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Past Present & Future of Personas in Search (extended version)

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This is the extended version of my original SMX talk that I presented at #SEMNE.

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Past Present & Future of Personas in Search (extended version)

  1. The Past Present & Future of Personas in Search (extended version) Michael King SEO Manager Publicis Modem @ipullrank
  3. Search Marketers Need to Grow UpWe are not just Search Marketersanymore we are full-fledge DigitalStrategists.
  4. Search Marketers are Short SightedInformational, Navigational, Transactionalclassification of keywords is not enough totruly understand the intent of a user. Need States Navigational Business Goals Informational Navigational Transactional Informational Transactional
  5. People Search to Fulfill a NeedKeywords must be categorized by theneed states of personas andmessaging must reflect those needstates to improve conversion.
  6. Give People What they are Looking ForDoes your content fulfill the needassociated with the search intent?Does it give the person the compellingexperience they are searching for?
  7. You‟re Too Late To Be Cutting EdgeIf you don‟t already use personas inyour Search efforts you are trying tostrike an invisible moving target whileyour competitors are effortlessly hittingthe bullseye.
  8. Luckily You Just Met Me…In the next 30-45 minutes andcounting I will get you up to speedand take you into the future.
  10. Recipe for SuccessSocial Listening/ Need State Push Live / Determination/ Keyword Mapping Creative / Copy / Conversion Rate Persona / Information Tech Development Optimization / Development/ Architecture Measurement Keyword Research SEO Defines SEO Validates SEO Drives Info Architecture User Experience Measurement
  11. Who is Your Target Audience?Before you do anything you need toidentify who you are trying to talk to.
  12. Use Social Media to Your AdvantageHundreds ofMillions of peopleare telling youtheir everymundane thoughteveryday; use it!
  13. Using Social Media to Define PersonasUse the existing conversation insocial media to identify need statesand inform keyword research toultimately define personas.
  14. Social Listening Tools Scout Labs Alterian SM2 For my shoestring budget hustlers Social MentionScout Labs, Alterian SM2, Radian6 are extensive and expensive social listening toolsbut you can grab a decent data set for free using Social Mention, Amplicate, Topsy
  15. Invest in Quantitative Analysis ToolsInvest in sites like ComScore, Compete or Quantcast to identify a demographicby industry and to get a preview of their search behavior.
  16. Develop Personas Develop Personas to understand your users and to inform Search and UX.See Vanessa Fox‟s presentation on Personas for an in-depth how-to:
  17. Start with the Audience‟s QuestionsIdentify the questions the audience is asking that apply to your businesgoals. Quora is a great place to start.
  18. Identify Need States Weight Loss Weight Management The TWTU Supporter The Calorie Tracker This diet is perfect for anyone who I’m so glad [Yogurt The Dieterneeds that “umph” to lose those few Brand] is compatible [Yogurt Brand] helps curb my pounds, quickly with my points system . cravings so I can continue on my path toward losing weight The Maintainer The Event Planner I’ve lost a lot of weight, I can’t I need to lose 5-10 pounds in time TWTU Skeptics afford to cave to temptation for this event. I need a plan that This diet is unrealistic when I’ve come this far gets noticeable results and not healthy – too . extreme New Mom Steady Achiever I want a low-calorie way to get I’ve lost a considerable amount my calcium so I can get the of weight except for these pesky nutrients we need while losing few pounds. I need to reach my the rest of this baby weight goal by Thanksgiving. Distill the conversation in social media down to the need states of the people talking with regard to business goals.
  19. Define PersonasThe Connoisseur Integrity Protectors Super Tasters Consumed Greek yogurt before it Newer to the product category but became popular – feels entitled to partial to authentic Greek yogurt defend „real‟ Greek yogurt against newer because of the taste and texture; „inferior‟ brands entering the product loyal to brands like Fage , Oikos category; savvy about ingredients and and Chiobani; appreciates the passionate about the unique straining authenticity of ingredients; uses process; tends to be set in her ways in Greek yogurt for cooking and terms of maintaining a healthy diet; loyal baking; likes to enhance Greek to original brands like Fage and Oikos yogurt with fruit and other toppingsThe Steadfast Seeker Brand Loyalists Optimists Wants a more familiar way to enjoy Looks for ways of improving Greek Greek yogurt; overall, hates the taste yogurt but wishes she had a more of Greek yogurt; loyal to the [Yogurt accessible way to enjoy it; brand ]and appreciates the variety of experiments with different brands flavors that Yoplait offers in their like Yoplait and Dannon to find the Greek yogurt line; appreciates not best tasting option; sensitive to the having to enhance the flavor of Greek higher price point of the original yogurt to make it more enjoyable Greek Yogurt brandsGive your 4 core audience segments a story and personality
  20. Identify Keyword Opportunities The The Steadfast The The Reluctant Connoisseur Seeker Amateur Partaker gross taste high protein loves Greek never/hardly tried high price choke down straining process likes blended too thick smoothies minimal yogurt Yoplait toppings ingredients wants Greek Dannon too tangy no preservatives benefits better tasting weight training Fage tart taste options body building Oikos attracted to variety health benefits low fat rich texture no brand loyalty need more variety physical fitness Greek-style toppings recipes no brand loyaltyUse the conversation to understand what words personas naturally associate withelements of your product or service and apply those to keyword researchand messaging
  21. Create Targeted MessagingPresent optimized messaging thatwill resonate with your personaswith of the goal of maximizingconversion. This is the magic behind Facebook Ads
