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In the world of search marketing, we are always trying to work out what exactly makes people tick in a variety of different situations—including online browsing, using social media networks, and most importantly for many marketers — the process of purchasing products or services. It is important to take into account the audience we are trying to engage with by figuring out exactly what motivates them and interests them. Without this knowledge, we are always going to be second-guessing.
With content marketing now the driving force behind the majority of search marketing strategies, it is important to create content that makes a difference. The basics involve creating content that is of interest to the person who sees it, in the hopes that they will share it and at best link to it. However, the psychology behind it can be broken down even further.
Next time you sit down to develop your SEO strategy consider the following:
Keyword research is key in understanding what drives human behavior. By effectively exploring exactly why people use different keywords, we can understand what it is they are looking for. If a popular keyword starts with the words “How to”, then you know the person searching wants to understand how they can do something themselves. If a popular search begins with “Why does”, then the likelihood is that the person searching is looking for an answer rather than a guide. By understanding what exactly it is that your audience is looking for, you can create content targeted to their needs. According to The Psychology of Search, by BG Theory, “People don’t go to a search engine to browse the web. They go there because they have a question to be answered”
How you view an industry or company is one thing, but the way your target audience perceives it is much more important. Creating content that just goes on about how good your company is at what it does may look impressive to you, but it’s nothing new and every business is going to talk themselves up. Focus on what your business and product can actually do to help consumers and go one step further by demonstrating it. Create a video or guide to show what you do and why it is beneficial to the person looking at it. If you were selling smart phones, you wouldn’t just write a block of text saying that the model in question was a good smart phone, you would provide all the specifications and pictures and maybe even a video demonstrating all its different features and benefits. Video is a richer form of data than other types of media, and a study from Animoto found that videos play a more pivotal role in the decision-making stage of the consumer experience.
Use Social Proof
This term refers to the herd mentality of people. You will find great examples of social proof in your day-to-day life, whether you are in the supermarket observing a group of people huddled round a floor display grabbing for the same box of chocolates, or watching a group of people crowd around an individual who has bodyguards with them. You may not know what the chocolate is, or who the seemingly famous person is, but if those people are interested, then so are you. This situation works online too, on social networks and with blog content. A study from Nielsen found that 92 percent of people trust word of mouth recommendations from friends and family. By promoting your campaign, a network will then spread your content like wildfire throughout a community. When people take part in quizzes and post the results, their friends and family have an instant desire to find out what their results would be in comparison, and the content spreads quickly.
You hear it everywhere, “content is king but engagement is queen, and she rules the house!”. This is true; content is very important, but just receiving clicks won’t get you very far with your audience. Understanding exactly what your consumers want and engaging with them is crucial. Next time you create a piece of content that helps people with a question or problem, talk them through it, share it with other people who may have a similar problem and demonstrate that you are a thought-leader in the area to build up a level of trust and engagement, 80% of users prefer to connect with brands on Facebook, so utilise your social media channels.
Think About the End Goal
You create content as part of your content marketing strategy, which helps your overall search marketing approach. This means your end goal is to attract natural links and sell. If your content is not doing either of those things, then it is not winning over your audience. Popular content will drive traffic to your site, which could potentially convert to a sale — so never underestimate the SEO value of good content. Next time you sit down to go through your search strategy, consider all the options above and make sure you are using psychology when planning the direction of your next campaign. It’s not about choosing between your audience and Google, it is about finding a middle ground so you can work with both.
Featured Image Credit: author’s work, MySocialAgency