With all the websites out there, it can be difficult to make yours stand out from your competitors’. While you feel you’ve been optimizing your site for relevant keywords, building a strong backlink profile, and frequently updating your blog, you still may not be getting the results you desire. Web analytic tools can help you determine the effectiveness of your SEO strategies, but none can track user experience as well as heat maps.

Heat maps are a valuable tool in SEO campaigns, as they measure how your visitors are interacting with your web pages. A heat map displays the viewing and clicking behavior of users and presents a graphical overlay of your website. It traces how a visitor’s mouse cursor moves through the page and tracks mouse clicks. With this, you can you can see how often visitors are viewing your content and clicking on your links, advertisements and promos. Some heat maps also track eye movement and show where visitors most frequently look (and don’t look) on your page. The most frequently visited areas are shown in red, orange or yellow, while less frequented areas are shown in green and blue. Places that visitors don’t visit have no color.

Website owners should use a heat map on their high priority pages to determine how users are interacting with them. As a website owner, you can use the information to make improvements to their site to provide optimal user experience and increase traffic and conversions. You can redesign your website layout to cater to viewer browsing patterns, such as through placing ads, links and promo buttons in specific areas where visitors frequent. Also, this helps a website layout appear more concise because webmasters will no longer place ads and links all over the site hoping they get clicked on.

When it comes to redesigning your website with user experience in mind, consider these best practices:

  1. Place the most important content above the fold: A study found that while users may scroll down your page, they spend 80% of their time viewing information above the fold and only 20% below it. Viewing time increases at the very bottom of a web page. You should add some content to the bottom of your page because the last thing a visitor sees will remain in their mind the longest.
  1. Use a conventional layout: Another study found web users spend 69% of their time viewing the left half of a page, while only 30% view the right half.
  1. Utilize the F-shape pattern – A similar study used eye-tracking visualizations to find viewers often read web pages in an F-shaped pattern (two horizontal stripes followed by a vertical stripe).
  1. Be mobile friendly – According to Forbes, 74% of people use their mobile phone while shopping online, with 79% making a purchase as a result. Nine out of 10 mobile searches lead to action, and more than half lead to sales. This makes it ever so important for your website to deliver optimum usability from all electronic and mobile devices.

The benefits of using heat maps are huge. By incorporating heat maps into your competitive analysis strategy you can best see how your website compares to your competition. Through developing a better understanding of your website and your competitors’, you can adjust your web design and marketing strategies to surpass them.

For further assistance with heat maps and competitive analysis, contact our SEO experts at 1-888-932-4629. Click here to try our free competitive analysis tool.