By Syed Balkhi, founder of WPBeginner, the largest free WordPress resource site that helps small businesses start their websites.
There’s a strong link between psychology and search engine optimization (SEO). Search engines focus on bringing the best results (i.e., the best content for a query made by a searcher). To do this, they consider whether a website has relevant content, whether it’s from a trustworthy and authoritative source and whether users find it easy to consume the site’s content.
For a business to stay on top of these factors, it has to use psychological principles differently. In this article, I’d like to share precisely how thinking about the psychology behind the choices you make and the reactions people have can help you improve your SEO.
Let’s take a look.
Understand decision fatigue.
It’s helpful to understand that people have limited mental resources or willpower to make decisions throughout the day. Even the act of searching, opening web pages and scrolling for answers can quickly drain a person’s patience.
Keep this in mind, and do the following.
1. Create short scannable content.
Add headlines to your blog posts and break paragraphs into ones with no more than three to four sentences. Keep your language simple and help people understand quickly what your post is about. When you do this, people get what they need fast and are less likely to feel frustrated.
2. Use UX/UI principles.
It is critical to be aware of user experience and user interface principles to build a user-friendly site. And if you can work with a UX/UI expert, it’s even better.
With the proper knowledge, you’ll create intuitive navigation and disclose only as much information as your user needs (the principle of progressive disclosure). This creates less strain on your users’ mental resources and makes for a better site design.
3. Enable faster loading time.
When a person lands on your website, they expect it to load fully in seconds. If it takes longer than three seconds, they’ll likely leave your website.
Optimizing your website by compressing images and enabling caching will help your website load faster. It will also make your visitors happier and create a positive SEO signal.
4. Offer limited choices.
While we intuitively think that more choices are better, the reality is that when people have to choose between more options, they get overwhelmed with information and delay choosing something altogether.
Make sure you have just a few packages or offers on your pricing pages. Having just three or four tiers of product choices will convert more users and make for a better experience.
5. Build trust.
People fear losing their money, wasting their time and experiencing some other kind of negative experience by working with an untrustworthy business. An essential step for any business is to highlight their expertise and authority in their field of work. This builds trust in your audience and impacts SEO too. Here are a few ways to build trust:
• Add trust badges to your website. These badges can be third-party endorsements from payment gateways and accreditation agencies. You can also add HTML for “100% Money-Back Guarantee,” “Free Shipping” and similar badges.
• Ask your customers to endorse your website and leave you testimonials that you can add to your home page.
• Try to build quality backlinks by reaching out to websites with high domain authority. Getting a link to your content creates a good signal for search engines. People who use such links to follow you are also likely to trust you faster.
6. Leverage reciprocity.
Most people instinctually try to help others who help them. At the very least, we feel positively toward helpful and generous people. Marketers and psychologists know this as leveraging the principle of reciprocity to achieve essential goals. You can get people to stay on your website longer and help your SEO ranking by giving your audience something free.
Create a lead magnet where people can get a free ebook, checklist or another digital download by signing up with you. Or set up a giveaway and ask people to sign up to participate. You’ll build your email list, get people to remember your brand and return to your website.
Search engines are all about providing the right results to people in the easiest way possible. And you can figure out what’s relevant and accessible when you know your audience and understand what frustrates them.
Leveraging psychological principles can help you make better content, improve your website design and keep people engaged. And you can learn more about this by reading books like Influence by Robert Cialdini and using UX and UI to build your website and products.
Search engines will notice and reward your content with greater visibility as you make high-quality content.