Sunday, January 25, 2009

Website Optimisation - Eye Metrics

As I've previously mentioned, 2009 is going to change the way Search Engines provide their results.

Some things however, never change. You may have heard many times of the importance of page navigation, but what does this actually mean?

Page Navigation

Page Navigation or good page navigation, in a nutshell, means that visitors to your site should not have to move around and find the right places to click links to get to where they want to go. Once upon a time, all links used to be blue (because most browsers are programmed to see links as blue by default), so it was easy to see which parts of a website could lead you to other pages. Certain research suggests that this is still a great way to go - but, more and more, modern websites choose different methods of guiding their visitors to where they want to go. This could be call to action buttons, clickable images, offer buttons ("get 25% off now", etc.)

Barcelona SEO - Eyetools

There is one thing however, that hasn't changed in at least the last 10 years, just that recently technology has been able to explain and justify why. This is what people look at when they first see a page.

Eye Metrics

The funny image above is actually a snapshot of a SERP from Google but with clever eye metrics information super-imposed on top. This basically shows where exactly people looked on this page and for how long (the colours are self-explanatory) and works the same for almost any website - regardless of the content. Website users (normal people like you and I), have been conditioned to view pages in a certain way. The same way that when you pick up a newspaper, you scan the pages and don't necessarily read the whole newspaper as if it were a book. This same principle applies to a website, with a remarkably high percentage of users focusing on the top left hand side of the page, then the title of the page and then back to the navigation bar which is almost always at the left, just below the first thing the user saw (maybe the logo, for example). No surprises, you might say, that's what I do. OK, so how can this information help me on my website?

Well, first of all, make sure your most important information is at the top of your page. Make this your unique selling point. This sounds obvious, but there are many websites out there that give an introduction to their company, or a history lesson with regards their sector.

Above the fold.

Note that expression. Most successful websites have a single column navigation, because this controls the way that your user views your site. The same as a sales pitch decides when and where to drop the sales techniques, a single column web structure is easier to control in terms of what you want your visitors to see.

However, many visitors will not scroll down below the first part of your site which appears in their browser, and will click out or hit the back button. Imagine your site as one long piece of paper, but each time the screen reaches the end of the browser, then that is a "fold". You need to keep all of the important information "above the fold", so you ensure that your website visitor is seeing your unique selling point as soon as they hit the page.

This post goes hand in hand with some of my other recent posts regarding How to keep visitors on your website.

Like what you're reading? Contact me at Barcelona SEO for ways I can improve your conversion rate and maintain those website visitors as real customers, too.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Eye Metrics is amazing and thank you for all the info. I didn't realise there was so much to it. Fascnating stuff!

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