Marketing November 22, 2016 Last updated November 29th, 2016 1,791 Reads share

9 Shockingly Powerful Psychology-Driven SEO Tactics

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For any search engine optimization strategy to be effective, you must not only know the how, but the why. You can know all there is to know about content, keywords, and optimization, and still develop a lackluster strategy – because it goes far beyond your website architecture and code. It’s the understanding of why people search the way they do, or the psychology behind search and internet uses that makes the difference between a basic SEO strategy (and marketing strategy in general) and an absolutely stellar, psychology-driven SEO strategy.

Does that mean you need to get a psych degree so you can start dissecting everything? If you want to, sure – but it’s never a requirement. You can get what you need with market research.

#1. Know Your Customers

If you don’t know who your customers are, then getting to the why of their action is impossible. Without knowing what it is that motivates your customers to act, any marketing technique you use will surely fail. As a business owner you must understand the people who need or who will benefit from using your products and services. If you haven’t already done so, create detailed customer personas for the different types of people who are most likely to use whatever it is you’re offering.

Take the time to speak extensively with any existing customers. Find out what attracted them to your company and what their pain points are. Look to market research to find other types of people who may be viable prospects.

Think about:

  • Basic demographics: Gender, age, income, location, language, education level, race/ethnicity
  • Expanded demographics: Marital status, career/job title, family status – kids vs. no kids, adult children vs. young children, grandchildren vs. empty nesters.
  • Hobbies and interests
  • Worries and fears
  • Morals and values
  • The context of how your product or service fits into the customer’s life.

The more data you have, the easier it will be to see patterns and similarities in backgrounds and motivations with your customers. Sort those different types of customers into different personas.

Though it may seem silly to invest a lot of time into building and customer persona for each of your main types of customers, it’s a good idea to craft a full-fledged personality that represents that particular segment of your customer base. Give the person a back story that matches the Target demographic of your audience, and even consider using a stock photo to give the person a face. Craft all of your website content and marketing materials as if you were speaking directly to that person or a group of people that represents your target market. You’re more than likely see higher conversion rate simply because your visitors are better able to relate to you.

Once you have a fully developed persona for each type of customer, you can more clearly visualize what your ideal customer looks like. It is with this understanding that you will be able to adjust your content and SEO toward guiding them through the sales funnel to conversion.

#2. User Intent & Long Tail Keywords

So, now that you know who your customers are, do you know what they’re aiming to do? User intent usually falls into one of four phases: awareness, research, decision, or purchase. The search queries they use will reflect one of those intentions.

If you took the time to develop a detailed persona, you will be able to find the intent of your customers there. Though each one of your personas may have a different intent, it is important to produce the specific types of content for specific personas, so that all of your prospects can find the information they need.

Long-tail keywords are a great way to get insight into intent. And when you have something that matches that intent, you can work those long-tail keywords into your website content as needed. You should be able to find long-tail keywords for each of the four phases of customer intent, using them where needed to increase the chance you’ll rank.

#3. User Perception

Your company has a unique perspective and is different from the competition. It’s important for you to explain this to your customers and no way that convinces them to choose you instead of your competitor. However, user perception plays a major role in whether or not they will actually make that choice.

Basically, it’s all about how you relay that information on your page. No user is going to want to read a page solely dedicated to how great your company service or product is and it more than likely won’t leave those customers to convert which is the ultimate goal of your website in the first place.

To address this, instead of tooting your own horn, you should develop an SEO strategy around demonstrating the worth and value of the products and services you offer. Catch their attention by engaging them with photos and videos that demonstrate your product rather than a text heavy page that talks at them about whatever you’re offering.

If all you do is talk about yourself then your users are more than likely going to perceive you as arrogant, coffee, and self-centered. You’ve done nothing to convince them you care about who they are as a potential customer, so they have no motivation to give you a chance.

#4. Starting with Why

The reality is people don’t care about whatever it is you do – but they do care about why you do what you do. Take some time to really think about the things that motivate you to work hard and be good in your industry. The things that motivate you are likely to resonate with at least a portion of your market. If you can authentically tell them about why you do what you do, chances are they’ll love you for it.

