Persona Driven Keywords Research – Understand What Your Reader Is Interested In 2019

I always said that one of the most important facts that you need to understand before even starting doing SEO is that Google doesn’t really care about your website. All Google cares is to make its users happy. To provide the best results to them – and best results are not always what the user is looking for, but what the user actually wants, sometimes without even realising. Based on that, Google will love your website if you have the content that the user needs, and will ignore your website if you don’t help Google keeps its users happy. Keywords research, backlinks, technical SEO, speed, all fall behind – obviously, they still remain an important part, but providing what the user wants was always key.

In a nutshell, Persona Driven Keywords Research is the process of doing your keywords research only after you have learned what the targeted user/reader is interested in and his/her location.  

Based on that, we did an experiment – we wanted to learn how should we write an article based on people’s behavior on the internet. Like, if you want to write an article about Superbowl you could only include sport and technical facts, or you could also include suggestions about how to prepare for the big game, where to watch it, what beer you recommend, or anything else you know is related to the event. Like ads, for example, I watch for ads as well, and some people are only watching Superbowl for the halftime show.

So, you have to think about your audience. Is your audience only interested in the technical facts about the game?

Persona Builder: What other things is the user searching on Google?

But let’s go back to our experiment. We said, let’s write an article about things to do in Dublin. And we asked ourselves, what else is that person (searching for this query) doing online? I mean, they should have other hobbies, interests as well, right?

So, using Rilvi’s keywords persona feature, we tried to find out first who is the person from Ireland who would type on Google “Things to do in Dublin”

And we got the following:

Keywords Research – What else a user from Ireland is searching for

Based on that, we can guess that the person who’s searching this from Ireland is a woman. The word “fascinator” tells a lot. I didn’t even know what a fascinator is. It’s actually a fancy hat like, something that women wear at posh, special events, like races (horse races). Check here the full definition: Fascinator Wikipedia

I don’t think many men would know what a fascinator is. And probably no man would look for the query “fascinator” on Google. I did a test at one of my talks, and no men knew what a fascinator is. So that was an easy one.

But what else can we learn about this woman interested in things to do in Dublin?

So, we have a theme here, actually: “things to do with kids”; “Dublin with kids”, “family things to do”, “family…” tickets, activities and so on. It’s obviously a theme around family.

And we can see what would she like to do with the family on a trip: sea life, aquarium, days out, fun places, swimming pool – This person is looking for things to keep the kids busy, places where they could have fun with their kids.

And now you think you have a clear idea about how to write your article, right? Well, you’re right if you’re only going to target the Irish market.

Persona Based on Geo-location

But let’s take a look at our experiment, this time with an American search – we went for the United States and tried to find out who’s the person from US typing in Google “Things to do in Dublin”. Would it be the same woman with kids looking for fun activities?

You bet is not. It’s a totally different person. So, you’d think that is the same article, and you would optimize the keywords based on whatever tool you used for research. You’d follow all the rules you have learned about SEO content – a good, long article, with media and everything else. But you’d write an article who would make some of the searchers unhappy. Because that’s not what they are looking for.

So, let’s take a look at what else a searched from US is looking for in Google:

Keywords Research – What else a user from USA is searching for

I would guess that the person who’s typing on Google “Things to do in Dublin” and is from the USA it’s actually a man, with totally different interests that the user from Ireland searching for the same “things to do…”

So this user is interested in hiking, boats and is interested in a Keystone – I have to be honest and say that I didn’t know what a Keystone is either. Is actually a camping van, a camping vans company.

Probably they’re not going to only visit Dublin, it’s not a city break. So obviously, some very different interests from our Irish user. They’re probably on a long holiday in Europe and are also visiting Paris, Milano, Rome. And they want to save money on accommodation, that’s why they’re probably even looking into renting a camping van – and they also search for “cheap hotels”. On the other side, they have a budget, just don’t want to spend too much on hotels. We can see they’re looking to get the best tours during their trip, they don’t search for cheap places to eat, but actually, want to experiment good healthy food – the keywords “seafood” and “one place nutrition”.

As you can see, there’s a totally different article that you should write for our main keyword, if instead of Ireland you target the United States. And the same goes for any other country.

