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How Marketing Personas Improve Search Marketing Strategy

Posted on by Kent Yunk

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Marketers often create marketing personas, fictitious profiles of their target consumers, to build marketing strategies. The marketer identifies traits and characteristics of that target consumer and tailors marketing efforts specifically for that persona. Similarly, in search marketing, we create personas to more easily discern and evaluate ideal search terms for a target audience.

When we work with clients to improve search visibility, we often suggest marketing persona creation as a first step to determine optimal search terms. A search marketing persona is the profile of a website visitor the company wishes to attract. Using personas, a company can closely define the needs or “intent” of a target website visitor and then begin to understand and predict which search terms the user may use in search queries.

By way of example, we created a few marketing personas and search profiles for an imaginary clothing retailer that caters to a wide variety of consumers. The three target website visitors for this business include:

Joe Trekker – The quintessential “Millennial Eco Shopper,” Joe really cares about the planet and wants to find ways to support merchants who focus on earth-friendly and sustainable business practices.

Sally Saver – Very frugal and a careful thinker about every purchase, Sally uses an eagle eye to scout deals of every description. A member of several Facebook groups that share bargains and tips on getting the best price or value for any purchased item, Sally focuses on savings.

Laura LeanIn – A high-powered, driven businesswoman with little spare time on her hands, Laura has lots of discretionary income to spend. She appreciates, expects and will pay for luxury, service and convenience.

Creating personas for search marketing allows us to better identify keywords and phrases that map or align to the needs of the target user.

Given the general profiles we created, we next filled in our marketing persona template with additional information about our personas and added the search terms we expect each persona to use:



Name: Joe Trekker

Description: The quintessential “Millennial Eco Shopper,” Joe is fashion-conscious but really cares about the planet and wants to find ways to support merchants who focus on earth-friendly and sustainable business practices.

Gender: Male

Age: 24-35

Education: 4-6 years of college

Annual Income: $45K – $150K

Personal Style: Joe sports some facial hair or a full beard, wears quality fabrics, considers himself more casual than formal.

Ideal Search Terms and Keywords: recycled, upcycled, used, reused, sourced, sustainable, reusable, eco-friendly, green, local



Name: Sally Saver

Description: Very frugal and a careful thinker about every purchase, Sally uses an eagle eye to scout deals of every description. A member of several Facebook groups that share bargains and tips on getting the best price or value for any purchased item, Sally focuses on savings.

Gender: Female

Age: 35-65

Education: 2-4 years of college

Annual Income: $60K – $120K

Personal Style: Sally is conservative and traditional, not a trend setter.

Ideal Search Terms and Keywords: deal, bargain, clearance, sale, BOGO, discount



Name: Laura LeanIn

Description: A high-powered, driven businesswoman with little spare time on her hands, Laura does have lots of discretionary income to spend. She appreciates, expects and will pay for luxury, service and convenience.

Gender: Female

Age: 40-55

Education: 4-6 years of college, and an advanced degree

Annual Income: $250K – $400K

Personal Style: Always professional, Laura is very fashionable, label-conscious and style-savvy – but always tasteful.

Ideal Search Terms and Keywords: luxury, high-end, convenient, service, concierge, delivery, designer, quality, hand-selected, genuine



Armed with the best search terms for each of our three marketing personas, we would then enhance the clothing company’s website such as text, photos and marketing programs to optimize the ideal search terms and keywords “mapped” to each target website visitor. As with any marketing program, marketing personas and search marketing are iterative and ongoing practices; we recommend revisiting and enhancing them on a regular basis.


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About Kent Yunk

Kent is currently Advisor and SEO Strategist to Roaring Pajamas a boutique digital-strategy company located in San Carlos California. His in-house SEO experience spans GoDaddy, QuinStreet, Ask.com, Dictionary.com, Adobe and IBM where he did extensive audits and optimization for local and international web properties. He and his team also execute reputation management, link building and social media campaigns.

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