Search Marketing
How to Use Psychology For a Positive ROI in SEO Efforts

How to Use Psychology For a Positive ROI in SEO Efforts

October 25, 2018
8 min read

Do you ever find yourself overthinking something? Or, how about this… You come up with this idea and realize it is a great idea! Then, you either talk yourself out of it (yes, because of overthinking) or a friend tells you that it will never work.

Then, the next day, you get an email with someone launching your very same idea! And, you hear through the grapevine that they made a killing on it! That could have been you!

True. It is difficult to know which idea will work and which one will not work. But, not getting off your butt and trying something is guaranteed to get you … nowhere.

So, where do you start? Let’s start with a discussion about psychology.

Why Are We Talking About Psychology?

I know. We are discussing search engine optimization (SEO). So, why are we bringing up psychology?

What could psychology possibly have to do with SEO?! You may be thinking, “I have so much on my plate already and this is just not worth my time.”

Ok, wait. It may actually cause you to save time. Are you ready? I know, you were ready three paragraphs ago.

It may be that understanding some basic psychology, or more importantly, some basics about yourself (even beyond the basics of human nature) may help you to release yourself from whatever is holding you back in SEO success.

What does that mean? It means a higher return-on-investment (ROI) when performing your SEO tactics and strategies.

Oh, so you are not having troubles in that area? Well, how about this. Could you use some help? How about a higher ROI? Then, listen up and let’s see where we can improve your understanding of yourself and improve the success output and results.

What We Desire and What We Fear

As humans, what do we desire and what do we fear? See, you are not alone in this, but are a part of a larger group!

• We desire to get it done.
• We often have goals that include success.
• We have a fear of knowing where to start.
• We often fear failure.

For those of you who are in the mood for a more in-depth (and yet basic) discussion on basic human fears and desires, here is an article (no affiliation, just found it in my psychology studies) to get you going. A Google Search may be helpful in delving into an even deeper level on the topic of psychology.

Key Strategies to Understanding Self

In the meantime, let’s really dig into the important stuff (since I know you all want to get back to your SEO work).

If any of these hit home, why not pull out a sticky note and mark it down. If you are not too OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder), that may give you an opportunity to put the sticky note on your computer monitor as a reminder. Hey, it is surprising how helpful that tactic can be and it has actually resulted in increased income for some of us!

Understanding 1: Lack of Confidence Inspires Growth

In the process of inspiring growth, that growth in your business and resulting successes impact your competitors. You may even pass up those very same competitors on that ladder of success.

But, before that growth can occur, it requires that first step on the ladder.

That’s a fact.

So, why is it that we base that progress on the growth ladder to the lack of confidence? Quite honestly because we have to start somewhere and often times, it is that place of need that inspires us to move forward. More on that in the next couple of sections.

When we come to a situation with an overly confident position that we know everything, we don’t allow for any room in our cup for additional information. We may be right that we do know everything, but if that is the case, we may be the last one in the line of success while everyone else tramples us headed for that ladder of success.

We don’t want to be in that position, do we?

So, that means that we need to realize that there is room to grow before we actually grow. It is helpful if, at the same time, we have a positive attitude and realize that we indeed CAN grow.

So, while a lack of confidence may inspire growth, we have to be able to move past that lack of confidence to a realization that we can grow in our SEO knowledge, improve on our SEO knowledge, and become confident in that knowledge and growth.

Don’t get too full of yourself or cocky. Always leave room for growth. It is sort of like ensuring that you leave some space in that cup so that you can fill it up some more. But, at the same time, move past that lack of confidence and into a calm self-awareness of success.

Can you do that? Yes, I know that you can! So, let’s confidently and calmly move on to our second point.

Understanding 2: Fear of Failure Provides the “Get Up and Go”

The “Get Up and Go” is often the component that is needed and separates those who succeed from those who fail.

Sidebar: Have you noticed? All of these “Understandings” are somewhat similar to each other. Why is that? It is because it is very likely that one will hit you with that Eureka moment more so than another. If this happens to you, by all means, use that Sticky Note and write it down for future reference!

Ok, so back to our Understanding #2…

Have you ever been motivated by fear? Not all fear is necessarily bad.

Ok, I’m not promoting that we all go out and watch horror movies (unless you really like horror movies and that is what you want to do).

But, a little fear may be the difference between laying in bed on a Netflix binge-watching session (not that those are bad) and getting up and earning some money, as in getting those SEO tasks done!

Let’s say you get an electric bill shutoff notice in the mail and you realize that the date is tomorrow. Let’s say you also get a call from a client who says that they will pay you $500 if you perform certain SEO tasks on their website in the next 24 hours. Let’s say that that offer is not available if you do not act on it by tomorrow morning (actually within the next few hours, yet tonight).

When you roll out of bed tomorrow morning, what will you be doing? Will you be doing the binge-watching thing? Or, will you be doing the SEO thing?

