Can Algorithms Feel? Use Emotion To Elevate Search Engine Marketing

Emotional resonance is essential in marketing. But how do you connect emotionally when writing keyword-targeted copy? To the uninitiated, copywriting for search engine optimization (SEO) may seem prescriptive, awkward and clunky, written for robot crawlers rather than human beings. No one even reads those SEO copy blocks, right?

The reality is, when you’re optimizing content throughout a site, you have to maintain brand voice and feeling, bringing users along on the journey. You have to capture their attention at any entry point and urge them to dive deeper. 

Long-form articles, beneficial to long-tail SEO keywords, give content writers more room to play and capture imagination or soothe fears, but they still have to resonate quickly or be left behind. Without emotion, content on a page falls flat and you lose the attention of readers — and their trust of your brand. SEO is no good if the traffic it brings to the website leaves right away.



Emotional intelligence generates superior keyword research. SEO is fundamentally rooted in understanding a customer’s needs and desires — and how that customer communicates those needs. It’s more than knowing someone is searching for “printer paper” 27,000 times a month. You also have to empathize with the exhausted office administrator in order to translate your solution into answers for their problems. When we consider not just the need, but the emotion behind it, we can find more relevant keywords and craft more authentic copy.

Creating emotional context for keywords. Well-optimized content demands not only understanding of the products, the competitors, the customers and their journeys, but also of how the process and final products make customers feel. 

  • If I’m a mother whose child has a fever, I may feel anxious. I want accurate answers quickly from a reputable source. 
  • If I’m a young couple buying a home for the first time, I’m overwhelmed, tired and confused. I need someone to clear out all the jargon and tell me what PMI is and how it affects my payments. 
  • If I received a well-earned bonus, I’m proud and excited. I want to treat myself. Maybe I also want to save for the future, but my joy likely overrules my pragmatism in the moment. 

SEO isn’t just about providing the right information so pages rank for “teething fever,” “what is PMI,” or “handmade leather bags,” it’s also about creating context that comprehends and communicates emotion behind customer needs. 

Once More With Feeling

While much of SEO is data-driven, and it can — in theory — be executed in an emotionless void, optimized content that resonates with both client and consumer is ultimately going to drive greater KPIs. Empathizing with the emotional needs of customers as well as their literal demands helps SEO writers and marketers go beyond the basics.

2 comments about "Can Algorithms Feel? Use Emotion To Elevate Search Engine Marketing".
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  1. John Grono from GAP Research, July 26, 2019 at 9:17 a.m.
  2. Andrew Susman from New Value Associates replied, July 28, 2019 at 1:43 p.m.

    Prianka Srinivasan: "...[Emotion AI]does not seek to give machines the ability to 'feel' emotion, but rather to decipher and appropriately respond to human emotion..."

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