  22. Test EverythingTest your messaging in Pay-Per-Click to get a sense of how well they willperform in Organic Search.
  23. Insights from Tests Inform Messaging Insight 1 Focus on taste is the key opportunity Insight 2 Everyday nutrition done the Yoplait way will resonate with consumers across the board Insight 3 Nurturing of family takes precedence over the target‟s own well-beingUse insights from testing to understand what resonates with thepersonas and then create messaging and user experiences that reflectthese insights
  24. Case In Point: Air Travel 1. 2. 3. 4 5. 6. 7. Motivation Decision- Research Booking Pre-flight Travel Post-travel to travel making How do I crystallize Need StatesI want to collect new What is out there that Of the options Who’s going to help What do I need to do my travels so that experience, add to would be fun and Who can I rely on to available, what is me fine tune and to activate my trip so they are easy to my personal story, interesting to do help me make the feasible given time & make the plan that it’s as easy as share, and provide and create special alone and/or with the most of my trip? budget constraints? possible? possible? inspiration to me and memories people I care about? others evermore?Occasion: Get Ideas: Search for: Search for: Locate: Connect: Organize:-Season/Holiday From Activity and -Cheapest flight Key trip info: -With local info -Memories/events-NY‟ eve friends, family,colleag experience options at options based on -Luggage rules -With resources -Evidence you‟ve-Valentine‟s D ues, extended social different destinations timings -Check in time (guides, gurus) been there/ Memorabilia Examples of What’s happening-Honeymoon media - Cheapest flight -Terminal to go to -Activity ideas-Birthday gift network, bloggers, TV options based on -Currency exchange -New ideas-Anniversary personalities, movies, Compare: destination (look for -Ways to and from-Stag do activity groups & Destination options promos and time airport Record:-Reunion forums based on timings, suggestions) -Travel tips -Experiences Package:-Accomplishment costs, and ease of -Memories Trip takeouts so as to-Time off getting there -New extend the benefits Search for: Compare: Book: ideas, contacts, knowl gained from the trip Occasion or Time options vs. -Car hire edgeExperience: experience sought on budget across key -Accommodation-Broaden horizon google, publications, f providers -Airport bus Share:-Hobby/skill orums, social media To build on and-Well-being/R&R groups,etc showcase who you-Adventure Commit: Manage: are-Landscape To a scenario Info updates, efficient(sea, mountain, plant) and easy task-Weather completion(sun, snow, wind) Research Commitment Experience InspirationWe dove deep into need states to see what questions people wantedanswered.
  25. Semantic Grouping 1. 2. 3. 4 5. 6. 7. Motivation Decision- Research Booking Pre-flight Travel Post-travel to travel making Occasion Activity Destination Offering Simplify Connect RememberCore Semantic Groups We identified the need Flights states that matched the client’s business goals and mapped them to semantic groups.Country/Region Logistics City/Airport Timing Cheap Flights
  26. Keyword MappingWe mapped core semantic groups tokeywords informed by social listening.
  27. UX that Reflects NeedsNavigation and sub- navigation reflect need states UX and content developed with the concerns of our personasWe built a user experience indicative ofthese considerations
  28. Performance Bookings Organic TrafficConversions improved in every need state in concert with improvement oftraffic from Organic Search. It worked.
