If you’re not creating great content to help your company get found online, you’re missing an incredible opportunity to legitimately connect with people searching for information related to your industry or product.

According to a new study from the University of Missouri, out of the 73% of American adults who use the internet daily,  over half of them emotionally responded and remembered content that they found “searching” instead of “surfing.” 

This data, published as “The Effect of Searching Versus Surfing on Cognitive and Emotional Responses to Online News” in the Journal of Media Psychology, should be an immediate motivator for any business interested in driving highly qualified leads through SEO. This study absolutely confirms that companies creating quality content that meet the informational needs of readers (rather than only their entertainment needs) have a greater chance of connecting emotionally to potential customers. Companies can then leverage this emotional connection to nurture leads and drive their customers to complete an action on their site.

Unfortunately, though the data presented in the study is very interesting, the marketing takeaway in the University of Missouri article appears to incorrectly recommend Outbound Marketing tactics instead of Inbound Marketing as a way to get found by people using search.  In the article, Kevin Wise, assistant professor of strategic communication, says that site sponsors should “consider increasing their advertising on pages that tend to be accessed via search engines.”

You should not advertise on pages if you intend to get found in search. You don’t get credit for that traffic. Instead, you should create and search engine optimize your own content so your content can really get found.

The study also found that people remember and understand the information they discover when they conducted specific searches. When you create your content, be sure you create specific content that answers specific questions and use specific keywords that people (looking for answers within your industry) are searching for. This way you not only get found in organic search by the people you're looking to attract, but really make an impression in their memory.

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Originally published Nov 6, 2009 1:48:00 PM, updated March 21 2013

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SEO