The Psychology Behind Search and User Intent

When it comes to online marketing and creating content for your website and products, it obviously pays to understand how people are using search engines. This involves the research of keywords and understanding where your target demographic resides.

If you have a bricks and mortar business this will affect how you market yourself, the keywords that you use how you target your desired user base. The marketing of an online company or service is approached slightly differently, but whichever company type you are marketing there is one thing that will always be at the front of the marketer’s mind: user intent.

Knowing what keywords and locations to target and understanding what people are searching for is half the battle, but the actual psychology of intent is something very often overlooked.

Lustprinzip – the pleasure principle

Understanding the pleasure principle is key to understanding the driving behind a searcher’s intent because this will help you market your product, service and even yourself much more effectively.

The principal identifies an individual’s instinctual need to seek pleasure and avoid pain. Your site needs to be able to target one or both of these needs effectively in order for it to maintain its position in search engine rankings. Appearing favourably in organic search results depends on much more than ‘usual’ SEO practices: understanding a searcher’s intent is key.

Searcher’s hit the internet search engines for one of two reasons:


● To find something pleasurable
● To find a solution to something painful


That really is it, the only two driving forces behind every single search. If you aren’t too sure about that, consider the following two scenarios.

You rely on your trusty bicycle to get yourself into work every morning, and while walking is certainly not out of the question it would mean leaving the house an hour earlier, means getting up out of bed an hour earlier too. On your way home from work, your front tire bursts. A painful experience (the missed extra hour in bed, the hour long walk the next morning) that you would rather be resolved than suffered through now awaits you.

If it wasn’t painful, you could just shrug it off and carry on regardless. However, it is painful and so off to the internet you go to look for a store that sells puncture repair kits. Websites advertising the sale of bicycles could take advantage of possible pain related internet searches and make it a part of their marketing strategy.

On the other hand, imagine that you really like the idea of exploring the countryside a bit but would much rather do it without the polluting effects of a car, and the train station is too far away. A push bike is the perfect solution, and so here pleasure is your driving force.

Again, properly crafted content and marketing styles can target searchers that are hitting the internets with the intention of seeking two things: bicycles and pleasure.

You can learn more about the pleasure principle here, and see why the best marketers tilt their efforts in that direction.

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