Why satisficing is important for SEO

Posted on April 26, 2011


When you enter into the world of the internet, you enter the world of jargon. If you ever frowned when the term ‘SEO’ first came up, had to ask when your marketer talked about PPC and had no idea when your webmaster talked about search engine spidering, you possibly haven’t come across a very important made-up word: satisficing.

Satisficing is what internet users do when they’re looking at your page. Those working in SEO once thought that internet users scanned a page for keywords, choosing the most attractive option. Instead of doing this, though, internet users choose the first promising lead they come across. They satisfy themselves with the first thing that will suffice, or, as web behaviour analysts put it, they satisfice.

The term is an old one, coined by US political scientist Herbert Simon in 1956 to describe decision-making behaviour. ‘Satisfice’ is an interesting word to remember because it’s so close to ‘sacrifice.’ This is exactly what internet users are willing to do to your page if you don’t hook them swiftly enough.

Being aware of this tendency can help your SEO. If you know an internet user looking for computer parts in the Wirral, you can signify that information early on in your page. This will keep them reading. If you make them wait for the information, putting your marketing message first, you could lose them.

Satisficing may be a word squashed together for the means of science, but it’s a handy term nonetheless. Pay heed to it, or risk sacrificing your rankings.

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