  consume your content  based off how they are wired.
  • Problem with most marketing is it attempts to speak to all potential buyers with the same content in the same language . Need: learn more about your audience to shape messaging.
  • Facebook, Analytics, AdWords, Email Lists – demographic & psychographic
  • Paid tool with competitive insights and audience demographics
  • Use analytics & webmaster tools to know how people are using your site. Get the Visitors Overview report from an unfiltered profile. Look at new & returning visitors .
  • Trust factors that lead to conversion
  • Internal worksheets & questionnaires Who, What, Where, Why, How Remember, you’re designing for the audience, not for corporate egos.
  • Search is about needs , and the standard keyword classifier are not enough to understand a searcher’s intent. Reason for need for personas. These types of keywords are important, however, to understand what they are looking for when on a page. What terms would they use in various stages of the buying cycle ? Early Stage Buyer : They made decision they want, have need, or don’t know exactly what they need. They need as much information regarding choices and options possible to feel comfortable. Middle Stage Buyer : Prepared to buy but not certain which product/services. They need options and information to progressively narrow choice. Late Stage Buyer : Knows exactly what will satisfy need. They’re searching for specifics - want to compare brands, companies, manufacturers to ensure they are worth their money/investment.
  • When asking team members about audience & keyword. Guide them through the process. Audience, tasks, why would they chose you over the competitor? Objections Content types Calls to Action Tasks & Keywords
  • Armed with this information…
  • Google’s suggestions show popular searches (personalized searches, too). Terms that suddenly spike in popularity in the short term can appear, even if they haven’t gained long-term popularity. Go through the alphabet
  • You can also get Top Users & export to CSV. Get an idea of how they feel about terms, who is using them. Now that you have idea of behavior
  • You’ve put all this together, and you’re ready to publish. You have surveyed key stakeholders & clients. You know what tasks they need to do and their personalities and where they are in the buying cycle. Site content assets should include Testimonials. This social proof increases how prospects feel about you.
  • Shows others question. Now we’ve gone through the 10 commandments…
  • You end up with pesonas - Who, what they need to do, tasks.
  • Process - Map audience & their goals, position in the buying cycle with keywords and messaging. Identify what content assets you have and what aspects of your site match or where there is a gap. Optimize or create new content with your benefit to this persona and your solution to meet their needs. You can now publish your content in the best channels to reach them with content they will find and consume.
  • 10 Commandments to Developing Personas when Redesigning for SEO

    1. KNOW THY AUDIENCE10 Commandments forDeveloping Personas whenRedesigning for SEO Dana Lookadoo SEO Consultant, Trainer Yo! Yo! SEO @lookadoo & @YoYoSEO October 2012 Image credit: http://www.celebritysentry.com/post/the-10-commandments-ricky-gervais-wants-to-know-how-many-youve-broken-wnyc/
    2. Audience Personas Fuel … Search Engine Optimization Social Media Conversations Content Marketing Conversions
    3. 10 Commandments for Personas1. You shall get corporate buy-in.2. You shall have no other focus than your audience.3. You shall not make graven images out of your company messaging.4. Do not use the name of a persona without understanding who they are.5. Honor your audience’s needs above your desires.6. Remember your customer’s psychographic makeup.7. You shall not design without data.8. You shall not design without knowing audience goals and conversion points.9. You shall not design or write without keyword research based on audience behavior.10. You shall not publish without social proof.
