Once the optimizer for successful website promotion was just enough to insert into the text more key phrases. Then the search engines forced him to litter the Web with hundreds of links. Today, search engines have so complicated the life of an ordinary specialist in the field of SEO, that he is forced from a technician and a connoisseur of crawler algorithms to retrain into a marketer. Whether the joke, to attract traffic, the optimizer needs to know potential site visitors. Now, only client-centered strategies based on maximum user interests are working in SEO. One of the tools for introducing a client-centered approach is the search person.
The search landscape is changing
As noted above, recently "old school" optimizers are increasingly faced with new challenges. Search engines are constantly improving technology, closing gaps in algorithms and making it difficult to manipulate the issue.
In particular, just a few weeks ago, Google’s largest search engine in the world made a quiet revolution by running the Hummingbird algorithm. According to anti-search spam expert Matt Cutts, Hummingbird has taken Google's semantic search to a new level. And the use of knowledge graph and deep learning technologies made the online search a reality. During the conference, Pubcon Las Vegas 2013, Mr. Cutts demonstrated that Google is able to correctly answer user questions, not guided by the relevance of sites to the words contained in the request, but by the meaning that people put into the search question. Needless to say, interactive search almost makes no sense to optimize websites using keyword stuffing - stuffing texts with key phrases?
Skeptics will rightly note that the launch of the Hummingbird had virtually no effect on the results of the issue. The world's largest search engine still includes resources in the top of the list, where you can find something like “buy a two-room two-room apartment in Orel”. But even supporters of traditional SEO will not deny that Google has consistently reduced the ability to manipulate the issue with search phrases. This is confirmed by the following facts:
- In mid-2011, Google launched the Panda algorithm, which, among other things, provides for sanctions for oversaturation of texts with keywords.
- In the fall of 2011, Google partially deprived SEOs of the ability to track keywords that generate traffic. In Analytics, data on search queries of users logged in while surfing the Internet in one of Google’s services is no longer displayed. Instead of keywords that lead users to the site, webmasters see the phrase not provided.
- More recently, Google has replaced the Keyword Search tool with the Keyword Planner. After changing the name, the functionality of the tool remains the same. However, now the optimizer needs to log in to your Google account to use the Scheduler. The old version of the tool was available without authorization.
Google constantly says that SEO is no longer related to keywords and purchased links. Modern SEO makes you focus on users and on how and for what they use search engines. This means that SEO itself gives way to a wider discipline and becomes part of it. This is search engine marketing - SEM. Yesterday's optimizers and today's search marketers are forced to move toward customer-centeredness, whether they like it or not.
Gentlemen optimizers, do not worry. Search engine optimization (SEO) remains the current direction of Internet marketing. However, the role of SEO in the online business is fundamentally changing. In order to successfully promote projects, he no longer has to look for loopholes in algorithms and try to push his resource through the bottom. On the contrary, the optimizer should monitor the full compliance of the site with the requirements of Google, Yandex and other search engines. He is obliged to provide a reliable technical foundation for further marketing activities undertaken independently or in cooperation with colleagues.
How to practice making SEO, sorry, SEM, customer-centered? Marketing optimizers will have to start with the search person. This concept is very similar to the term buying person. However, one of the main ways to create a search person is to research keywords.
Basics of Search Engineer Studies
A search person is a portrait of a typical site visitor who hits it through organic or paid search. With the help of the person, the search marketer solves two problems. First, he gets an idea about the audience of the resource. He understands who and what comes to the site. Secondly, it more clearly demonstrates to the user that the resource values him and understands his needs.
In an ideal world, the seller understands the needs of the consumer and knows how to meet them. He experiences empathy with every visitor to the resource. In the real world, the seller serves dozens of customers every day, and attendance at popular resources amounts to tens and hundreds of thousands of unikis per day. Naturally, there can be no talk of any personal empathy if the seller does not want to burn at work on the very first day. Therefore, marketers create several abstract search individuals personifying (sorry for the tautology) each specific segment of the site users. Created persona as if represent the interests of typical site visitors.
To better understand the term "persona" in the context of search marketing, you need to turn to the analytical psychology of Carl Gustav Jung. One of the core concepts of the teachings of Jung is the archetype - the unconscious mental pattern that defines the typical behavioral reactions, activities and thinking of a person. A typical example of an archetype is Shadow. In popular culture, this archetype is represented by such characters as Darth Vader and Agent Smith.
Each of the tens of thousands of visitors to the resource has its own name, age, habits, interests and fears. However, each of them also has a set of identical qualities and behavioral reactions, which are combined into a collective shadow archetype. This is the search person sought by the marketer.
To create a search person, a marketer must examine web analytics data, conduct surveys, questionnaires, focus groups, and interviews. In short, use the methods of sociological research available to him to get a current portrait of a typical user. In practice, there will be several such portraits, since all users can be easily combined into several segments.
The optimizer should remember that it is not the characteristics of the user segment, but the search person can successfully personalize real visitors. A real user has an average monthly income not "from 30 to 60 thousand rubles", but, for example, 45 thousand rubles a month. Therefore, creating a person, the marketer must describe it as accurately as possible. For example, the segment of the youth audience of resource X should be represented by a hypothetical programmer from Moscow, Vasily Siplusus, who is 29 years old, whose average monthly income is Y rubles, and so on. In other words, a search person is an exact portrait of a person (albeit a non-existent), and not a set of abstract characteristics.
How to use a search person in SEO practice
It is better for marketers to use the deductive method when creating a search person. Moving from the general to the particular, the specialist first creates a common purchasing person for his project, taking into account all the channels to attract customers. After that, he selects a segment of users who come to the resource through search engines, and creates their persona. Naturally, this task will be handled faster by a search marketer of a new type, rather than an "old school" tech optimizer.
By creating common purchasing personalities, the marketer gets the opportunity to work systematically with all channels to attract customers. However, creating search engines only is also an effective marketing method.
To create and use search engines in practice, use the following guidelines:
- Select targeted search individuals. Who exactly do you want to see on the site? Combine the desired visitors in 3-5 groups and name each of them. Imagine what you want to see on the site of programmer Vasily Siplusplusov, businessman Stepan Mnogodenizhnogo, housewife Karina Muzholigarkhskaya, etc.
- Create a detailed description of each search person, based on their own knowledge and assumptions. If you work in a team, use the brainstorming method to create the most accurate and detailed description.
- Determine whether your business proposal meets the needs of search individuals. Write down what your website lacks so that it is interesting, say, to Stepan Mnogodonetny.
- Collect objective data about the created search persons. Use for this purpose not only web analytics of your own resource, but also available information from other sources. Determine what key phrases your ideal visitors use, what and why they search on the web, what they avoid.
- Create a map with a description of each person. Include the name, demographic and social data, habits, preferences and needs of the client. Describe the main patterns of interaction of a person with search engines and web resources.
Having created search engines and described them in detail, you have traveled a large part of the journey to customer-centered SEO. It remains only to bring the site in line with the expectations and needs of ideal customers. Pay attention, by creating search persons, you are addressing marketing efforts not to the actual audience of the resource, which may consist entirely of insolvent schoolchildren, but to ideal customers. These customers will definitely appear as soon as the site becomes interesting to them.