Why You Need This Approach
Using psychology in marketing is nothing new, so it seems strange that it is only recently being adopted by areas dubbed as ‘technical’. That includes website design and, yes, SEO optimisation.
People have been using cunning little tricks in advertising for years and, more importantly, we know it works. There are countless studies on buying habits and choice-making; there is a whole field of study known as Behavioural Economics. Yet, until now, people have seen the internet as largely logical and functional.
When you stop to think about it, that assumption that form will affect use is crazy. People are people whatever they are doing; they don’t transform from human to robot when they pick up their phones.
Everyone who goes online is affected by their thoughts and feelings at that moment, as well as their background, history, general habits. Searching and choice making are very similar online compared to in the flesh.
So, how can we use this to our advantage? How can we not only boost our site higher up the Google list, but also tempt searchers to click, read on, and either read more or convert into sales? For the answer, simply read on as we look into some of the best ways to use simple psychological techniques to get a better SEO.
1. Understand How Google Works
I know technically there are other search engines but, let’s face it, nobody uses them. So, you need to know what you’re doing with the biggest beast out there: Google.
Google no longer racks search results by how relevant or accurate it thinks it is, in other words, by keywords. Instead, Google employs an intelligent system to change the order of search results depending on popularity. For example, if someone clicks on the seventh option, it will move higher up the stack, so it is more accessible. If this happens enough, the first few entries will change.
As such, it’s not enough to stuff your content full of keywords, relevant or not. You are now at the mercy of human choice. So, how can you use this to your advantage?
By looking at searches produced by the keywords your website is related to, you can see the kind of content your readers or customers prefer. Analyse them; how are they titled? How are they designed? What can you see from the search page and how might that be drawing people to them? What style are they?
If you can see a clear preference, then this should guide you to tailor your content to what people really want, not what you think they want. Look at popular formats, not just equivalent websites. For example, if the first few results are video links, could you include a video, or make one that could link to your main site?
Looking at what people are choosing will help you understand what they want from their query. For example, a query for ‘pot pie’ is more likely to be searching for a simple recipe than an infographic about dietary information or a review of the best pot pies.
When you know what people want, you can include it as a draw. You can always direct them to your preferred content later.
For that matter, also think carefully about what your keywords might mean in different contexts, to different people. For example, ‘pot pie’, might mean a delicious chicken dinner to some, but to others it might mean a delicious cannabis-fuelled evening.
That is an extreme example, but the point stands. Words have multiple meanings, not only in different contexts but to different people.
To find out what your keywords and title truly mean, you can search for them and analyse the top results. Alternatively, use Google’s query predict tool to see what associations they might have.
The predict tool is also great for thinking about what your readers might be querying and how they are thinking, so you can tailor your content to answer their exact questions or prioritise key facts.
“One way to make your site have a higher SEO for specific queries is to use keyword tails. These can also be useful for targeting specific groups once you understand the thinking that draws people to your site” says Brian Ray, a marketer at Boomessays and Paper Fellows.
2. Use The Searcher’s Brain
Did you know that choices are processed in part by the amygdala? That’s the emotive part of the brain. That’s because choice-making is inherently coupled to our survival instinct. Little surprise, then, that feelings play a big part in every decision we make, whether mundane or life changing.
That means that everyone who views your web presence is thinking, not coldly and logically, but with their big old Homo Sapiens hearts. Of course mind plays a part, and I don’t want to suggest that everyone is illogical, but that weighing of pros and cons, sensible thought, and considering personal parameters is always tempered by how and what we are feeling at the time.
That means it’s not enough to create content that people should want. You have to appeal to them on an emotional level. We already know that; it’s why clickbait exists. Yet, for some reason, people have been slow to use it for SEO.
Simply put, you can escalate up the results stack like a high speed elevator if you target your title, subtitle, opening content, keywords, or anything else visible on the search page AND the first part of your content, to make people feel something.
Interestingly, it doesn’t even need to be a good feeling to entice people. As long as you inspire a strong response of fear, anger, envy, excitement, or joy, you have grabbed their interest. That should lead to a click on your site, and so a leg-up the search stack. Once they are on your website, continue to hook their feelings to drive them to the content you want them to see.
3. Show Them They Belong
If you want people to visit your website, you need to know exactly who those people are. There is no universal abstract human, no matter what internet design traditions tell you. People don’t act fully logically, and they are not homogenous.
In fact, psychologically, people can be put off by content that seems too broad. What people want is not a generic result, but the right result for them. They want to feel that, out of all the millions of hits, they have found the perfect one for their purpose. More than that, they want to feel that they are being spoken to, on a personal level.
