I imagine we've all heard the news by now. Google has made yet another change, and this one is huge! Just as the world of online marketing has recovered from Panda, and is still in the process of digging out from the devastation of Penguin and Penguin the sequel Google has decided to level us all again. This time by announcing their plans to encrypt all keyword searches. (Hubspot) All! That means no more keyword data.
According to Google, the change is being made in an effort to better protect the privacy of its searchers. However, cynicism runs deeply in our business and theories ranging from blocking NSA spying activity (MarketingLand) to Google trying to ramp up business for AdWords abound.
Did things just get real? Oh you'd better believe it. This ladies and gentleman, is a game changer. The absence of keyword data means a 180 degrees change to the way many of us do our jobs. Google has pretty much just hit the reset button on SEO.
However, while there are many agencies and marketers likely to be completely devastated by this news, I argue that it may well pose a whole new opportunity for inbound marketers to really dig into what we already know to be a vital tool -the Buyer Persona.
Time To Get Personal
Without keywords to fuel our content, writers are going to have to go old school and really get to know the actual people to whom we write. This absolutely brings buyer personas to the forefront, because as a tool they give us that essential snap shot into our target markets. We no longer have their words in the form of search data, so now we're going to have to become them, in a sense.
A well-crafted buyer persona is going to provide you with an incredibly detailed blueprint of your target. With the Background Information, Priority Initiatives, Success Factors, Perceived Barriers and Decision Criteria we can begin forming a picture of the people most likely to consume our sales-nourishing content. Experienced inbound marketers are already doing this. However, Google's announcement (which I lovingly think of as Google Bombshell) will necessitate a deeper level in getting to know the targets, and that is learning how to speak/search like they do.
We are simply going to have to dig deeper. Of course it's not like this exercise hasn't been done before. In fact, Google is essentially taking us back to our roots as advertisers. Marketing has always been about understanding buyer personas. We try the consumer's dress and shoes on for a while, eat what they eat, think how they think and then speak to that information.
The onus is now on us to take the persona information and study it to the point where we can almost embody these people and intuitively know how they would search. It will actually result in writing to consumers in a far more intimate way.
This latest bombshell from Google is definitely going to leave its mark, but I am confident that inbound marketers will being able to rise above.