#5. The Power of Persuasion in Link Building

Being persuasive means you convince another person to do what you want to do. In link building, this translates to convincing another website it’s in their own best interest to link to you.

This means taking the time to adjust your pitch so that it is about you rather than your client, your page, your brands, or whatever it is you’re trying to get them to link to.

No one likes to be sold to, so taking the time to explain why they need something. In your page, explain why they need to link to whatever page if you’re asking them to link to. Show them the benefit clearly, succinctly, and honestly. Ramble on too much, and you’re wasting their time, and you won’t get much of a response.

You can also use the power of persuasion to reach more of your potential customers and convert them. It all lies with educating them about the benefits of your offerings and showing them exactly how your products or services solve their pain points. You can persuade them with good deals on pricing, discounts, freebies, and more.

#6. The Reciprocity Principle in Link Building

The reciprocity principle, or getting something of equal or greater value in return for your efforts, is critical in both link building and end building relationships with your customers. It doesn’t always have to be a link for a link but if you are reaching out to another website or an influencer and asking them to link to something on your website, you need to provide something of value in return.

In terms of your visitors, you can give them something of value, like access to premium content, or a free eBook for joining your email list. They will give back to you either by engaging with you or making a purchase from you – if not both. It’s also possible to earn engagement from your leads by genuinely sharing their content. Take the time to add your own comment then they will want to respond in a similar manner.

9 Shockingly Powerful Psychology-Driven SEO Tactics

#7. The Optimal Distinctiveness Theory in Link Building

In social psychology, the Optimal Distinctiveness Theory states that people are constantly working to achieve a balance of both integration and uniqueness within their social groups and situations. When someone feels similar to others, they look for a way to be different. But on the other hand, when that person feels different, they look for ways to try to be more similar. The theory suggests that people are constantly adjusting things to maintain some form of equilibrium between the need to be different and the need to be similar.

This theory is great for marketers to consider when crafting outreach campaigns. When you’re building the campaign, think about how you can build it around those opposing motivators in a unique manner. Appeal to the desire to be different with a new angle or an exclusive – but appeal to the desire to fit in by making it seem as though the person will be like the others who are featuring your content – so they can be part of the trend.

#8. Choice Architecture

We know having a call to action is important for online marketing and SEO. But, what most marketers don’t realize is that we can actually push people to make a choice – and make them choose the one we want.

If we offer two options in a call to action, we are more likely to make someone use a secondary choice because of strong choice architecture. Choice architecture refers to the way our decisions are influenced simply by the way the choices are presented. If we present our site visitors with two options, one of which is easier than the first, then we are more likely to create a second action instead of just having someone leave the website.

A perfect example of this is a non-profit scenario. The nonprofit can ask users for a donation or a link. This way, if people can’t afford to give a donation, they can share the link with their friends and family, who may be able to. Sharing the link doesn’t have a monetary cost and only takes a few minutes. But, without offering the either-or scenario, the user who is only able to make a donation is likely to just leave the website after seeing that call to action.

#9. Appealing to the Ego in Content

Whether we like to admit it or not, we all have an ego. And again, whether we like to admit it or not, most of us would like to have our ego stroked from time to time. Egobait is a great way to get the attention of thought leaders in your niche. You can easily do this by creating a top 10 list or a best of post around something related to your market. You can create a badge or award, or mention influencers in your blog posts, linking to their websites. The thought leaders mentioned in the article will likely share it with their audiences, giving you exposure, and hopefully, backlinks to your website to help improve your SEO.

Developing a Psychology-Driven SEO Strategy

To craft a psychology-driven SEO strategy, make it less about technology and more about human behavior. Make it less about you, and more about your clients. Focus less on the clicks and more about sales. SEO strategy takes time to develop, and the work is never done. There will always be better rankings to go after and conversion rates to improve. But starting with why people behave they do, and what they’re looking to get from you is the key to success.

Do you use a psychology-driven SEO strategy? If so, how do you think it has helped your business compared to a standard strategy? If not, will you consider it? Share your thoughts with me in the comments below.

Image: Psychology Emotional Mental Health Mind Therapy Concept Hand Holding SEO or Search Engine Optimization Balloon with sky blurred background

Eric Sachs

Eric Sachs

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