Appeal to the brains internal filters :: Search Stratgies

Located at the base of the brain is something called the reticular activating system (RAS). This is responsible for a number of functions, one of the most interesting in terms of search is FILTERING.

Your Personal Search Engine

This system determines what you become conscious of at any given moment, what remains your focus and what simply disappears into the vacuum of your unconscious. The RAS is like your own personal google algorithm. It decides what is put on the first page to get clicked and what is buried away on page 30 to never receive any traffic.

Your Internal Google Filters

What’s interesting about the RAS is how it filters information. Part of the RAS are internal filters that cause your subjective reality to take form. Just like Google there is an overwhelming amount of information being trafficked to your brain. Your nervous system acts like the Google Filters, deleting, distorting and generalizing the information. These are the techniques that chunks the information into manageable amounts so your brain can process it. They are defined by what you are sorting for, or expect to experience.

Satisfying the Internal Filters

It’s interesting when we think of Traffic Optimisation how can we appeal to people’s internal filters. For example when selling a product you typically have the following stages of a funnel:

1) Awareness – This is where the search volume will be at it’s highest. A user has realized they need a product, now they start researching it online.
2) Interest
3) Education – Here a user is looking for reviews. Again search is utilized a lot.
4) Comparison – Similar to education
5) Purchase

Each stage of this funnel presents an opportunity to present your product in a manner that will appeal to this users internal filters. Think what are they looking for ? What will their RAS bring to the forefront of their mind ?

Use PPC Effectively

To appeal to a users internal filters at each of this buying process requires proper PPC Keyword Research and Competive Market Analysis. This should give you actual keywords that can yield ads which triggers a users RAS at each stage. For example, if you are selling omega watches you may have the following ads ( Warning the ads do not look realistic 🙂 ):


Watch Information

Full details of watch features.
How to choose a great watch.


Watch Reviews

Compare top watch brands.
Get User reviews.


Omega Watches

Compare Omega watches
Get full price list


Omega Watches

Buy Omega watches here
10% discount online

SEO to sell a click

The title tags and meta description is another opportunity to fulfill that users internal filters. These should be used as if they were an adword. A great example of this is Brad Fallons My Wedding Favor website:


Ok so maybe this listing won’t get a click but better still it may get a phone call. Both the page title and meta description can include keywords that will appeal to a users internal filters. Each page you want to rank against a keyword should be given careful consideration. The important part of that sentence is each one. If you are dealing with a large site, there are probably pages that are not related to an organic campaign. This is fine. Not every page needs to appear top of the search results.

It’s best to keep your title tag to eight words or less and make it compelling to the user based on what keywords you are optimising it for i.e. Watch Reviews. If your USP’s are that you offer the best watches for snorkeling well this needs to be highlighted in your organic listing.

The best place to get keywords to use in your organic campaign is from your PPC data. This will tell you what does and doesn’t work.

SEO and PPC are intrinsically linked

Landing Page Optimisation

So you have used PPC and SEO to appeal to a users internal filters at each stage of the buying process. You have worked hard to earn that click. But upon clicking on that ad, the user is brought to a generic landing page, spends a very brief period of time looking around and leaves. You haven’t sold the page to the user or matched it to what the user expected.

The online world is becoming more and more competitive. Users spend less time looking over a page for what they expected. It’s extremely important to tailor your page to the PPC ads and Organic keywords you may be targeting. The home page is rarely a good landing page.

Landing page optimisation is something I am becoming more and more fascinated by (data mad). So I will follow up this post with some tips on landing page optimisation in another post.

Do you have any tips, feedback or general comments on this ???

About Kieran Flanagan

Online Marketer who implements both inbound and paid strategies to help companies grow internationally. Lover of content marketing, SEO, analytics, CRO and strategy. A highly motivated marketing geek high on data crack.