Persona-ify Your Web SIte

Posted On August 01st, 2014 by admin

The Internet is a jungle of text and graphics and your business must somehow survive and thrive in this brave new world.  Web Site visitors are the grazers in this new information landscape.  Get enough grazers to visit your patch of grass and before you know they are producing bread and butter for you.
Who are these grazers of information and why are they coming to your site and what are they looking for?  The concept of the Persona is yet another way to view and understand your information consumers and how to get them to produce more yield per acre of your information grass.  Every human has some type of personality.  One of the most common and well documented ways of assessing personality is the Myers Brigs Personality Inventory (MBPI).  The development of this tool goes back almost 100 years now so it has lots of research behind it.  The MBPI attempts to categorize and classify the predominant cognitive and emotional modes by which we think, feel and behave.  According to the assessment, there are four pairs of primary drivers each of which are polar opposite of one another:  Extroversion versus Introversion, Sensing vs Intuition, Thinking vs Feeling, and Judging vs Perceiving.
What does this mean for your website and/or SEO Program?  Lots.  In fact, creating a "user-centric" web experience that focuses the design of a web site on the needs, wants, and preferences of the person coming to your site relies on this concept.  The idea is that you will want to classify and categorize your visitors or searchers into groups according to their predominant modes of interacting and behaving in the world.  And then use that analysis as part of building your web site so that you create the optimum experience with the optimum results for your business or organization. 
According to the MBPI, there are 16 predominant Personas that can be identified as a part of the inventory and that each person has one that is predominant.  A person can have many different Persona Types but the primary, secondary and tertiary types are the ones we use most of the time.  For the purposes of Web Design and SEO, it is just the primary or predominant persona that needs to be considered.  The key for using personas is not to get caught up in the technical aspects of the MBPI or Personality Theory but use the concepts to improve and fine tune your visitor to conversion ratios.
One can see the use of Personas in relation to web design, but this tool is not yet used as a part of many SEO programs.  "Search behavior" is a term commonly used when discussing SEO but there is not much effort made to connect the two concepts together:  Internet search and the vast knowledge base of research regarding human behavior.   A visitor's search behavior can vary widely depending on their Persona.

For instance if someone is predominantly a "Feeler" versus a "Thinker" then the words, graphics and navigation paths you create for your search will be dramatically different.  In particular, Personas play a critical role during that "first impression" on the search page and then after the click on the search result and where it takes you on the web site.  What words you use and how they say it can be all the difference in either your organic or pay per click online advertising.
In the case of Feeler vs Thinker, it is easy to imagine that a page can be constructed for each type and then optimized accordingly with the Thinker getting the stats and facts while the Feeler gets a really good "feeling" about the search link and page they land on.  Creating that feeling could be a combination of inviting graphics, colors, and layout that makes them feel trust, warmth, and a sense of belonging.  This usually takes place within the 5 seconds you have to convince them to stay and take a closer look at what your site has to offer.  Once you catch their attention via search and the landing page then it becomes a matter of gearing your navigation to match their Persona so there is a greater likelihood of getting a conversion.  Stay tuned for more in upcoming newsletters on what Personas mean for your SEO Program.