August 6, 2018

3.3 : Keyword research for buyer persona

3.3 : Keyword research for buyer persona

Dr. Aleksej Heinze, Associate Professor at KEDGE Business School (France), Visiting Lecturer, Salford Business School, UK

Keyword research is essentially an opportunity for you to identify the keyword phrases – so it could be two words, three words, or a sentence long query – that people would be typing into a search engine to get your products and services. There are a number of different tools that you allow you to do that, but before you get to use those tools, it’s always good to be aware of that whenever you’re deciding on your keywords, there are four aspects that you need to think about:

  • First of all, is the Relevance of that keyword to your buyer persona…
  • the Specificity – how many words does it comprise of…
  • Popularity – how popular is this keyword in search…
  • and how Competitive – how many others are competing for that term.

So in the ideal case, you will find a keyword that is relevant to your buyer persona, that has two, three, or four, or more words in the term, it is very popular, and it’s also least competitive on the market.

Colin Telford, Managing Partner, The Candidate Ltd, UK

The main keyword terms for us that are important for our business are sector-specific and also location-specific. So if you’re looking for a job in digital marketing, “digital marketing jobs”, “digital marketing recruitment” seem to be two very popular terms for us.

The Candidate Ltd case study emphasises keywords that relate to:

  • Geographical location
  • Sector

In terms of the location and the geographical element of this; “digital marketing jobs Manchester”, “digital marketing recruitment Manchester” and “recruitment agencies marketing Manchester” are all variations of terms that are very important for us.

In terms of the keywords that are important for our online persona, we look at the long tail keywords that would attract a wave of traffic in the longer-term in terms of search engines optimization.

Long tail keywords are search terms that comprise 3 or more words. Themore specific the keyword term (the longer the tail) the more likely it is that the buyer persona will become a customer

Example: “Digital marketing skills shortage Manchester

So we have done research in the past on the skills shortage in the northwest, knowing that this would be a hot topic, you know, in the 18 months or so after we release that research and it is now, and therefore the keyword terms that are being produced like “digital skills shortage Manchester” “developing the northwest of England” in digital marketing – it all produces really strong traffic for us, from the research that we have made live that relates directly to the content on our website.

Alex Charalambidis, Digital Marketing Strategist, MONKS, Greece

For, let’s say, one of our clients are offering gardening products, everything about your garden or for your furniture in-house. So we think that people are looking for specific terms but if you can go to the keyword tool and see the actual phrases, we can see sometimes people are looking with some misspells or syntax or grammar. So we can see how is the actual term and use it not only in the advertising, but you can use it also in our content, not only in our website but in our social media.

The actual search terms used by the buyer persona should be used in the content development – this makes content highly relevant for them

So Google is trying to find relevance of keywords and of course quality of the landing page and the landing page is your Facebook page or your website.

Keyword research starts by documenting staff/social media comments etc., but always ends with actual data from a search engine’s keyword research tool

Sometimes we are asking for colleagues, for friendst or event clients to create a list of keywords, let’s say 10 to 20, how they think that someone is looking for this product. And after that, we are taking these keywords and trying to connect them with initial query. So we are using different ad groups, but at the end, we are always selecting keywords coming from the keyword tool and from monthly search queries.

Kristina Chokoeva, Marketing Director, DINO, Bulgaria

We face many challenges in implementing our digital marketing strategy from choosing the right picture for a post, to building a whole strategy, to which tool to use.

A “call to action” is an instruction to the buyer persona to engage with your content. E.g. call now, comment below, download etc.

In all your communications include a clear call to action

For example, though it sounds simple, phrasing is crucial in the digital space and requires a lot of thought and knowledge of the psychology of our target audience. We always try to phrase the content so that it stimulates actions, be it engagement or purchase. The title “New Collection 2015” would not bring as many clicks in our pay-per-click campaign. Therefore, we included an action word in the slogan and drew upon some of the brand values like “family”, “quality”, “Bulgarian producer” to get the message that intrigues people to take an action.