How can you do that when there are so many different kinds of people out there?
Easy: you specialise. Look at it this way, you don’t want to attract everyone in the world. You want to bring in people who are interested. You want loyal followers or paying customers.
All you really need to do is decide who your audience is, then break them down into groups, or personas that represent groups.
Now comes the hard work but, trust me, if you do this, it will pay off. You need to create content specifically for each persona. That means producing substantially more content than usual, but it also means that you will draw people who are a good fit; not just casual glances and bouncing viewers, but readers who connect, follow, subscribe, and buy.
In this way, you tap into the part of the survival instinct that longs for safety and acceptance. If you give them a home, they will be yours.
What does that mean for your content? It means using the language that persona would use. It means highlighting features that persona would like most. It means echoing their feelings about important things. It means choosing different styles, layouts, colours to reflect the different groups.
Colour theory has been a mainstay of marketing for years and is backed by psychological experiments that show innate emotional reactions to certain colours and how to combine colours to direct people. What is relatively recent is the realisation that age and exposure to pop culture, brands, and other heavily styled aspects of life also has an effect. Once again, one size doesn’t fit all and there is no universal. You need to know your groups and make it for them.
4. The Power Of Peers
The overwhelming majority of people are more likely to trust their fellow man than any authority figure. They choose to listen to people over officials; peers over corporations. In other words, most readers have a built-in detector for ads and sales pitches, which makes them naturally suspicious.
The good news is that there is a super easy way around that: peer pressure. If people prefer to listen to others like them instead of authorities, then give them just that. In fact, psychological experiments show that even gentle persuasion by peers can overcome any initial resistance or bias.
Practically, that means putting positive reviews, comments and testimonials front and centre in your content. It also means adding like buttons and similar things to your pages.
“With the trust in peers comes the part of the survival instinct that longs for community. Having an active community and a dialogue with that community will revolutionise your website and crowd-surf you right to the top of the results stack” explains Lawrence Scott, a SEO manager at Assignment Service and Eliteassignmenthelp.
Make your content shareable. Have a Facebook page and accounts on Instagram and Pinterest. Have a share button on your page. Get on Twitter and speak to your readers. If you can start an actual conversation, even better.
Make subscribing to updates quick and easy. No lengthy forms, and not too many details taken. Hook them in quickly with no-fuss or demands back now and give yourself time to guide them to more commitment later.
Make sure you update and add to your content regularly. It shouldn’t need to be said but t is amazing how many incredible brands let themselves get stale and still expect to be riding the top of the first page of hits.
5. Fix Their Lives For Them At Low Cost
This ties together the work with your personas and the concept of inviting people in with open doors and total ease. The latter is definitely not just for subscriptions or email lists; it’s for your content too.
Psychologically, people are always asking themselves what they can get from a website. That doesn’t just mean goods or services; it means they are generally asking “how is this action of reading this or engaging with this benefitting me?”.
What they are looking for is a clear answer to this question, without having to think about it.
You can manufacture this in your content by having a clear idea of who your personas are. When you know this, then all you have to do is find their ‘pain point’; what problems they are currently facing. You can guess some of this from the type of queries that may lead to your site (see point 1), and the rest is gleaned by thorough consideration of the people you are trying to attract.
When you know the problem, all you have to do is make yourself the solution. Show them, in fact, that you are not only one possible solution but the best and lowest cost solution. You are going to solve their life in the best way.
What do I mean by lowest cost? I’m not necessarily talking about money, though offering the cheapest product obviously helps. There are, however, other, more immediately important values; their time and their effort. People are busy and stressed. Your content needs to be clear, easily signposted and obviously relevant. If you can make them feel calmer, less stressed, or happier at the same time (see point 3), then even better. In other words, make it easy for them to let you solve their problems.
Even if you have multiple highlights or solutions, you need to tailor your pages for each group so the most relevant to them is the first they get to. Once they know you’re offering what they need, they are more likely to read on and engage instead of bouncing out and searching elsewhere. Tailored titles that directly address problems also help.
Bringing It All Together
In conclusion, know who you want, and try to get those people, not everyone. Be clear and focussed. Make sure your style is instantly engaging and your layout intuitive. Use your readers to spread the word. Be the best website for those groups and your SEO will naturally improve. Use Google for you, instead of stuffing keywords as if it was the opposition in a mad game. Be smart and be human.
About the guest author
Bea Potter is a highly regarded writer and editor at Essay Writing Service and EssayRoo. She specializes in topics related to social media and HR and has proven of immense help to hundreds of different readers. Also, Bea teaches at Custom Paper Writing Service.