Hannah Wineland | February 08, 2022
Influencers have become an integral part of many brands’ digital marketing strategies. Reaching the audience of someone like Addison Rae and her 32.8 million TikTok followers could make or break a brand. There’s one major influencer with millions of followers all over the world, however, that is both relatively easy to engage – and often goes completely overlooked.
Yes, Google. Think about it. No matter who makes up your audience, they likely count Google as one of their most trusted friends, confidants, and advisors. The average person asks Google between three and four questions per day – that’s 90 to 120 questions per month. And many of those questions are reserved for Google’s eyes only.
Think about questions you’ve asked Google over the last month. It’s highly likely that you’d be embarrassed to share a couple of those questions with a colleague, friend or spouse. And when one of those questions returned an answer in a Featured Snippet, you took it as truth without consulting a second source to confirm. Both scenarios are evidence Google is a trusted friend – and a major influencer.
So how can we leverage this behavior when developing personas? If personas and their buyers’ journey are the foundation of our marketing campaigns, how can we account for how they are influenced at the start?
Not only is Google an influencer you want to attract, but also Google is a persona you need to understand.
Creating personas, creative profiles built from real data that captures a representation of your target audience, is an essential part of building a marketing campaign. They help you understand how to successfully engage with your prospects and customers and deliver the answers they’re looking for, whether that’s through content or product and service enhancements.
The same holds true with Google. At its foundation, Google is an algorithm scouring the internet to find content that meets the requirements built into its A.I. While that might sound a bit like science fiction, that’s not much different from what your prospects are doing when they search for an answer to a problem or look to fulfill a need.
The catch? Because Google owns more than 92% of the global search engine market, it’s more than likely your prospects and customers – your ideal personas – are using Google to find those answers. More than that, the goal of Google’s algorithm is to give your prospects and customers the information they are looking for because your customers are Google’s customers, too.
That’s why it’s imperative you include Google as one of your key personas. Building content that both Google and your prospects and customers are looking for is the best way – maybe even the only way - to surface that content in search so it is easily discovered and engaged with.
It makes your job easier! If you’re tasked with goals related to customer acquisition, customer retention, or sales, personas can establish the foundation for objectives to help you reach those goals.
Personas drive content creation – for websites, blogs, content marketing campaigns, social media campaigns, email, and more. Using personas in marketing, allows you to tailor not only your content topics, but also your messaging to:
Personas are often paired with buyers’ journeys – how your ideal customer gathers the information they need to make an informed decision. More often than not, the first phase of that journey begins with a Google search. Your goal, then, is to have that first step lead to your website or content.
So, in digital, before you can attract prospects and customers, you must attract Google. You must show Google your content is better than the rest. And, while one of the best ways to do that is by focusing on meeting the needs of your audience – or your persona – first, there are still Google needs that must be considered as well.
Google wants to see that you are providing visitors with a healthy website, or one that is built on a solid tech architecture. It wants to know that you use keywords and semantics that match users search intent and content is served in the length and medium users expect. In short, it wants to know that you are providing your prospects and customers with the information that they are looking for – and that they can find it easily. After all, your customers are Google’s customers, too.
Google’s needs vary, of course, so remember that creating a Google persona is just a starting point and should be optimized to reflect the search engine results for your industry or niche. For example, if you are a local business, the search engine results might be dominated by “local packs,” or map results, and ranking in the local pack requires a very different strategy than ranking in the traditional title and description results.
You’re probably already familiar with creating buyer personas. You start with information gathering. Stakeholder interviews, market research, insights gathered from your existing customers are all great resources to help identify patterns and commonalities in customer groups.
There are many versions of personas, but most are one-pagers including these common elements:
The basis for your buyer personas can work to inform your Google persona. If you want to provide prospects with a how-to tutorial that solves a common problem (using your product or service, of course), knowing what Google wants to find in that content – keyword phrases, internal and external links, a good readability score – will help ensure it is found when prospects go looking.
Now you can create content that will be found – by Google and your prospects and customers. That makes everyone happy.
You’ve put so much time and effort into your personas, so once they’re live, socialize them. Introduce them to other departments.
For example, they’re a great tool for onboarding new writing talent, or for content strategists developing content for integrated marketing campaigns. Personas can assist your writers in developing content not only for your target audience, but also for Google and other search engines.
Interested in more ways you can leverage personas, or want to connect with a team whose tailored personas and journey maps to a multitude of industries? Connect with Falls & Co.
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Hannah Wineland is Director of SEO at Falls & Co. She began her career as an educator, and transitioned to SEO through communications, content marketing and creative writing experiences. She now marries her content experience with technical and data analytics to develop organic search strategies for clients.