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Cognitive Biases in SEO – Moz


And it is.

SEO action tip

Use power words in your titles and meta descriptions. Don’t overdo it, but see if you can sprinkle in words that give off trust signals:

  • Accredited

  • Certified

  • Proven

  • Reputable

  • Secure

  • Experienced

  • Safe

Make sure that they’re appropriate for your industry.

On a bigger, strategic level, the best thing you can do for your authority:

Build your brand.

Don’t roll your eyes. It’s what you need to do! SEO is one channel in a bigger marketing strategy. All of the platforms should work together to compound the results. Easier said than done. Your brand and your recognition as the leader in your space drives your authority.

If you’re a smaller business you typically need to develop visibility across your channels with consistency and quality. Or find organic viral opportunities to accelerate your brand reputation.

Bigger brand? You might have everything in place, tons of resources, but working across silos is a challenge. It’s not easy to get the editorial calendar of your colleagues in other teams across the marketing department.

Regardless, brand development is a longer play. It’s not something that you can build overnight. Start small, follow your North Star branding principles, and allow your brand and customers to guide you where you can leverage authority bias.

Familiarity bias, mere exposure effect, and the halo effect

Speaking of brands, we trust what we know. It’s safe and reliable. Familiarity Bias highlights how we frequently choose the recognizable option regardless of whether it’s the best.

I’m actually not going to focus too heavily on this bias because Giulia Panozzo recently covered the psychology behind familiarity bias and the mere exposure effect extensively, whereas Myriam Jessier provides a series of smart tactics to implement it at the local level for your SEO and content programs.

What’s important to remember with the familiarity bias is that you need to consistently maintain a presence for your audience at multiple touch points across the internet. Whether people encounter you via social media, influencer marketing, advertising, or any other channel, when they do see your brand appear in an online search during their search journey, they’re more likely to click on your organic listing.

It’s one of the reasons that Forbes is so effective on Google. People are incredibly familiar with the brand. So even when they appear for a surprising result like “Best Mattresses 2024”, people still click on the result because they know the brand.

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