Over the years, search engine optimization has evolved in many ways. Search engine algorithm updates are the most obvious thing that comes to mind that keeps search engine marketers on their toes. But behind every update, there’s been a much larger, more important theme - improving the search and user experience.
In fact, you can make the case that SEO is very much about user experience - from the first impression of a website in search results to the depth, ease and relevance of the information people find on a website. Some in the industry are describing a shift from search engine optimization to search experience optimization. In other words, humans before bots.
However, search experience can be a tough thing to measure. There are metrics like bounce rate, time on site, pages viewed, conversation rate, but those things don’t always tell the entire story.
We’re all about data at TopSpot, so it’s no surprise that we try to uncover as much data as possible to ensure that our websites and search marketing programs are enhancing the search experience. To do this, we’ve been testing heat mapping software that helps us understand more deeply where people are clicking, where they are navigating and more. Traditionally, you would think that heat mapping software would only give insight into website design and development opportunities, but it’s proven incredibly useful for SEO opportunities, especially when coupled with Google Analytics data. Here’s how:
Understanding What Users Really Want
Want to know what your users want more of on your website? Pay attention to what they are clicking on and how far they are scrolling on certain pages.
Because of heatmap analytics, we've been able to understand where people are looking for more information based on what they are clicking. In some cases, we've found new opportunities to link relevant, useful content on the site and move content higher up on pages because of its relevance to users.
In this heatmap, users were clicking on bullet points below the fold that pertained to Applications. Since people were interacting with that content lower on the page, we determined that the content may have a higher importance to many users, so our team moved the Application information higher up on the page and linked it where applicable.
Influencing Content Strategy
Based on what users click on, you can also find content strategy opportunities, especially when you compare the heatmap data with your analytics data. For one client, we saw a trend in the most used filter to narrow down products on a page. (We also found that the most used filter was the last one in order, so we moved it up.)
We compared that information to paid search data and did thorough keyword research to find that many people weren’t only using this filter to narrow down products, they were searching by it too. Just like that...it opened up new content ideas and keyword opportunities to continue to bring in relevant users into our client’s website through SEO and Paid Search.
In this heatmap, users were making the most use of the last filter to narrow down products. We moved that filter up, but also used the "Mount Type" data to expand content on the site and keyword opportunities for both SEO and Paid Search programs.
Making the Site as Easy as Possible to Use
Think about the websites and products you love. We usually love them because things are simple to find...so simple that we didn’t have to think too much. Simple is not a bad thing; it’s actually best practice. Heat mapping software allows you to see how people are interacting with your website more clearly and where there may be potential snags that may be bringing down your conversion rates. For this particular client, we noticed a trend of people clicking around in the table indicating that they may be trying to sort and select products.
Because of the data, we added a way to filter results as well as an easy way to add specific sizes to your quote.
Heatmap software offers the ability to test and measure many things. From what people are clicking on to where they are spending their time engaging with pages -- this data allows us to improve the design, functionality and organization of websites, as well as our search engine optimization strategies. If you are interested in discussing heatmap software for your website and how it can improve your search engine marketing, get in touch with us below.