There are many cutting edge technologies out there that seem beneficial for websites. Eye tracking measures eye movement or point of gaze relative to the head to approximate what people look at most on a website. Cursor tracking shows where a cursor went on a webpage, and where it rested.
In our experience with both website development and performance marketing, neither of these high-gloss tools has significant impact on SEO KPIs or website conversions. Not to mention they can often be finicky to install and maintain.
Heatmapping, however, is worth it. If you don’t have heatmapping software installed, you’re not learning as much as you could about how your website user experience impacts user behavior.
What to Know About Heatmaps for SEO
What Is Heatmapping Software?
A heatmap is a data analysis software tool that uses color, like a bar graph uses height and width, to help you easily visualize the impact of complex data.
Once installed on your website, heatmapping software generates visual data and accompanying reports about where clicks are happening on your web page. A heatmap can teach you:
What people are trying to accomplish on your website
Which links are getting the most activity
Which buttons or links aren’t getting any engagement
What’s converting on your website and what isn’t
How Does Heatmap Setup Work?
Depending on the platform you use, you may opt for the platform to set up and run heatmaps for you. But in some cases, your in-house marketing team or performance marketing agency may need to set them up manually.
Heatmap software setup varies according to the platform, but for our example, we’ll use CrazyEgg, the preferred platform for DodgeballSEO and our clients.
To get a heatmap up and running:
Set up an account with your preferred heatmap software platform.
Grab the unique tracking script from your software platform and insert it into your HTML code for that page.
Review the data generated by those heatmaps in your account dashboard.
“NOTE: Installing the Crazy Egg script involves copying and pasting the script into your web page(s) or in your header file. If you maintain your header information in a separate file, then you only need to install this script once. If you have your header information (code) on each of your web pages, then you will need to install this code on each page.” [See the Crazy Egg manual setup tutorial for more help.]
Why Is Heatmapping an SEO Best Practice?
Google wants to put quality content in front of search engine users that engages their interest and delivers what they’re looking for. If you have a high bounce rate (people landing on a page and then immediately “bouncing” off your site and back to their search results), your rankings will suffer.
Heatmapping helps you avoid high bounce rates and “trim the fat” by removing inactive or ineffective website elements. You can fix ranking issues related to irrelevant or unhelpful content more readily when a heatmap helps you pinpoint exactly where those issues are.
You can also make adjustments site wide to increase website conversions. For example:
If your heatmap tells you that something in your footer is getting a lot of clicks, put the same link in your header, too.
If a blog about a product or service is getting a lot of traction, create a landing page to promote it and link that to your home page. If not as many.
If you’re not getting a lot of clicks on your “Contact Us” header link, but the heatmap is lighting up wherever there’s a phone number, make sure there’s a clickable phone number in the top-left of your header area.
It’s Okay to Start Small
If you’re new to heatmap technology, don’t feel pressured to set up heatmaps and monitor them for your entire website. Think about what you’re going to measure first, and the pages where it’s most critical to gather data and analytics. Start there, and work as a team to determine your readiness to implement changes.
These changes can be slow and incremental. Just make sure you’re testing the changes and tracking their results, so you have ongoing insights around what works best for your websites and gets you more engagement and conversions.