  30. THROW AWAY YOUR FORM LETTERS! The guy sent a form letter to Avinash Kaushik for a link.Do Not be a Jordan Hogenson; tailor your outreach link building to your audience
  31. Social and Search Will Continue to IntegrateThere is evidence that Google will use rel-me and rel-author as ways to connectpeople to content and apply a sliding scale of value to links based onalgorithmically determined authority of the writer to help solve searchquality issues. BUILD YOUR NETWORKS NOW.Read: Google‟s Heading for Life after Link Trust – Here‟s How to Prepare by @simonpenson -
  32. Link Building Golden Rule
  33. Personas are the Key to Scalability TARGET INFLUENCERSCurious George Gamer Film Purist Tech GeekThis group represents people Gamers talk about their 3D This conversation revolves This group talks about theconsidering buying a 3D TV gaming experience and the around use of 3D in film. They technical details of their AV components and games they talk about 3D in a broad way, setup. They treat their TV‟s like use. and occasionally touch on a racecar driver treats their car. 3DTV specifically. Personas help you identify how to find your link prospects and how to start a conversation with them once you do. Watch:
  34. Twitter Before EmailTwitter is made for inane and unsolicitedconversation. Start your outreach link buildingthere.
  35. Use the SEER Method for Link ProspetingI absolutely love the SEER Interactive method of using Twitter and Open SiteExplorer together to identify link prospects!Read:
  37. Issues with the SEER MethodThe Simply Measured tool gives you URLs with shorteners and Open Site Explorerexports only give you up to 10k links.
  38. So I made a tool…Upload your Simply Measured Export and get an SEOmoz Site IntelligenceAPI and it will exhaustively prepare a link prospect report as an Excelworkbook. I don‟t have a name or UI for this tool.
  39. How Does it Work?All shortened URLs All Root Domains Data is exported to are expanded are pulled from an Excel Workbook. Open Site Explorer One sheet of prospects, one sheet of people already linking to you.
  40. Output
  41. Have a Persona for Link BuildingPeople will most likely check out your timeline so fill it withcool relevant content and conversation. Build an authenticseparate persona and use it for your link building.
  42. Do Your Research Create mental models of your link prospects by spending 5 minutes to view their Social Media profilesProTip: A lot of people use the same username for many differentsocial networks. Put it in Knowem and find out what they are about.
  43. Use Followerwonk with ScraperFollowerWonk doesn’t have an export feature so install Scraper for Chromeandget your data straight into Google Docs Read: (@justinrbriggs)
  44. Link Prospecting by PersonaKeep track of your twitter prospects by persona to measure hit rates and effectivenessin the context of conversion which further justifies the link building effort.
  45. Talk to People Like PeopleOutreach Link Building should be fun. If youapproach it with a genuine interest in peopleyou will increase your hit rate and not think of itas such an fruitless task by having actualconversations.
  46. Make Your Message Stand OutUse Short Subjects Converse with ContextUse Natural Subjects Do NOT Just Tweet a Link at a Prospect Do NOT Use “Link Request” Escalate Quickly (“Follow So I can DM”)Send Emails as anActual Person not a Participate in theCompany or Team Subject‟s Conversation Include a Natural Salutation Ride a Relevant Hashtag
  47. Offer ValueValue does not mean always mean incentives.Show the person that it interacting with you isvaluable by being entertaining or a resource bysharing other relevant content or information.
  49. Dangle the CarrotIf you have nothing more to offer or can‟t spendthe time use incentives. Couple incentives withcampaigns to draw links in a one-to-manyfashion.
  50. Maintain the RapportAfter you close a link continue to engage withyour link prospects over time on Twitter or G+.Add them to private Twitter lists and GooglePlus Circles.
  51. Real Life Examples @ipullrankFollow me on Twitter. I will soon share examples of my outreach conversations onmy blog (
  52. Measurement of Link Efforts Curious George Gamer Film Purist Tech Geek This group represents people Gamers talk about their 3D This conversation revolves This group talks about the considering buying a 3D TV gaming experience and the around use of 3D in film. They technical details of their AV components and games they talk about 3D in a broad way, setup. They treat their TV‟s like use. and occasionally touch on a racecar driver treats their car. 3DTV specifically. Curious George Gamers Film Purists Tech GeekThe ability to track the effectiveness of link building efforts by persona is apowerful means of understanding which segment of your audience is driving themost traffic and conversions.
  54. What if I told you….…there is a free way to find outexactly who every person is thatcomes to your site for per keyword
  55. By the way I‟m Michael King SEO Manager at Publicis Modem recently left Razorfish Studied Computer Science at Howard University Lives in Brooklyn From Philadelphia Born August 29th, 1981 Speaks American English & Pig Latin Wouldn‟t you want to have this info for every person that comes to your site?
  56. The Flux Capacitor Search Keyword-LevelFB:Admin Demographics Referrers
  57. FB:Admin Code ProTip: Sessionize the original referrer when they first get to the site in case the user opts-in via Facebook later during their visit. Clear the session variable if they come from Search again. JavaScript does not natively support Session Variables so check out SessVars.js by Thomas Frank - vars.html@matclayton’s presentation:
  58. More Code Function to grab the Search Referrer Function to grab Facebook DataAll code can be found at:
  59. GA Custom Variables Code_gaq.push([_setCustomVar, 1, // This custom var is set to slot #1. Required // parameter. You can do 1 - 5 ‘Referrer, // Category for the user activity. Required parameter. ‘Keyword, // Value of the custom variable. Required parameter. 1 // Sets the scope to page-level. Optional parameter. // 1 – Visitor-Level, 2- Session-Level, 3- Page-Level ]); Google Analytics function for pushing to Custom Variables Function for passing data to Custom Variables
  60. Magic Data!Here we are storing 4 pieces of data from Facebook as well as the referrer.Ideally you would model the persona in the code just push the persona name toGoogle Analytics.