    4. 1 You shall get corporate buy-in. A Most companies hire people who DO NOT come from the buyer’s world. B Interests and goals are NOT aligned. C-Suite expects sales & marketing to C persuade prospects to spend money on something they DO NOT want, need, or understand. 2
    5. Do You REALLY Know Them? Company-wide agreement on primary & secondary audiences. Image credit: http://twilightersanonymous.com/hq-stills-from-breaking-dawn-part-2-feature-edward-cullen-and-new-vampires.html
    6. 1 Key Stakeholder Surveys  Who are the audiences with whom you believe our website should communicate? Be specific. List multiple audience types, including titles if known. Identify those you believe are the sites primary audience (the sites main focus) and those who are secondary (important, but not as critical).  What do you know (think) about their computer usage and personal Web behavior?  How do they use the Web - via computer and/or mobile devices? Where do they hang out – Facebook, LinkedIn, news sites, YouTube, game sites?  What activities make up their job?  With whom do they communicate most frequently at work?  What are their frustration and pain points in their job, and what does [COMPANY] offer them to help?  What obstacles do they need to overcome?  What information do they need?  What do they need to understand about [COMPANY] that can 2 make things better? Sample C-Suite Questions for Planning Redesign (1 of 3)
    7. 1 Key Stakeholder Surveys  How are they talking about [COMPANY] offerings? <List examples>  What do they say when comparing us to [PRIMARY COMPETITOR] and [SECONDARY COMPETITOR]?  How can [COMPANY] address their objections on the website?  Thinking back to our primary audience, what stage of the buying cycle are they in? Are they:  Researching?  Trying to understand more about us as a company?  Determining if they need our products or services?  Intend to purchase?  Already a customer and accessing support information?  How can the website address their questions and concerns?  How can we compel them to buy, complete a contact form, or call us?  How can we explain the value of [COMPANY]s products and services? 2 Sample C-Suite Questions for Planning Redesign (2 of 3)
    8. 1 Key Stakeholder Surveys  What are your expectations for the site redesign?  Examples: Make the site more intuitive/easier to use. Explain more about our products, services, career opportunities, gather visitor feedback, attract new audiences, increase attendance at events, build sense of community, increase brand awareness, etc.  What specific requirements do you want included in the site that would help our audience?  List 3 websites you like, that you personally visit and or participate in on a regular basis. (These dont have to be related to [COMPANY] or our industry.)  Do you like the graphics, colors, look and feel, quality of content, functionality, community, other special features?  Do you have other input youd like to share about our customers and how they may view the site? Sample C-Suite Questions for 2 Planning Redesign (3 of 3)
    9. 1 Image credit: http://www.cartoonstock.com
    10. 2 You shall have no other focus than your audience. Customer Surveys 2 Clicktools graphs out responses.
    11. 2 Survey Tools Clicktools: Integrates with Salesforce – high-end, paid 4Q Survey: Free pop-up surveys to figure out why visitors are on your site and if they’re able to do what they need to do Survey Monkey: On-site or email surveys, free Instantly (formerly Survey Builder): Free survey builder for 2 web & mobile insights
    12. 2 Identify wants, needs, and obstacles by audience type. People People who use looking for your information website via search 2
    13. 2 Customer Surveys  R a t e t h e o v e r a l l Sample Customer Questions for l 2 Audience-based Redesign (1 of 3) o o k
    14. 2 Customer Surveys  What is your preferred media, types of content? (You may choose multiple answers.)  Text with pictures  PDF downloads – whitepapers, fact sheets, brochures  Charts & Infographics  Video  Anything I can view on a mobile device, i.e. phone or tablet.  Other Please specify: _________________________________  What, if any, suggestions do you have for improving the website (including content, functionality, etc.)? (Open comment field) Sample Customer Questions for Audience-based Redesign (2 of 3) 2
    15. 2 Customer Surveys  How do you find information about or engage with [COMPANY]? (You may choose multiple answers.)  Website  Search Engines  Twitter, Facebook, or Google Plus  Email notifications  Industry Publications & Events  Other Please specify: _________________________________  Identify social media accounts you use. (You may choose multiple answers.)  Facebook  Twitter  Google Plus  LinkedIn Sample Customer Questions for  Other Audience-based Redesign (3 of 3) 2  None
    16. 3 You shall not make graven images out of your company messaging. 2