Let’s add something else to the mix.

Let’s say that you make a modest $120,000 per year and you have been working at your “day job” for an average of 70 hours per week. Let’s say that tomorrow is your first day off in six years.

Now how do we answer the question? Well, there is a higher likelihood that you may consider the binge-watching option. Why? You don’t necessarily need the $500. When you receive the shut-off notice, you will pull out your wallet and take care of the bill right away because money is not that much of a big deal.

There is no FEAR. Your money issues may not be issues at all. Possibly, money is no object (and possibly sleep and rest are!).

However, if you are broke, looking at electricity being shut off, and you only have a few hours to accept an SEO gig that pays $500, then there is a bit of FEAR and you are more likely to get up and accept the gig and get some of that SEO stuff done. Do you see it?

Understanding 3: Lack of Knowledge is the Place to Start

Have you ever played a board game?

Ok, I’ll even count the online version, the iPad version, or any other digital version, in addition to the cardboard version.

And, let’s throw other games in there, like chess or checkers.

What do they all have in common?

They have a place where (or how) you start the game. It obviously differs from game to game and maybe there are some games out there that are random, but even in the randomness, there is some sort of protocol to how the game is started.

In the same way, we need a place to start in positive psychology.

We need a place to start in thinking positively about our progress forward and ourselves.

We need a place to start in gaining in our ROI when it comes to whatever business we are in, whether it is SEO or something else.

So, what is that place? A lack of knowledge is a good place to start.

Let’s translate that into something that may be more digestible.

How about starting where you have the questions? And, let’s consider that there is no such thing as a dumb question.

To some extent, the SEO newbies have it the easiest. They can ask any question and they are at the starting point of their SEO knowledge gain.

But, even for those who are more experienced, there is always something we can learn, right? So, how about making your own list of questions based on areas of SEO that you may want to learn or know more. Where would YOU start?

Understanding 4: Recording the Results of Success

Recording the results (a.k.a. output) of the journey includes the successful results, but also the not-so-successful results. That is the only way that you can track what is working and what is not working.

This can take many shapes and forms.

It may be that you pull out a spiral-bound notebook and just note the tasks that you completed today. That is ok. You are recording the results.

Maybe you want to record it in a calendar, even Google calendar. Or, maybe you have a time clock program and you want to note what you did each day.

What do you record? You might want to start with the tasks that you completed. So, if you have multiple sites (including client sites) and you are performing SEO tasks, record what tasks you are completing on what sites each day. Then, as time moves on, your process can become more sophisticated, including our next “understanding.”

Maybe, as a part of your list of activities, you want to take an advanced step and include audits. This is more of the type of thing that I would include in our next section, under interpretation, but maybe visiting the following sites will help inspire you on how you want to proceed with your recording site:

Just remember that you are not required to be perfect when you start. Just start somewhere.

Understanding 5: Interpreting the Measurement of Success

What is the difference between step four and step five in this article?

One is the process of beginning the logging process or journaling our activities (step four). The other (this one; step five) is about interpreting the results of our actions.

This step, of interpreting, is more complex than just recording the actions, but it is where we can see what is working at what is not working.

In some ways, this is our analysis step.

So, in step four, we are recording that we took such-and-such SEO step/task. In step five, we are looking at, say, Google Analytics, and picking out one area and evaluating if the results have changed.

Have we acquired more visitors to our site? Has this change occurred as a result (i.e. timing) of a particular task that we performed (based on our recording of activities)?

Maybe, we want to log our activities in a spreadsheet and then interpret them or note differences that we observe, in another column on that same spreadsheet.

There are different methodologies and ways of approaching this. The main point here is that we do something.

A couple of favorite sites, that dig a little deeper into the analysis (and possibly deeper than we are suggesting in this step) are:

  • Moz
  • BuzzSumo

Again, you do not have to be the most perfect analyst who has ever existed. You simply need to start somewhere. So, if that means you wrote one sentence in your spiral-bound notebook for step number four and you made one observation for your step number five, then pat yourself on the back. You have started!

In Summary

Remember we talked about nothing? I mean, in the sense that nothing is guaranteed to get you nowhere.

Ok, the converse of that is that something has a better chance of getting you somewhere (as compared to nothing).

So, what is your next step? Get out there and do something! It may not be the three-mile success step, but even a baby step is more than no steps at all, so there you have it! Don’t forget to pat yourself on the back, on that way up your success ladder!

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Michael Brenner

Michael Brenner  is a Top CMO, Content Marketing and Digital Marketing Influencer, an international keynote speaker, author of "Mean People Suck" and "The Content Formula" and he is the CEO and Founder of Marketing Insider Group, a leading Content Marketing Agency . He has worked in leadership positions in sales and marketing for global brands like SAP and Nielsen, as well as for thriving startups. Today, Michael helps build successful content marketing programs for leading brands and startups alike. Subscribe here for regular updates.

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