Blog: SEO

Know Your Customers for SEO

Avatar for John Locke

John Locke is an SEO consultant from Sacramento, CA. He helps established businesses rank higher through his web agency. Lockedown Design.

Customer personas are a huge part of planning content for your website.

If you know your customers, and get inside their head, you can provide the answers that they’re looking for.

After all, what is SEO worth if it’s not providing answers for questions your customers are asking?

If you know who your customers are, and how they are likely to look for the service you provide, you’re more likely to win the SEO battle against your competitors.

Customer Personas, and the Role They Play in SEO

Customer personas are snapshots of what your real world customers are like.

Personas represent profiles of customers that already do business with you, or customers you want to acquire. The more detailed the persona, the more effective your site content will be at persuading them to click, call, subscribe, or purchase.

Here’s some things you will want to include in each of your customer personas:

  • Who are they?
  • What are their demographics?
  • How much money do they earn?
  • Where do they live?
  • What do they read?
  • How do they make purchasing decisions?
  • How do they think about your service in general?

The better you understand you customers, the more likely you are to know how they search.

What words do they use when they type searches into Google? Which questions are they looking to have answered? What do they expect to see when they get to your website?

Search engine optimization is not just about getting Number 1 in Google. The end goal of SEO is to get people to take a desired action.

At the end of your marketing funnel, you want them to make a purchase, sign up for email newsletter, retake some other action that generates revenue for your company.

What Do Your Customers Expect to See When They Click?

What do your customers expect to see when they click a search result? If you can answer that, you can give them the information they need.

Compelling web content drives people to action. Do your web pages answer your customers questions? Or does your web content leave your customers still in search of an answer?

Search engines have one job: to provide the best answer possible for a given search query. The goal of Google and every other search engine is to interpret the intention of a search, and provide the best answers possible.

By figuring out who your customers are and what they are likely to be searching for, you can provide the best answers.

What are common questions your customers have?

Do you have a list of these questions? Do customers ask you over the phone or in email? If you answered Yes, now you have the beginnings of a content for your website.

Start With The Customers You Already Have

Consider the customers you already have.

How did they find you?

Was it through word-of-mouth? Advertising? Social media? An in-person meeting? Through search engines?

If you interact with your customers face-to-face, find out what type of language they use. How do they view your service? What type of words do they use? How do they describe your service?

If you talk to people on the phone, what words do they use when talking with you? How do they describe the problem you are solving for them? How do they describe it?

If people find you through a search engine, what words did they type in to find you?

How do you find out the answers to these questions?

One way to do that is just pay attention to how people talk about your service or your industry. Make a note of what words they use, and what words they don’t use.

If your website has a contact form, add a checklist that asks people how they heard of you.

If your customers indicate they found you through a search engine, ask them what phrase they typed in Google to find you.

You can also do surveys through social media to find out more about how people describe a certain service. Many social media sites (like Twitter) will allow you to promote a survey. You can use this information to focus your keyword strategy.

Why Are the Words People Use To Search Important?

In many industries, the way we describe what we do is different then the way people outside our industry describe what we do.

Many industries have internal jargon or acronyms that makes sense to them, but not to their customers.

When your customers are using different words than we would to describe what they’re looking for, those words are the ones you should be using on your website.

Whatever you have to do to find out how your customers search for you, and how they think of your service, this information is valuable.

If you have Google Search Console and Google Analytics hooked up and verified for your website, you can get some additional information on how people are currently finding your website in search.

Sign into Google Search Console, click your website property, and go to Search Traffic > Search Analytics.

Google Search Console

As Google collects data about your site, you will be able to see what the top-performing search phrases are for your site. This will let you see how people are currently finding you in search.

There are checkboxes at the top of this report that allow you to see data on these search terms for total clicks, average position in search, and click-through rate. You can also see total impressions (how many times people saw a page of yours in search results for that search term).

Using all the methods described in this section, you can start making a list of what search terms people use to find your website.

Summary: Know Your Customers Language and Words

Before you overhaul your SEO, it’s important to know how people are finding you right now. There may be an opportunity for you to improve something that is already working.

If you know the language and words that customers are using to search for you, you can create content that uses that same language and speaks directly to them.


Here’s the Rest of the Posts in this Series

Avatar for John Locke

John Locke is an SEO consultant from Sacramento, CA. He helps established businesses rank higher through his web agency. Lockedown Design.

4 comments on “Know Your Customers for SEO

  1. Hi John Locke,

    I want to know about product or software (web applications) listings in Google.

    If you type LMS software in Google, you will see a list of software.

    How that list is coming together?

    Can I put any Schema [on my page] to do that?

    I have heard about Firebase for app indexing. Is that a good place to list my web app?

    Or do I need a merchant account?

    What are the suggestions you can give to get listed in products/web app category and to promote an application in Google ?

    1. Hi Vishnukanth:

      When I type in LMS software into Google, this is what I see:

      LMS software Google carousel result

      If this is what you are also seeing, know that this is known as a carousel search result.

      You will see these for various types of searches now, such as for local restaurants or entertainers.

      It appears that in this particular result, Google is taking information from all over the web to give the most well-known results for LMS Software. Adding Schema markup to your website will probably not get your app into this list by itself.

      Most of these results have Wikipedia pages, so each of these results in the carousel have a certain level of notoriety. I will presume that these listings all have numerous brand signals from around the web that are putting them up there.

      You asked about getting listed in Firebase. I would say, if you would do it regardless of Google search results, then yes, go ahead and list your app there. If your competitors are listing their software in Firebase, then you may also consider it. But do not list your app in Firebase just for SEO purposes.

      I would say until your app is at least as big and well known as the other brands in the carousel result, focus on raising brand awareness. Make more more of your customers know that your app is a viable alternative to your competitors.

      If your app focuses on a particular market segment, I would focus on ranking for that. LMS software is still a very big space, so clearly define who your ideal target customers are, and position yourself to be found for that targeted search term.

      Let me know if that answers your question.

      Thanks,
      John

  2. Hi John Locke,

    Thanks for your answer which is very helpful to me and others also.

    So you are telling us that, to list the software in carousel search results, this is only achieved by increasing the brand value.

    I have many big web apps like LMS, internal audit management software, etc, to promote on the same brand. So first, I am going to raising the brand awareness.

    Once again thanks to your answer and I kindly request you for a blog on Web applications promotion in Google when you get time. It will be very useful.

Join the Conversation

Your email address will be kept private. Required fields marked *.