Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs — How Does The Theory Apply To SEO?

Without high-quality content, your SEO efforts become redundant.

Similarly, even with great content, your SEO campaign will be in vain if you can’t reach the right targeted audience.

That said, you will get the most out of this guide if you’re looking to understand the foundation of good SEO, which begins with (among other metrics) ensuring crawl accessibility.

Content searchability is similar to the physiological needs stated in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.

What is Maslow’s Hierarchy Needs?

According to Maslow’s Hierarchy theory, what motivates consumer behavior highly depends on individual needs.

These needs include:

  1. Basic physiological needs — Include food and water, sufficient rest, clothing and shelter, overall health, and reproduction.
  2. Safety needs — Include protection from violence and theft, emotional stability and well-being, health security, and financial security.
  3. Love and belonging (social needs) — Relate to human interaction ranging from friendships to family bonds, sexual relationships, including intimate emotional bonds that bring up feelings of kinship.
  4. Esteem needs — These are ego-driven needs based on respect and acknowledgment from others and on your own self-assessment.
  5. Self-actualization — Also known as self-fulfillment needs, self-actualization is the refining of areas such as education and skill development to better yourself. Self-actualization can also include setting broader goals like traveling the world, learning a new language, music, athletics, design, to reach your full potential.

Consumer behavior is a complex thing, and if you do not fulfill your customers’ physiological needs, nothing will motivate them to interact with your business.

So, what does Maslow’s hierarchy theory have to do with SEO?

Consider this illustration.

The SEO strategy of a blog or website is successful after meeting, even exceeding certain user needs.

To help you better understand how Maslow’s hierarchy law affects your overall marketing strategy, below are a few examples of hierarchical needs that you can implement in your SEO campaign.

  1. Optimize your niche site for crawling

Google faces a near-infinite quantity of content and resources available online.

As such, its bots can only find, crawl and index a portion of “crawlable” content.

For crawlability, your website needs to have:

  • High-quality content with related target keywords
  • A user-friendly interface with fast-loading pages
  • Inbound and outbound links
  • Optimized URLs, images, rich snippets, and more.

Your site stands a slim chance of ranking high in SERPs unless search engines have a positive crawl experience.

Optimizing the architecture of your website will enable search engine bots to find and index your content pages to targeted users in the search results.

A well-optimized site structure can also help build link authority around your site for greater search visibility opportunities.

Pro Tip:

To ensure that your blog or site is being indexed, run the following search in Google search box — “site: yourdomain.extension.”

So, if, for instance, your website’s name is 123seo.com, enter “site:123seo.com.” You will see a list of all your website pages registered with Google.

2. Create user-centric content

It is important to have a targeted audience in mind before you start the content creation process.

Some questions that may help you streamline the data-gathering process for your core audience include:

  • What are the demographics of your target audience? You can identify them with key demographic information, such as age, sex, marital status, and more.
  • Where does your target audience usually hang out? Which blogging sites or social media channels do they spend most of their time on?
  • What are their day-to-day concerns? Pan-wide to ensure you’re not limiting this information to just the pain points your business can resolve.
  • How can you help? Once you’ve identified their concerns, you can provide relevant content that answers search queries.

Pro Tip: Utilize content insight tools like BuzzSumo, or SEMRush to help you identify your most shared blog content and understand the reason behind its popularity.

Why?

Traffic volume is a good indicator of your audience’s pain points. A blog post receiving a ton of comments is where readers express their frustrations, challenges, and worries.

Use that information to polish up your content.

Searchers are more likely to share useful content that can fix their problems — this brings me to the next important point.

3. Improve your website’s visibility and ranking with optimized keywords

Ranking for high-value keywords on Google is a vital metric of SEO success.

Even if Google updates its search algorithms 500+ times a year, keywords research remains at the center of Google’s indexing system — and will continue to play a pivotal role in content optimization.

It can prove challenging for a novice to keep track of all the Google search algorithms changes.

This phenomenon leaves even the most seasoned SEO specialists scratching their heads trying to figure out updated ranking criteria.

Because 75% of searchers never go past the first page of SERPs, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with the ever-changing algorithm with thorough keyword research.

Also known as the holy grail of search, you can optimize long-tail keywords to appear in a featured snippet as part of your SEO strategy.

Why?

