Understanding your human audience is essential as we become more engrossed in a digital lifestyle. In recent years, SEO has taken a bit of a rap for not being search friendly and focused only on search engines. The recent algorithm updates, Hummingbird most specifically, have been geared at changing that, and are putting the focus back on the human element. After all, we might have smart phones, iPads and even Google glasses, but ultimately we’re all still humans, with feelings, triggers and emotions. If you want to make your digital smarter, these are some of the psychological techniques you should be aware of. Entrepreneur.com puts it simply:
This is a key point to remember in any marketing message: In order to influence someone, you need to know what already influences them. You find this out by getting clear on who your audience is.
But First A Bit Of Neuro Science
Research supports something we already know instinctively: we gravitate naturally to subjects or topics we are interested in. The science explains it like this:
The RAS is one of the structures in the brain responsible for orientation and attention. Most commonly, the RAS is associated with the concept of selective attention, which means that we naturally orient to information or ideas that we are invested in.
Interestingly, the brain has its own algorithms that control the way it works, so if you can get those to agree with the algorithms in search, your chances of success are that much greater.
Fortunately, the digitalization of our world has made metrics more readily available. Statistics for online user behavior and interests can become really specific, so it is possible to tap into what people really want, when they want it and how they would like to consume it.
Getting To Grips With The Human Element
To be able to conduct effective keyword research, you need to understand human behavior. Ultimately, there is a person inputting a phrase into a search engine – so understanding the reasons why certain keywords are used and others are not, will lead to an understanding of exactly what people are looking for.
Search terms that include “how to” indicate a person wants to educate him or herself. In this instance, the user is not likely to be a potential buyer. Search phrases incorporating the word “why” suggest the user is looking for information as opposed to buying products or services.
Remember that ultimately with search, people are looking to have their questions answered, not to browse the web.
The Perception Of Your Online Audience
Your view or opinion on your company or industry might be important, but even more important is the view of your audience. It is tempting to want to make your brand appear as great as possible, but in the online world and particularly on social media networks, that is tantamount to bragging.
Remember That There Are Advantages To Monopolizing Herd Mentality
People find safety and security in numbers. If something is popular a group is more likely to find it desirable. A recent Nielsen study discovered that around 92% of online users consider word of mouth recommendations credible. Social networks enable you to create content that is likely to go viral. When content is shown within a network and develops some interest, the word of mouth spin off is highly effective.
Sometimes you have to be direct when you want results and posting a meme, image or status may not be enough to develop interest. To encourage interaction you actually have to initiate conversations and invite people to participate.
Don’t Underestimate The Power Of Multi-Modal Learning
People are more likely to remember information and content when it is presented to them in different formats. To refer to the Cone of Learning developed by Edgar Dale, we only remember 10% of the material we read two weeks later. We retain about 20% of what we hear and 30% of what we see, two weeks later. However this becomes 50% of content remembered if it is seen and heard. We remember 70% of what we say but 90% of the information if we say and do it.
Getting The Narrative Right In Content
By narrative we refer more to structure than we do to content. People find comfort in structure so your content should be presented logically, follow a sequence easily and include emotional triggers to get the full attention of your audience. However, in terms of content, stories can make your message more personal and encourage higher levels of engagement.