What Freud can teach us about SEO – Part 2

What Freud Can Teach Us About SEO part 2

If you have navigated here from my first SEO article, good to have you back! If you have not, I would request you to check out the first part of this series here to get an idea of the flow.

Now that we are done with the introductions, let’s jump right into business. Remember how I established one of Freud’s principles – the Id, in the previous article, here’s getting into the tougher sections – Ego and Superego.


The easiest way to look at Ego is if the Id is a small child, the Ego is its adolescent version. Our habits are created from our childhood, and this influences our lifestyle and choices. It is the same in this case, when I put it to the SEO perspective. Once you have a persona created and setup, the next step is to determine how to utilize that.

So, how do I pacify the ego?

In terms of marketing practice, the Ego plays a make or break role in initial decision making. While the Id determines the intent of the user, Ego makes up for logical reasoning. And that is where you would see a lot of drops offs from your conversion rates. Here are a few ways you can up your game on Ego:

  1. Work on the website loading speeds. Let’s just face it, a goldfish has more attention span than we do. With the sheer amount of information bombarded to us every passing second, it’s hard to focus on just one thing at a time. And that leads to impatience. More often than not, people will not wait for more than 3 seconds for your site to load. This makes it crucial for optimizing the site loading capacities of your website. There are numerous methods to do this. I personally love Pingdom Tools and Google Lighthouse. If you are tech-friendly, you can even give Chrome DevTools a swing for advanced options.
  2. How easy is it to find things on your website? SEO has evolved a lot from just keyword stuffing in the last few years. People want information with the least possible effort. Site search helps a lot when a user is on your website searching for answers. Also, there are times when the user will probably send a bot to do their work (Siri, Google Assistant, Alexa, assemble!). So at the end of the day, you need to make sure your content is searchable on the public, as well as inside your own website.
  3. List strong reasons for decision making. Let’s assume you have an eCommerce website. You have successfully managed to bring a customer to the product page, slaying the Id research. Now the task is to make them buy the product. How do you do it? If I break it down into a simple Yes/No procedure, it would lead to the following workflow:
    1. Does the product satisfy my needs?
    2. Is it priced competitively as on the other websites/stores?
    3. What kind of additional benefits do I get from this feature? (free shipping, discounted coupons, etc).
  4. Make the user decision making simple. Just like loading time is a turnoff, having to think too much to decide will efficiently ruin your chances of getting a conversion. Citing the eCommerce example again, try to answer the following questions:
    1. Does your page have all the necessary information about the product?
    2. Is there a compare option where a user can compare similar priced items?
    3. Do you have relevant reviews to support your product?

Now, you may be thinking if the last point is only applicable to things you are selling. No, it isn’t. You can exploit the theory of Ego for even a movie review. Use Schema tags for articles to get a host of rich markup for your content. You can break down questions into a FAQ tab. Microdata (like Schema) and Rich Snippets(like lists and FAQ) help you rank higher on search engines – they have become a necessity in SEO now. Sometimes you can even rank for the elusive “Zero position” on Google, where there are Featured Snippets mainly aimed to answer questions. If you use WordPress, here’s a great article from SEMRush I like to refer to every now and then.

Okay, is that all I need to do?

Simple things like these affect the way users react to your content, be it a blog or an eCommerce site. But, we have a big daddy issue (pun approved by Freud).


So, you’ve nurtured the little kid, tackled the moody teenager, now you face the never-satisfied adult. This is  where your mettle is tested. This is where you start asking questions like:

  • Will the customer come back to buy from my site again? 
  • Will my next article be read by this person? 
  • I’m publishing another photostory, will that be shared by this person? 

The Super Ego is a grumpy old man. Experienced enough to know better, moody enough to drive a guilt trip. This is the same guilt you get after drinking at a pub when you could have got the same scotch for 1/3rd the price and drink at home.
From my experience in digital strategy, this is where UI/UX comes into play. For example, last year I was working on a new eCommerce website. They primarily serve Indian clients and we had to design a product page for them. One flaw I noticed in the theme that they used was that their decision making buttons (Buy Now, or Add To Cart) were more center aligned. Given around 70%+ people around the world are right-handed, the first step was to ensure the buttons are aligned towards the right. This improved the conversion rate by 20% in a month, without investing in any technical SEO!
Changes like these, which may not seem significant enough, can make a big difference in the way people make decisions. The Super Ego needs a convincing argument to counter any kind of loopholes it can come up with. There is no way around to exploit this, but from my experience, the best way to avoid this is to clear out Id and Ego as soon as possible. The more time you give a user to think, the more this Super Ego kicks in. This is the exact reason why payment gateway systems these days are seamless to fast forward the checkout flow. And blog popularity is counted on a ratio of reading time per number of words(Medium does this great with the reading time meter).

With this, I conclude the topic. It is interesting how human behaviour can be used to making SEO a competitive source of your website traffic. I mean, people throughout the years have exploited this theory, so why not do it for SEO too?

Cover photo by mari lezhava on Unsplash.

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