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Will Users Click Your Site Over Another? SEO and the Basics of Clicking Behavior

To a great extent, SEO companies have invested time and energy exploring the technical facets of website optimization through link building, key word optimization, technical writing, and so on. While these are at the heart of the matter, other areas for improvement have to be explored too. Notably, SEO people rarely spend time analyzing users’ clicking behavior, or the degree most users will be enticed to click your websites. While you may be very busy exploring the technical world of SEO, it is about time to look from the outside and balance the equation by digging into the perspectives of people whom we are optimizing our pages for.

Cyber psychologists have refined facts and research findings into practical principles that prove to be very relevant on how we optimize our pages. Take a glance at some of them:

Internet Self-Efficacy

Inciting Eastin and LaRose, internet self-efficacy refers to the belief in one’s capabilities to organize and execute courses of internet actions required to produce given attainments. There is a longing among individuals to be self-efficient, and this itch is satisfied whenever we are able to readily process information, simplify them, and make sense of them, all in a quick manner.

Therefore, users prefer easy information among a vast list of choices. People also tend to be hooked by hot staggering anecdotes and not really by cold numeric figures. Consequently, SEO people should avoid using complicated title tags, descriptions, page contents, and so forth and rather come up with simple reading that is easily understood, but not too simplistic though. Uncomplicated texts save the users’ mental energy by making comprehension a breeze. The resolve: Always be on-point and precise.

Primacy and Recency Effects

Primacy Effect refers to the tendency of the first items presented in a series to be retrieved easily or be more powerful than the items presented later in the series. On the other hand, recency effect is the principle that the items presented latest will more likely be retained best in memory. A research on clicking behavior found out that the first items in a list has the lowest search effort and is, therefore, the easiest to click. Meanwhile, the last items tend to be registered in the short-term memory, and are thus easier to recall or pick than the previous items. Some searchers even go straight to the last items without reading those in between. This may appear a no-brainer until we employ these principles to technical writing. Put the most lucrative information in the first and last parts of your content. Users tend to do shortcut reading, that is, reading a bit of intro, a quick scan of the body, but a significant attention to the conclusion. The resolve: Reserve the best for the first and the last.

Personal Utility Belief

It explains how an individual perceives something, such as an advertising, as informative, entertaining, and helpful for him or herself. Research shows that this principle directly affects clicking behavior. Personal utility, which drives clicking behavior, is then fueled by the combo of informative and entertaining texts. In SEO—whether keyword search, technical writing, link building, etc. — it is important to provide useful info plus entertaining content. Relevant info plus eye-catching images attract users like no other. The brand message will be retained in the memory when associated with an emotion. Since SEO is basically advertising, this principle proves pertinent. The resolve: Combine intellectual and emotional appeal through providing informative and entertaining content.

Concluding Thoughts

Things have to be viewed in different perspectives, lest our knowledge and practice be limited. Analysis of different angles educates us about new and appropriate strategies for better work results. Clicking behavior, while an unfamiliar territory for some SEO companies, has to be taken into account. Our basic understanding of it gives us ideas on how we could maneuver our websites accordingly—and above all, gain leverage.

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