According to SEMrush, 4.3% of single-word keyword phrases resulted in a featured snippet compared to 17% of keywords with 5 words and 55.5% of keywords made of 10 words.

Meaning, there is a higher chance of returning a featured snippet in a search query with long-tail keywords.

Pro Tip: Search algorithms today can discern user intent and context. Therefore, your focus should be on producing high-quality content with keywords you want your blog or website to rank for.

Once you figure out lesser competitive long-tail keywords to use for a niche demographic:

  • Write interesting metadata for each page, keeping the title under 60 characters and a 160 character meta description.
  • Apply keywords and descriptive ALT tags on your images.
  • Use search-engine-friendly URLs that are readable by both searchers and search engines. Ensure your site URLs are simple and devoid of symbols, numbers, and distracting characters.
  • Optimize your website’s homepage by structuring the navigation bar.
  • Increase your CTR with rich snippets that comprise relevant information, such as stock data, reviews, ratings, sellers’ contact names, and more.

4. Enhance your website’s User Experience

Simply put, User Experience or UX, for short, is how users feel when interacting with technology.

With websites, UX design is about enhancing the interaction between a site visitor and blog or site pages to ensure a pleasant and effortless experience.

How a website looks and functions are factors that play a pivotal role in conversion rates, and interaction from a poor UX design can make or break your online business.

How?

To illustrate the importance of good UX design when building a website, consider the following key statistics:

With that in mind, the following points are what you need to monitor to ensure users get the most out of your website:

  1. Navigation — Poor navigational design can render any website useless. Therefore, ensure that the navigation menu is easily accessible from any device a visitor uses to make for a smooth and intuitive movement.
  2. Relevant content — Besides the overall functionality of your site or app, you need to use relevant content that will offer useful insights for the user. Tailor the content according to the specificity of your services or product offerings.
  3. Functional interface — It’s not enough to pack your site with relevant content; that information needs ease-of-access via a well-built interface. An optimized interface is not only intuitive, but it feels natural and consistent fonts, font size, colors, and the overall site layout of the site.
  4. Credibility — Any website, be it for a Fortune-500 company or startup, should focus on trustworthiness. A great way to build credibility is to add an SSL certificate, especially if it’s a site that requires a user to submit personal data.

This brings us to the last, but certainly not the least, Maslow’s hierarchical progression that you should consider when implementing your SEO strategy.

5. Secure high-quality backlinks from authority sites

Backlinks are the “link juice” you get from other third-party sites to your website.

Also known as inbound links, backlinks help search engines understand the relevancy of your website to searchers’ queries.

When looking for websites to link back to yours, it’s quality over quantity.

Why?

Because one or two quality backlinks from reputable websites will:

  • Improve your site’s organic search engine ranking
  • Generate targeted referral traffic
  • Help search engines index your website pages more effectively
  • Solidify the trust and authority of your website while gaining recognition and rankings
  • Build lasting relationships with trusted websites

A sure-fire way to get high-quality backlinks to your website, creating equally high-quality content that other websites will have no problem referencing.

Also, consider guest blogging and write well-researched articles for trusted websites or influencer blogs. Such website owners will trust your input as a source of relevant material, therefore mention you or provide a backlink to your site.

Some excellent rules of thumb to go by when creating high-quality content include:

  • Thorough keyword research
  • Write an attention-grabbing headline
  • Cite your sources when publishing your site on reputable website directories
  • Create evergreen content
  • Write long-form content (1000+ words) and include infographics and charts
  • Take advantage of Google Search Console to monitor your backlinks and get vital information, such as reports for top linked sites, top linking pages, anchor texts, and more.

While Google considers high-quality backlinks as a measure of your site’s authority and a source of reliable content, you should also:

  • Monitor the CTR your website receives, while optimizing your titles, URL, meta-tags, and meta-descriptions to relate to the user-query effectively.
  • Pay attention to the backend of your website by including snippets and optimizing schema markups to improve search query relevance.

Conclusion:

SEO needs a lot of patience.

However, if your marketing strategy aligns with your consumers’ psychology, it can be a practice that bears fruitful results.

To determine your website’s performance, you need insights from Key Perfomance Indicators (KPIs) with a focus on organic traffic, referral traffic, backlinks, and more.

Therefore, applying Maslow’s theory to your SEO strategy can come in handy when measuring your website’s performance and targeting the right audience.

Do you agree? Checkout these videos for more information on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store