Webmasters can now measure user behavior using visual structured data. The main idea of heatmaps is to make complex data more understandable. Before we get into heatmaps let’s get into the basic information.
What are Heatmaps
Heatmaps are an essential tool used most by marketers to understand how users interact with a website.
A heat map will indicate where a site is most ‘dense’ or ‘hot’. What this means is that that particular area on the website is where users spend the most time. User behavior is determined on a scale from red to blue. The warmest color (red) will indicate the highest level of engagement and the coolest color (blue) will indicate the areas with the lowest engagement level.
- Click maps: Indicate where users click the most. This includes internal links, logos, images, the navigation bar, and anything that users can click on.
- Scroll maps: indicate how far down readers made it on the page before leaving. Hot spots will be red.
- Hover maps: indicate where users moved the cursor around on the page. The hot spots will indicate where users pause most often.
In SEO the most used heat maps are click maps. The more clicks there are in that area on the site the hotter the part of the page is. There are a few different types of heatmaps you can use to measure user behavior.
Can Heatmaps Be Used to Improve a Site?
Yes! Google does not use heat map data to rank your site however this data can help you determine which links on your site are being clicked on.
Let’s use Google as an example. If Google had to use a heat map and they found that most users were clicking on the second results more than the first that would mean something is wrong with the first link. They would then investigate the link or site to find out what was wrong.
You can use this kind of application on your own website. You will be able to find usability issues and as well as lost opportunities.
For example. If you have two links on a page and one is getting more clicks than the other you can use this information to better the links’ anchor text.
Free Google Analytics HeatMaps
Google Analytics has a free heatmap tool that just about anyone with a google analytics profile can use. All you have to do is download the Chrome extension and you are good to go.
The google analytics heat map displays an overview of various metrics such as page views, average time on page, unique page views, bounce rate, real-time page visitors, and much more.
The mention metrics are the default settings that are shown when the extension is turned on. However, you can also change it to the metrics that you want to see on the page. You can also change the dates accordingly.
How does this benefit SEO webmasters?
Clickmaps such as the free Google Analytics Heatmaps are focused mainly on links and clicks. As you may already know internal links are extremely important and a big part of any successful SEO strategy
The Google bot crawls your website using links on your page to find content that has more value. It crawls both external and internal links. A perfect linking structure and a well written page will see you get hits on each and every link on the page
When optimizing your page or website you can use the heatmap data to also figure which content or clicks are not getting much attention and try to use keywords that are more beneficial to the site.
So, what should I do with this data?
Well, this is quite simple, pick 5 of your core pages to try the heatmap out. Identify the links that are not being clicked and determine if the anchor text you are using is helping that page at all. We know you want to rank at number one and this is one of 5 SEO Tools You Need to Use to get the top spot.
A great way to find anchor texts that are applicable to the page is to do a thorough Optimizing Research to find keywords what will get clicked on. Look at the keyword impressions as well as search volume.
Heatmaps are definitely not the answer to all your questions, problems, and headaches. However, Google is moving in a direction where user intent is key. If you can cater to all the users by placing information that is most important at the top where it is easily accessible, you are one step closer to ranking. Think of it as getting a clear picture of how users are engaging with your content and website. For more groundbreaking solutions to all you SEO questions keep visiting our website for updates!