What Freud can teach us about SEO – Part 1

What Freud Can Teach Us About SEO

You must be wondering, how would someone who invented psychoanalysis help me with SEO? Well, why not? In today’s world, we have an attention span of a goldfish and a hunger for knowledge of a supercomputer. With the advancement of machine learning algorithms and artificial intelligence, it’s quite impressive how personalized our web searches have become. And to add to it, we have voice search rising with the growing popularity of personal assistants like Amazon’s Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple’s Siri. All this makes one wonder, how do you tap into the mind of a user and get them to spend some time on your website?

In this series, I try and decode three of Freud’s principles – Id, Ego, and Superego – and connect it with building your SEO strategy.


While a lot of people will disagree, I prefer the first step of my SEO strategy to involve a process to map out my target audience and their persona. And here comes the first of the three principles – Id. We, humans, are selfish. We read or search for anything on the internet because we have a desire to know about it. This desire can range from an urge to gain knowledge or watch a kitten video on YouTube or Vimeo. But where does this desire come from? It’s located deep inside our subconscious mind.

So, where am I going with this gibberish? For starters, if you know who your target audience is, you can consistently create unique content to cater to this desire. I am a digital marketer by profession. My professional life so far has been mostly spent on manipulating people and algorithms to help businesses get more return on their investment. While modern search engines do a great job with their state of the art machine learning algorithms to show relevant information to the users, as a content creator it’s still me deciding who should see my content. And that’s where it’s important to know about my target audience.

What about keyword research?

True. Keyword research still remains the holy grail of any SEO strategy. But how will a 200 keywords list help you if your target audience is not defined? Imagine keywords for your SEO strategy to be something similar to a dictionary to write lyrics – not every word will actually make up songs which people will want to hear. Defining a target audience will only make it easier for you to write your next Grammy award-winning song.

Okay. So how do I do this?

It’s as easy as 1-2-3! And I’ll break it down for you:

Select a topic to write on.
While this is a no-brainer, the reason why this takes up the top spot is because your topic will determine who you want to target. I, for example, love the world of data and analytics, and I prefer to marry it with SEO quite often. And that defines my niche. I’ll probably end up writing some sensible content around these topics.

What are people talking about in that niche?
More likely than not, whatever you thought about to write on will end up in the garbage, as someone has already written about it. Unless you want to be in a pile of content which never gets noticed, you should know what others are talking about. Here are some good places to start with the research:

  1. Google Search – Like it or not, Google contributes to more than 90% of all online searches. And given the volume they have, they have also devised an effective method to show what kind of searches are users likely to have done, similar to your search. Look for the “Users Also Searched For” tab, it’s a goldmine for long-tail keywords as well!
  2. Reddit – I have always felt Reddit being a very underrated platform. I find it one of the best platforms for niche topic research. Redditors are one of the most active communities out there on the world wide web. Be it the best of memes, or the latest news not covered in mainstream media, it has it all. Though Reddit isn’t really that friendly to newcomers, once you get the hang of it, you will be hooked!
  3. Twitter – If real-time news is your thing, Twitter is your platform. One of the fastest moving social media platforms out there, Twitter’s efficiency lies in the fact that the news there dies in a matter of hours. If you’re quick on your feet, and not lazy enough to write content, you’ll be best friends with Twitter.

Understand your audience.
If you want to write on music and specifically on Classic Rock, you are likely to not get much traffic to your site, unless you’re topically relevant. We, humans, have an attention span lower than a goldfish. And that poses a threat to your content. While the trends of your target audience remain constant, their interest level in your content will be topical. And that is where the next step comes in.

Well, all this work and no outcome is likely to make you like me. I write often, using some writing prompts from Reddit to challenge myself. But none of that ends up in my blog. If you’re like me, you’re not getting anywhere, anytime soon. The more you publish, the more your reputation as an authority in that niche increases. This makes sure you get a steady stream of visitors to your website, and in return rank higher in the search results. A classic SEO win.

That concludes part 1 of the series. This involves more time and thought than part two. Read part two of this series here!

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