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Combatting Audience "Decision Fatigue"​ online with a Creative SEO Strategy:

Combatting Audience "Decision Fatigue"​ online with a Creative SEO Strategy:
February 18, 2024
5 min read

In a time when the world of SEO is seemingly embracing new and innovative technologies partnered with the increasing adoption of SEO strategies by brands and the unfortunate reality that a lot of the web's content quality is actually decreasing, It seems inevitable that our audiences are going to experience the phenomenon known as "Decision Fatigue".

Here, let's explore what this concept is, its place within the world of SEO, and how your brand can combat your audience's experience of Decision Fatigue online by adopting Creative SEO.

What is Decision Fatigue?

Decision fatigue, a relatively new term theorised by Roy F. Baumeister in 1998, is a psychological concept that explores the state of decision-making by humans and the deteriorating quality of that process after a prolonged period of decision-making. As this isn't an academic essay, we'll get straight to the nitty gritty, no Harvard Reference system is necessary (thank god).

Essentially, the theory explores how the ability to make an effective decision decreases as an individual is exposed to large volumes of decisions, the Increasing complexity of decisions, along with the emotion, bias, or mental capacity needed to ultimately arrive at a decision. Baumeister and researchers have also established that decision fatigue can be heightened if an individual is exposed to a variety of external factors also, including distractions, interruptions, and time pressures.

In the world of SEO, this concept manifests in a variety of ways. For example, when consumers are bombarded with too many options, features, and products, they may find it difficult to make a decision. This can lead to analysis paralysis, where the individual becomes overwhelmed and unable to make a choice. Decision fatigue can also occur when consumers are presented with too much information, leading to confusion and a lack of clarity - this is especially the case in the world of content marketing and our SEO content efforts.

Put simply, as more audiences continue to turn to 'search' to assist with queries and the digital landscape, especially the SEO space, becomes more congested, the idea of using content to reach audiences is going to become a harder process than what brands have experienced in the past. SEO is already competitive, I don't need to tell you that, but the adoption of SEO strategies, the emergence of AI content, and changes in user behaviour are about to facilitate an increase in decision fatigue by users on the SERPs. Therefore, it is vital that brands find ways to stand apart online, with their SEO. Previous readers of our content will recall discussions around "Differentiation through Creativity", this idea is about to become vital for brands looking to stand out on the SERPs. By providing clear and concise information, creating a seamless user experience, and simplifying the decision-making process, brands can help users make informed decisions without feeling overwhelmed, converting them into customers and ultimately winning the SERP battle.

Decision Fatigue - An Example:

Let's think about a really simple, and hopefully relatable, example of decision fatigue in practice. I'm sure there are many examples upon traditional 'search' of SERP results that complicate finding solutions but let's talk JustEat.

In our house, selecting a 'Take Away' option can often feel like a process that is given more effort and attention than the party to which we decide to vote in elections. "Kebab... but not their Kebab" "Pizza, but square-shaped not circular" "KFC?" "I am not paying JustEat Prices at KFC" "Actually, I fancy a Chinese" "Well, I just won't have anything?".

JustEat has made the process of ordering food easier than it has ever been, yet, the sheer scale of choice, the Increasing hunger we experience when trying to order that Inevitably leads to arguments, and the sheer amount of restaurant menus & reviews available at the touch of a button make decision making a nightmare.

A perfect example of decision fatigue!

Understanding Creative SEO

Okay, so now I've got that off my chest, and the missus has won and we've ordered KFC... let's talk about Creative SEO.A Creative SEO strategy refers to an approach to search engine optimization that goes beyond the traditional executions we've seen, and continue to see, on SERPs for years.

Example: H1> Intro> H2,Text, Image, Internal Link> H2, Text, External Link

A Creative SEO strategy aims to provide a unique and memorable experience for users, allowing a brand to embed itself in the user's mind, while also improving a website's visibility and rankings in search engines.

A Creative SEO strategy involves a combination of technical and creative elements, such as optimising website design, developing engaging content, and providing a seamless user experience. It involves understanding the needs and preferences of the target audience, creating content that resonates with them, on the platforms they expect to find that content, and presenting it in a visually appealing and user-friendly manner.A Creative SEO strategy also focuses on building a brand and establishing a strong online presence. This can be achieved through social media, link-building, and other "Demand Generation" activities.

By creating high-quality, creative, content and building relationships with other websites, influencers, and creators in their industry, brands can increase their online visibility and attract more traffic to their websites.

By doing so, brands can begin to stand on their own in the digital landscape, avoiding the onset of decision fatigue by providing interactive, tailored experiences for users and beating their competitors, causing analysis paralysis, and contributing to decision fatigue.

How Creative SEO can combat Decision Fatigue:

So, we know that Decision fatigue is becoming a real issue for online users, it's inevitable in SEO. SERPs are featuring increasing numbers of brands that are more concerned with a 'race to the bottom' when it comes to content creation, as opposed to creating amazing content solutions.

When brands are more concerned with the visibility for thousands of terms than hitting the mark and exceeding the expectations of users for just a few queries, it's easy to see how decision fatigue can become a problem for SEO strategy.

However, a Creative SEO strategy can combat decision fatigue by simplifying the decision-making process, providing clear and concise information, and creating a seamless user experience.

A creative SEO strategy can simplify the decision-making process by offering fewer options and reducing the number of choices that users have to make. This could be better achieved by having better-aligned Internal link mapping, getting users to their destinations faster, with less fluff. Going back to our earlier analysis of Decision Fatigue, this would eliminate distractions and reduce time pressures!

Secondly, a Creative SEO strategy can provide clear and concise information to users, which can help them make more informed decisions. This can include using product descriptions that are easy to understand and highlight the most important features and benefits but can be as creative as brands are willing to explore. From Infographics to video content, Coded Web tools to Podcasts, by providing clear and concise information, brands can help users make decisions more confidently and with less effort - reducing paralysis by over-analysis.

Finally, a Creative SEO strategy doesn't have to stop with content efforts. It can leverage your brand's Tech SEO resource also, creating a seamless user experience that reduces the cognitive load on users.

This can include using intuitive navigation, responsive design, and other elements that make it easy for users to find what they're looking for and interact with your brand - developing brand awareness continually.

By creating a seamless user experience, brands can reduce the mental effort required from users and make it more enjoyable to browse, leading to users spending more time engaging with your brand and making users more likely to progress into becoming brand advocates.

Let's Wrap this up

Overall, a Creative SEO strategy can combat decision fatigue by simplifying the decision-making process, providing clear and concise information, and creating a seamless user experience. How you achieve this comes down to how creative, adventurous, and unique you allow your SEO team to be with their executions. By implementing these tactics, brands can reduce the mental effort required from users and make it easier and more enjoyable for them to engage with brands online, leading to conversions and advocacy, the holy grail of your SEO efforts!

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Ashley Liddell
Creative Strategy Director

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