Keyword research

For an imaginary company or if you like for the “Digital and Social Media Marketing course” – research some of the keywords that might be searched for by the buyer persona using these tools:

Make a list of these terms and organise them using the framework introduced in the unit video –


If you like, you can give each category a score and then multiply them so that you have a quantitative feel for which keyword is more appropriate compared to others.

Example of keyword refinement process

For example, {using a range from 1 to 5 where 1 is low and 5 high} if you are creating keyword research for the course in Digital and Social Media Marketing MOOC you could consider two terms:

“Digital and Social Media Marketing”

Let’s examine the MOOC as a keyword:

Relevancy – 3
Specificity – 1
Popularity – 5
Competition – 2

Overall score – 3 * 1 * 5 * 2 = 30

in the case of “Digital and Social Media Marketing”:

Relevancy – 5
Specificity – 4
Popularity – 1
Competition – 5

Overall score – 5 * 4 * 1 * 5 = 100

The keyword assessment is a subjective process although it is informed by data from the different sources. In the above case, the numbers suggest that we should emphasise the term “Digital and Social Media Marketing” in our content creation.

This is all you need to do for basic keyword research, however, if you feel that you would like to push yourself further, see if you can use Google AdWords –

Do you have access to Google AdWords?

If you have access to Google AdWords you might want to test your terms against the Google Keyword Research Tool – however, watch this video first – it suggests a more sophisticated keyword research table if you would like to challenge yourself:

Publish your keyword research justification process for one keyword as an example on your blog post and share it with others on the #passion4digital community.

Reflect on the usability of each of the above keyword research tools – which one do you like best?

Find what other on this course have researched and published and comment on their findings either on their blog posts or via Twitter.

Additional materials

Example of keyword plan for website

A Keyword Research Plan is a standard deliverable for a digital marketing project which reviews a website and plans the structure for the entire website.

The main benefit of the Keyword Research Plan is the logical structuring of themes for all pages with one primary and two or three secondary keyword terms. This also includes the writing of the Title, Description, URL and Heading 1 text which integrates the primary keyword if possible.

Please see this Google spreadsheet which contains the example of the Keyword Research Plan for the website. To use this spreadsheet you need to make a copy to your google docs:

You can see here:

Column C – the web pages names
Columns D – E – Keyword being targeted in these pages
Column H – the URL for the page
Column I – page title
Column J – length of the page title in characters
Column K – the meta description tag
Column L – length of the meta description tag
Column M – Heading 1 tag for the page
Column N – length of the Heading 1 tag for the page

Keyword research

There are a number of ways that keyword research can be done and you can find the best way that works for you by looking at different resources and seeing which makes more sense for your activities.

Here are some guides

MOZ The Beginner’s Guide to SEO

SEMrush SEO guide to keyword research


Keyword typos generator…

How to Improve Your Relationship With Keywords…

Ghose, A., & Yang, S. (2009). An empirical analysis of search engine advertising: Sponsored search in electronic markets. Management Science, 55(10), 1605-1622.…

Abhishek, V., & Hosanagar, K. (2007, August). Keyword generation for search engine advertising using semantic similarity between terms. In Proceedings of the ninth international conference on Electronic commerce (pp. 89-94). ACM.…

Rutz, O. J., Bucklin, R. E., & Sonnier, G. P. (2012). A latent instrumental variables approach to modeling keyword conversion in paid search advertising. Journal of Marketing Research, 49(3), 306-319.…

7 Shockingly Effective Secrets to Keyword Research Success…

Pleae see chapter 3 links below:

3.0 Buyer persona development
3.1 The importance of understanding who the target audience is
3.2 Planning integration of search and social media
3.4 Social media channels for buyer persona
3.5 Develop keyword plan for a campaign
3.6 PPC keyword vs organic keyword plan
3.7 Develop social media editorial calendar