8 Questions B2B SEO’s Should Ask In Buyer Persona Development

March 26, 2013: A few weeks back I wrote a column for Search Engine Land on B2B buyer personas. In exploring the persona concept, it further supported my opinion that for SEO to truly be effective for the B2B organization, SEO needs to run hand-in-hand with traditional B2B marketing initiatives.

In this post, I want to discuss how B2B SEO discovery can be integrated into buyer persona development, in turn creating a more effective search engine optimization strategy in the long run.

B2B marketers realize organic search engine referrals are a critical component of the B2B website traffic mix. According to respondents of Optify’s B2B Marketing Benchmark Report, organic search is the #1 driver of traffic, accountable for 41% of all visits to B2B websites.

Traffic Sources for B2B Marketers

Organic search is also ranked second for lead acquisition, following only direct traffic. But what’s interesting is that the conversion rate for organic search engine traffic is actually less than the average conversion rate across all channels and second to last overall, only ahead of social media.

B2B Conversion Rates by Channel

Two factors come to mind when considering the disparity between traffic and lead volume, and overall conversion rates.

  • Traffic Potential: A mature B2B website should receive a fair percentage of traffic from search engines, because Google, Yahoo, and Bing represent 3 of the top 10 sites in the US market (Google of course being the top site globally), according to Alexa site rankings.
  • Disconnect in B2B SEO Objectives: The lag in conversion rate could mean that SEO discovery needs to be more integrated with broader B2B marketing efforts. At the heart of this is the development of the B2B buyer persona.

Eight SEO-Related Buyer Persona Questions

Here are eight questions search engine marketers should ask (or get answered) when developing buyer personas for B2B marketing strategy.

“What keywords would the buyer use to search for a solution like ours?”

An (hopefully) obvious starting point for uncovering an initial list of terms and phrases to begin keyword research.

“Where would the buyer look for information on a solution like ours?”

This question helps uncovers possible link opportunities and social media destinations for outreach strategies.

“What influencers and thought leaders is the buyer familiar with in the industry?”

Similar to the last question, this helps define social media and third party site focus, which in turn impacts link acquisition and referral traffic.

“What type of content would the prospective buyer want to see and use to learn more about a solution like ours?”

This question uncovers opportunities for content development to be used for link acquisition, keyword strategy, and lead generation.

“What other companies is the prospect aware of that offer a solution like ours?”

This helps uncover competitive websites to review for SEO, social media, and content marketing strategies.

“What trends does the buyer see in the industry?”

Not only does the answer to this question help keyword research, but it might assist link building and competitive research.

“What are the typical titles and roles of the prospective buyer?”

The answers to this question can lead to LinkedIn exploration for industry groups, organizations, and important publishing websites; in turn generating link building and social media opportunities.

“What is a problem in the industry that our business can solve?”

The answers to this question help spearhead keyword research and enable a more refined search for third party sites and social media conversations to investigate for link outreach and social networking.

This is a short list of direct and indirect opportunities. The reality is that all of the information gleaned from a comprehensive buyer persona report could improve the effectiveness of B2B SEO. I would highly recommend being involved in buyer persona creation from the start. The information realized will help the SEO professional make more informed decisions without duplicating processes. Buyer personas provide a great starting point for keyword research, competitive review, and link building / social media exploration.

Is your organization leveraging the information found in buyer persona development? I would love to read your thoughts and perspective via comments below.

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Alexis Karlin

"Working with KoMarketing was more like a partnership as supposed to just another consulting project. We learned a lot from KoMarketing, while excelling in all aspects of SEO for our website. If your looking for a hard working, dedicated team, KoMarketing is a partnership you won't regret." - Alexis Karlin, Digital Marketing Specialist Neolane (Acquired by Adobe)

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