Do a Google search for Power Words for SEO and the first page of results will be filled with articles offering how-to advice and anywhere from 100 – 1000 power words to use in your copy. This is not one of those articles.
Don’t get us wrong. Many of these articles are from reputable sources with extensive experience. The advice that they give is solid and worth considering.
We want you to understand the why.
Good Power Words
“Good words are worth much, and cost little.” – George Herbert
Power words are words or phrases that evoke an emotional response, positive or negative, from the target audience leading to a desired outcome. They make us feel elated, encouraged, frightened, aroused, greedy, safe, curious, and more.
That is the key: they make us “feel.”
Harvard Professor Gerald Zaltman, in his book How Customers Think: Essential Insights into the Mind of the Market, says 95% of purchase-making decisions take place in the subconscious mind.
What, when, and how we buy is driven by emotion.
Keeping It Simple
Something else you will find when seeking guidance is the dizzying variety of power word categories. We believe in keeping things as simple as possible to solve the problem at hand.
We prefer to group power words this way:
- Sensory (or visual)
Seduction is all about trying to persuade someone to choose you over any of the alternatives. It implies directing them to change their course of action.
Words like “new” and “free” have tremendous power. New suggests better than what I have. Who isn’t enticed by the “buy one, get one free” offers we encounter all the time?
We can use almost any emotional word effectively. Much of the “act now” messages work on the fear that, if I don’t act immediately, I will miss out on something wonderful.
One emotion that we see used a lot is curiosity. Every single “how to” or “x steps to do” article plays on our curiosity. We click and we read because we want to find out the secret.
Sensory (or visual)
Sensory words paint pictures in our heads. They trigger a sensory response that involves sight, hearing, taste, touch, and smell. There is no wonder a lot of food advertising happens around mealtimes.
Power Words Capture Attention and Draw Readers In
Create an Emotional Connection With Your Audience
To create an emotional connection with your audience, you need to understand their needs.
- What problem are they trying to solve?
- What is the intent behind their search?
- How might they feel about that problem?
Find a way to demonstrate empathy with those emotions, and you will draw them in. Provide the best answer to their need, and you will likely turn them into customers.
Start that connection by using power words to create click-worthy titles.
Make Your Content More Memorable and Engaging
Power words pack a lot of punch in, well, very few words. It would be easy, and quite fun, to carry this analogy further, showing rather than telling. The real key to using power words, and getting the most out of your punch, is to use them sparingly, scattering them throughout your content at key moments.
Emotions are strong motivators, and appealing to them is a natural and normal part of human interaction. Successful brands tell stories, and successful stories appeal to our emotions.