For many companies, knowing who their users are and what they are looking for, can provide a lot of competitive power. A great way to accomplish this can be through increasing SEO ranking. Eye tracking proves how important it can be to use SEO when trying to optimize your online marketing. Improving SEO could mean the competitive advantage needed to beat out someone that is blocking your company’s ultimate potential.
Eye tracker was first created back in 2006 by a research firm Enquiro (now called Mediative). They conducted a heat-map through eye tracking showing where users spend most of their time when conducting searches online. They soon found that most users spend their time with their eyes in the upper-left area, where the shading was the darkest. Most people have identified this as the Golden Triangle. Referring to the mathematical isosceles triangle, this term was given from the heat signature that was given off due to the user’s eyes tracking in a triangular pattern at the top left of the page. The user’s eyes were drawn towards the keywords, titles, and descriptions in the organic search results rather than the website advertising, banner ads, email marketing, search advertising etc. Continuing with the use of shapes, users would then follow down the page in more of an “F-shape” pattern, focusing first on the top left of the page and then slowly moving down.
Eye Tracking and Universal Search
Google introduced Universal Search in response to this finding by moving away from simply viewing the 10 most relevant pages to showing other types of media like videos and images. This drew the eyes of the user away from that typical pattern to show more of a blended search. This is because the user interaction was drawn first to the media (photo or video), then to the text or content, creating portions of the page that would show up across the entire page. Enquiro just recently did a new study in 2007 showing what the blended search page looks like.
Evolution of Google Eye Tracking
Consumer’s attention has begun to move away from the “Golden Triangle” to a more vertical than horizontal approach. “Google is spitting out instant results on billions of our search queries a month in a way that’s radically different from how it used to do it. Not only has Google personalized results based on previous searches and myriad other things it knows about us, but it often presents direct answers to queries.” Many have theorized that the ever varying SERP makeup has pushed blue link results down lower on the page and therefore changed the attention of the users. This makes being the first or second link listed even that much more important. “Google SERPs have greatly evolved over the last decade and as a result, so have the ways in which searchers have been conditioned to behave.”
Eye Tracking and Why SEO is Important
Let’s review why this is so important for your business. Implementing a strong SEO strategy could mean that your company’s website could find itself at the top of those search results. As proven through eye tracking devices, your users spend most of their time at the top left of the page. Understanding that your consumer has a short attention span, and that they are attracted by media, could prove whether or not they choose your website. Eye tracking can also be used once the user has arrived at your webpage. “Where do we look? What do we ignore? When do we blink? How does the pupil react to different stimuli?”