Heatmaps or heat mapping as it is often called, is a 2D visual presentation of data or values pertaining to various metrics of a website. Interestingly heatmapping is something that’s used by everyone from social scientists to financial analysts. While people in the search engine optimisation (SEO) community are relatively new to the concept of heatmaps, it has been in use for over a century.
In this article, we’ll go over the many benefits of heatmapping from an SEO perspective. We’ll discuss why businesses should invest in it and what they can expect to get out of it.
Heatmapping Offers an Instant Overview of Your Web Page’s Performance
SEO often requires the use of various analytical and analysis tools. However, each tool has its own strengths. Heatmapping’s core strength is that it helps draw attention to glaring issues on a website that would otherwise be lost in a dense spreadsheet.
Scroll through a heatmap of your web page, and it will indicate the visibility of your pages, which parts are most engaging for visitors, and even where the mouse cursor hovers over the most. Geo heatmaps will reveal the location of most visitors so that you can then see if you’re getting traffic from the right parts of the country or world.
Web diagnostic heatmaps make the life of an SEO professional easier. For instance, the professional will be able to tell which areas of the website aren’t getting any attention, i.e. cold spots. They can then use that data to string together a plan to heat up those areas by making them more interesting for visitors.
Heatmaps Provide a Visual View of Otherwise Numeric Values
Heatmaps are worth a thousand numbers. Whilst they can be as accurate as a spreadsheet in terms of the hard data presented, heatmaps offer an advantage that rows of numbers can’t. A heatmap instantly shows you which parts of a website need your attention visually. Numerically that type of accuracy isn’t possible.
Take for instance a spreadsheet may allude to certain links having a very low click rate or that one page has an exponentially higher bounce rate than the entire website. However, a spreadsheet is incapable of explaining why that’s the case. When you view this same data in a heatmap, it will reveal things like a low click rate, possibly due to the link being buried in between a load of distracting elements. The higher bounce rate could be because a visitor to the page wasn’t able to find the “buy” button for instance or the “discount” button.
Heatmaps Help You Learn What Users Want
Many business owners think that your standard beautifully laid out website is enough to pull in loads of conversions. In reality, there is more to it than just beautiful design. We often talk about smart design, but that does not happen in a vacuum.
When it comes to something like improving the conversions on your landing page, heatmaps can help you understand what might be going wrong and how to improve it. For instance, a heatmap may tell you that visitors on your website are interested in that video demonstration further down below, but they are not scrolling back up to buy the product. That could indicate that they may buy if the option to purchase the product was near the video.
Heatmaps can also help you figure out your visitors’ navigation patterns. You can combine A/B testing with the heatmaps from both pages to predict how users perceive your page. Future designs can then be based on what you learn from here.
Heatmaps Also Help to Compliment Other SEO Tools
Now it may appear as though heatmaps may have all the answers you need, but that’s not the case. Heatmaps should be considered as one of the tools in your toolkit. They (heatmaps) are best used in conjunction with other tools like Google Analytics / Webmaster tools, and analytics plugin on your website, and a few others. The goal is to use heatmaps to find areas that need attention and then use the other tools to drill deeper into it.
Heatmaps Always Point to Areas of Interest Even When they Appear Confusing
As seasoned SEO professionals, we can sometimes look at a heatmap and feel overwhelmed. The numerous red dots, green dots, orange dots, etc., may all make it appear as though there are multiple areas of interest. However, take a quick look at the data, and it becomes easier to make sense of all those dots; we’re able to zoom in on areas of interest and identify the problem.
At times these dots may point to various areas of interest for our web designer, who can quickly take action to fix what may appear to be a UI issue.
Heatmaps Help You Deliver a Better Experience to Your Visitors
Your website’s design is at its very core, a communicative element. However, sometimes the message may not be getting across regardless of how obvious it may seem to the designer So, what should be a perfect landing page or product page, might be doing something wrong which isn’t communicating the point to a visitor effectively. Heatmapping helps you identify where things are going wrong, so you can find the relevant solution and help your business thrive.