Learn the interests and the ton of voice you need to use

We wanted to take our experiment a step further. We know now that the Irish person interested in “things to do in Dublin” is a woman, mostly looking for family experiences. Even if she was not searching that in Google all the time, we said that, if she comes to Dublin on her own, instead of having a family getaway, she would probably be more interested in shopping in Dublin. SO we decided to do a second test, this time for a person searching in Google for “Zara Dublin”. In case you don’t know, Zara it’s a fast fashion retail chain, targeting mostly women (or maybe not, but I know that my wife and my daughter spend a lot of time in this shop).

We just wanted to go a bit deeper into insights and learn what our “keywords persona” is even more interested in, apart from family activities, sea life, etc.

And let’s see what we got:

Keywords research on “Zara Dublin” query 

And we had our confirmation: the person from Ireland looking for “Zara Dublin” is a woman: she’s looking for “eyeshadows”; she doesn’t drive, or doesn’t like to drive, because she’s also searching for “dublin coach”, “bus timetable”, “taxi number”. We also located her: she’s from Sligo, Wilton, Mullingar, Tralee, Castlebar, Kilkenny or Newbridge – that was based on another search this persona is doing, looking for Penneys (a discount fashion chain) in the above-mentioned locations.

A part of this persona is not Irish. Our experiment showed that she’s also looking for “po angielsku” – and Google Translates tells me that this is the polish for “in English” – again, not a surprise since Wikipedia tells us that almost 3% of Ireland’s population is Polish.

She’s also looking for things like “Prosecco” and “Bodysuit”. Technology-wise, this person is mostly looking for Android phones and is preferring the “Pay as you go” plans to the Bill pay plans

Maybe this information is not 100% relevant for all the industries, but you’ve definitely learned a lot more now about the user behind the screen who’s typing “things to do in Dublin”.

And it is a bit easier now to write that article, knowing exactly who are you addressing to.

Auto-complete Keywords Research for e-commerce queries?

Now we can start the keywords research – if we need to target any other keywords than “things to do in Dublin”. One of the tools that we all use is Google Autocomplete – a very good tool, because (again) it’s a tool that Google uses to keep its users happy.

But Google autocomplete has two issues:

  1. Everybody knows about it – so it’s difficult to find keywords that your competitors don’t know
  2. Google uses geolocation – and sometimes the results are the only location based.

Let’s take a look at the geolocation and the problems it creates with our keywords research. Having in mind our first example, the one with the lady who was looking for things to do with her family in Dublin, we know she was looking on Google for “swimming pool”.

Now, this is what you get in Google as auto-complete suggestions for swimming pool:

Google Autocomplete Keywords Research

Not too helpful, right?

But what if we look into the results from multiple search engines? We tried (yes, we got that in 2 seconds using Rilvi, but you could spend some more time and get the keywords suggestions yourself). Let’s see what we got:

Rilvi Keywords Auto-complete Research

If we look at Bing and Yahoo, maybe not the perfect keywords, but I think that’s a good start. Anyway, better than any keywords research we could make for this query in Google.

But then we look at Amazon and I think that’s amazing. Because actually, those results are what people are searching for when they’re ready to buy. So, if you’re into e-commerce, or in the Amazon referral program, I think this is where you should focus your keywords research.

On the other side, if I’m looking for something like “best pizza recipe” I’m not going to get geolocated results, because Google doesn’t want to give me the pizza recipe that my neighbor is using, but actually a collection of the best recipes from all over the web. Our “keywords persona” was interested in Samsung phones – and this search is not one geolocated by Google, because you might look into buying one online, or looking for reviews.

And this is what we got:

Auto-complete suggestions for a second query

As you can notice, we kind of have the same theme on Google, Bing, and Yahoo – especially troubleshooting on Samsung phones. But then again, if you look into Amazon, you see exactly what people want to buy.

When you’re doing your keywords research, always keep in mind Amazon. It is the biggest search engine when it comes to spending money.

Use the Persona Driven Research to increase your Click Through Rate

The keywords research is not the only important part of writing the right content but is definitely one of the most important ones. Keep in mind to have good titles to your articles/pages. This helps not only to rank better, by using the right keywords but also to increase the click-through rate CTR – so use what you learned about the targeted audience to have them click on your titles from Google SERP.

How do you learn about the persona who’s going to read your articles? Do you do such research at all? Please leave your thoughts in the comments section below.


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