  61. Data In Context of KeywordBIRTHDATE KEYWORD You can view the demographics data in context of any dimension. Here we are looking at birthdates in context with the referring keyword.
  62. Privacy?If you are concerned with privacy youcan encrypt user IDs using md5 hashesor model the persona in the code andonly push the persona name toanalytics. 123456 e10adc3949ba59abbe56e057f20f883e An md5 hash is a 128-bit encryption of a string. You can compare users without saving their user IDs
  63. PzychePzyche allows you to get demographics data on visitors in real-timerequiring no opt-in.**I asked Pzyche where their data comes from they said their sources are “proprietary”
  64. Other Data SourcesLinkedIn and Google+ are both optionsfor data mining the people that come toyour site but keep in mind that withsigned in G+ users you will not getSearch Referrers.Read:
  65. Dynamic Targeting Using the Facebook data user experiences can be tailored dynamically to reflect properties of the persona when they visit.What Normal Users See What Curious George Sees Curious George • 18-32 • Male • Loves indie rock • Wishes he had a beard
  66. Use it! It Works!MixCloud uses Facebook data to customizelanding pages and has achieved a 55%reduction in bounce rate for FB users.
  69. Measuring PeopleUsing personas allows you step away fromabstracts and identify insights in terms ofpeople and their needs. Almost didn‟t look like a watermark, right?
  70. Keyword OwnershipOnce a statistically significant dataset is compiled it can bedetermined which demographic and/or persona is more likely toconvert for a given keyword and develop messaging that focuses onthat group. OWNER Curious George Gamer Film Purist Tech Geek • 18-32 • 18-32 • 22-40 • 22-40 • Male • Male • Male • Male • Loves indie rock • Loves all music • Loves film soundtracks • Loves Techno • Wishes he had a beard • Wishes he could move • Wishes he could live in • Wishes you would stop out his mom’s the movie Avatar invading his online basement privacy• 5000 Searches Monthly • 600 Searches Monthly • 1000 Searches Monthly • 100 Searches Monthly• Conversion Rate 5% • Conversion Rate 2% • Conversion Rate 0.5% • Conversion Rate 0.2%
  71. Keyword ArbitrageInitial Conversion Persona Keyword Subsequent Conversion KeywordKeyword Rate Revenue Keyword Rate RevenueSneakers 5% Curious George $50 Sneakers 40% $50Sneakers 5% Curious George $50 Windbreakers 60% $100Sneakers 5% Curious George $50 T-Shirts 20% $20Windbreakers 3% Curious George $100 Sneakers 32% $50Windbreakers 3% Curious George $100 Windbreakers 5% $100Windbreakers 3% Curious George $100 T-shirts 80% $20T-shirts 2% Curious George $20 Sneakers 50% $50T-shirts 2% Curious George $20 Windbreakers 40% $100T-shirts 2% Curious George $20 T-shirts 75% $20Tracking keyword demographics also allows the attribution of future purchasesto the original keyword and will give way to keyword matrices.
  72. Subsequent Conversion Prediction Curious George60% of these users thatbuy sneakers from thekeyword “sneakers” comeback and purchasewindbreakers These keyword matrices will allow the prediction of what the persona is likely to buy next so you know which people to aggressively pursue through retargeting and other channels such as email.
  73. RankingsPush your rankings to your Analytics for viewing in context withpersonas, localization and conversion goals to prioritize opportunitiesRead and get the code for this: (@dohertyjf)
  74. Annual Keyword ValueBased on how often an initial keyword leads to future conversions ofsubsequent keywords businesses will be able to measure the annualvalue of a keyword and react accordingly. Keyword Price per Keyword Earnings Ratio Annual Earnings per initial click Annual Earnings Keyword per initial click Earnings Yield Price per Keyword
  75. Thank You.Michael KingSEO Manager @iPullRank
  76. AppendixMat Clayton’s Social Design Presentation: Doherty’s Notes on Mat Clayton’s Presentation: Open Graph Protocol Reference: Analytics Custom Variables: Keyword-Level Demographics Post on SEOmoz: Code Repository: Whiteboard Friday on Link Building Using Social Media
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This is the extended version of my original SMX talk that I presented at #SEMNE.


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