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The Importance of Psychological Hooks in Organic SEO

August 2nd, 2011

I’m a big fan of what I call The Lazy Man’s SEO. It’s basically that rhythm of building out a website where 90% of the work goes into building stand-out content and 10% of the work goes into marketing it.

Lazy Man’s SEO is called lazy because it recognizes that SEO can be grueling as hell if you don’t have good content to build links to. But that gaining links can be easy as hell if you have great content.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not claiming that great content promotes itself. It doesn’t. But, it makes the marketing effort more like fun. Almost like a spectator sport.

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See, when you build content that is truly useful, and relatively unique, and relatively “big” and well produced, it’s almost a law of nature that if the right people see it, the links will start to accumulate and the marketing will take on a life of its own.

Take this example. One of my editors recently had a brilliant idea. He said to me: “You know, there really isn’t a guide out there to help students pick degrees based on job availability. Almost all of the information is based on salary, but some of the best salaried positions have terrible job markets.” Over the next two months, he proceeded to research and produce the largest piece of content I’ve ever published coming in at over 18,000 words. And it references reliable, government data for purposes of establishing objectivity and trust. Now obviously length alone does not guarantee that you’ve built the sort of content that makes SEO easy. But it is one indicator.

Ultimately, your content needs to have a hook that appeals to human psychology. There needs to be a group of people that will eat your content up. And that’s the trick as a Lazy Man SEO. You need to master the art of identifying and framing and pitching hooks to the right audience.

In the case of the article referenced above, there are a few hooks to work with. Interestingly, 6 out of the top 20 degrees for “great job opportunity” are associate’s degrees. This busts open the myth that everyone needs a Bachelor’s degree to get a good job. That’s one obvious hook for marketing this article. There are others as well. Any kind of pattern that emerges that would be of interest to one group of people (say business minded people) or another (say health and science people) is fair game.

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