    17. 3 You shall not make graven images out of your company messaging. 2
    18. 3 No More Self Portraits!It’s not about you! Image credit: http://www.inqmind.co/2012/08/ad-campaigns-by-hugh-kretschmer/
    19. 3 We We Calculatorhttp://www.futurenowinc.com/wewe.htmhttp://www.futurenowinc.com/wewetext.htm
    20. Do not use the name of a4 persona without understanding who they are. 2 http://www.seomoz.org/
    21. 4 Identify who they are! Background Demographics Psychographics Motivations/Needs Activities New/Returning Site Visitor
    22. 4 Workshops: Persona Exercises Audience Identity & Task Analysis Group Brainstorm Supplies Whiteboard Worksheet Photos Glue Stick Pens / Pencils Sticky Notes Thinking Caps
    23. Potential Audience Photos
    24. 4 Simple Persona Worksheet
    25. 4 Empathize! “To truly communicate with your visitors, you must put yourself in their shoes.”Content Marketing PersonasBryan Eisenberghttp://bryaneisenberg.com/content-marketing-personas/ Image credit: http://www.inqmind.co/2012/08/ad-campaigns-by-hugh-kretschmer/
    26. 5 Honor your audience’s needs above your desires. “As proud as you may be of your company and your product or service, most customers only care about how well you can help them meet their wants and needs. If you want more of them to buy, your focus has to be on your customer.” 2 http://www.futurenowinc.com/wewetext.htm
    27. 5 REI: Users are #1! “First of all come customers. Theyre the most important people. Theyre our reason for existing as a business. So we like to say, ‘Users are number one.’” Leveraging Agile Marketing for SEO Jonathon Colman Principal Experience 2 Architect, REI http://www.seomoz.org/blog/agile-marketing-whiteboard-friday
    28. 6 Remember your customer’s psychographic makeup.WHO THEY ARE &WHAT THEY DO are the center of your website universe! 2
    29. 6 Content Consumption Habits Competitive Scans header, highlights, bullet point; quickly makes decisions Humanistic MethodicalLooks for content that Logical; scans page relates to them; carefully reading drawn to pictures & highlighted portions; design; pays attention towill share if resonates details with self Spontaneous Looks at everything 2 quickly w/o focus looking for interactivity, ADHD
    30. Image credit: unknown
    31. 6 Audience Behavior ResearchImage credit: Marty Weintraub
    32. 6 Audience Behavior Research
    33. 7 You shall not design without data. Visitors Overview Reports (new & returning) Browsers and OS (desktop, mobile) Map Overlay (location) Referring Sites Keyword Referrals Webmaster Tools (impressions & landing pages) 2
    34. 8 You shall not design without knowing audience goals and conversion points. Free TrialPrevious redesignclearly addressed 2audience: B2B & B2C http://raventools.com/
    35. 8 Designing for Audience Answers “Who” Stroked ego with “Best” Peers / Trust Answers “Why” Authenticity Keys http://raventools.com/
    36. 8 Outline audience goals and steps to conversion. Sample Worksheet
    37. 9 You shall not design or write without keyword research based on audience behavior. Classifiers help you understand what audience is looking for at various stages 2 of the Buying Cycle.
    38. Sample Worksheet Tasks & Keywords2
    39. 9 Go Beyond Google AdWords
    40. 9 Google Autocomplete
    41. 9 Keywords - Social Sentiment
    42. 10 You shall not publish without social proof. Social proof increases confidence in your product and/or service. http://raventools.com/ Statements by satisfied customers Pictures add further validity. 2
    43. 10 Social Proof: Psychology People tend to believe the actions and decisions of others reflect the correct behavior or conclusion for that situation. Transparency: Addresses “pet peeves” Openness to input increases comfort level, leads to conversions. http://raventools.com/
    44. Result Persona “Buckets”2 Brannan Atkinson Chief Marketing Officer, Raven Internet Marketing Tools
    45. Website Personas for SEO Surveys Your Benefit•Key Stakeholders •How your product or•Customers service provides benefit to this persona Identify Design & Search Personas Your Solution•Demographics, •How your product orpsychographics, service solves theiractivities, Web usage motivations, needs,•Needs, wants, desired desires, eases paintasks, objections•What messages willreach them, words they Marketing Channelsuse •Best channels to reach this persona Goals & Conversions •Types of content will New & Returning they consume Visitors •Web, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Keywords – Buying Pinterest Cycle / Buckets
    46. Dana LookadooSEO Consultant, TrainerYo! Yo! SEOAgency focus is Word-of-Mouth SEO,helping clients optimize theironline conversation.dana@yoyoseo.com . YoYoSEO.com@lookadoo . @YoYoSEO10 Commandments for Developing Personas whenRedesigning for SEO: http://yseo.us/pubcon12