Through studying click behavior from SEO we gain insight to the reason why people click instead of just focusing on fragmented (after the fact) results. By utilizing common sense, research or analytics we can refine the structure and theme of our content, images and designs to align them with known click-triggers and logical impulses to position our pages as “ideal conclusions” to trends and search engine queries from keywords in high demand.
With millions of consumers trolling the web daily to explore links, peruse headlines, find the best pricing/rates, skim intriguing snippets gleaned from RSS feeds and the like, the websites that manage to acquire and maintain our attention are employing well written headlines, sticky content and finely honed copy that reduces propositions to their most simplistic core function to make each visit a pleasant and frequent excursion.
These human factors are responsible for making the desire / fulfillment / conversion process seem natural and progressive as opposed to unnatural or rushed. Logically, the more relaxed you are, the longer you stay and engage their content which lends itself eventually to branding or conversion (which are equally valuable in the long-run).
To often we rely on castles made of sand to increase click through rates for our content using outdated marketing methods, tactics or ploys, when in fact all that is required is a simple understanding of basic intention and how the psychology of a click-through initially occurs.
Emotional triggers are the source of conversion, there is a person behind each computer monitor and mouse (aside from spiders, bots and scripts) which essentially perform three mental decisions when introduced to an ad, link or search result (1) Evaluate and Assess the Value (2) Act on the Proposed Impulse and Click it or (3) Ignore the Stimuli and Move Along.
You only have a brief moment of interaction to persuade a prospect and state your case, therefore your role during the creative and content development phase is to tailor your presentation using research or common sense to yield the greatest impact using those emotional triggers to tell a story, provide a visual aid to reinforce a concept, share information, entertain or solve a problem experienced by your target audience.
The result in appeasing this basic search behavior increases click through rates from search results, advertisements or links that are topically aligned with your triggers. How you may ask? the old idiom of (k.i.s.s) keeping it simple (well you know what) comes to mind. Therefore by systematically reducing the information foraging patterns of surfers to their primary instincts (the laws of attraction), you can create click-triggers for any type of content with a bit of foresight, research, continuity and follow through using images content and design.
Without going into case studies or supporting theories, deducing a click to what it really is (an endorsement to entertain) is far less complex. A click is merely an extension of our attention that is either (a) piqued by something as a result of curiosity or (b) directed and intent on fulfilling an impulse (such as embarking on a search using a query). Things either attract us in this way or are simply omitted from our attention as they fail to grab our emotional or intellectual requirements at that time.
By calling it as we see it (a simple conclusion of cause and effect / desire and fulfillment) it allows a creative individual or team to set the stage (the content) with a simple goal. Catch the attention or the reader, propose something distinct and see who engages the offer. If it fails to impress, then refine your offer and tweak the finite details to reach consistent (measurable) results.
The rules of engaging your audience dictate that your content should:
1) Offer something worth sharing (research trends and integrate value).
2) Don’t offer an excessive amount of information (time is limited for most) or combine too many options (as this only creates anxiety for the visitor which can result in them aborting engagement and searching for another more appealing website and offer respectively).
3) Make a brand statement or differentiate yourself to stand out from your competition or in the very least incorporate a strong call to action using images, words or links to additional resources.
The first point – offer something worth sharing! This starts from when you write the outline of topic of your page. it includes every image (which should reinforce your goal), the selection of the title and using a catchy headline or call to action in your meta descriptions to provide consistency in your snippet (that is displayed in returned search results).
If you offer lackluster content, well, you know the result, high bounce rates as users find nothing to keep them engaged. Remember the law of attraction and keeping it simple.
Use the right call to action. A call to action includes visual elements that encompass things such as the colors of your site, the font selection or if the fonts are configured proportionately to your images and not blurred from the wrong contrast, if the layout is streamlined with a visual flow that promotes the internal emotional “I like it” response from your target audience. Manage to align these key principles and your pages will enjoy visitors clicking about and exploring your pages for more valuable gems. Sometimes less is more and make it a point to have a point (otherwise break longer pages into more concise specialized articles, pages or posts).
The second point – Don’t offer an excessive amount of information. Keep it concise and focused and don’t expect the reader to catch everything or see all of your brilliance in one reading (most only skim for relevant content not read word for word).
Remember, it’s not about finding Waldo, there should be a clear call to action on every page in the theme of your content, the layout or the images. If not, then your pages will just become virtual turnstiles as window shoppers click in, browse about and springboard back into the web (possibly never to return again).
The third point – Leave them with something to distinguish your brand. We are not saying to create a tacky mascot, but the key here is to engage your audience, offer value and throw in a brand statement or two to build up the familiarity one feels when they see a golden arch or a green and white mermaid sipping coffee.
Each industry in unique, so think to yourself, if you were visiting a site such as yours looking for a product or service, what would it take for you to fill out a form, make a call or just be curious enough to want to know more.
Based on the keywords, search engine result pages have high exposure rates (just like billboards or an advertisement on TV) each title or snippet makes an impression, so leave them with your brand / your website name firmly intact, so as they skim a fleeting search result they recall the pleasant experience delivered the last time they frequented your pages.
For example, creating catchy titles as click triggers, great content when the visitor lands on your pages and a great design can seal the deal as a window shopper / visitor exploring the web finds a temporary oasis to take part in emotional or intellectual charged stimulation which is ultimately the reason why we surf.
Certainly anything can be extrapolated, theorized and expounded upon. But sometimes people just want to read a great post while enjoying their morning coffee, find a great article about a subject that intrigues them or take a break and watch a great video.
Understanding the premise behind the millions and millions of people sharing content online, your primary objective is (a) to be selective with your subject matter and (b) set the stage to entertain them when they arrive.
If you perform this task from the level of simplicity, it will be rewarded in kind with support from the target audience. This is why 20 million visitors a month traffic sites like Digg, because they have to no, because they like it. Your goal, to make a site that people like as well as a site that offers value that entertains the masses you wish to appease.
Business goes where it is most welcome, but people flock to pages and sites that are unique. Use the curiosity to your favor, but just make sure you deliver once you have their attention.