To optimise your digital strategy, you should start by assessing how Internet users read a web page.
According to recent studies conducted by Nielsen on the monitoring of Internet users’ gaze, information scanning behaviours are similar from one individual to another. Today, people “scan” what they see on the Internet rather than read it verbatim. A phenomenon that requires more creativity on the part of web page designers and which has been clearly anticipated by Google.
For advertisers and SEO experts, this is yet another reason to focus on Rich Snipets and especially on Google My Business!
But what is “Eye tracking”?
In order to analyse the way Internet users look at a web page, the “eye tracking” method has been implemented. This method traces the look of a user when he is on an interface. It allows to evaluate the visual design but also to study what people read and do not read on a page.
The resulting studies make it possible to analyse the visual behaviour of users by means of “eye maps“. For example, “thermal maps” measure the time a user stays focused on specific points on the page.
#1 The linear model
On pages divided into cells each containing a distinct content, studies show that looks begin with the top left cell, then move to the right to the end of the row, down to the next row, then move to the left to the end of the row, down to the next row, and so on (this pattern can be compared to that of a lawnmower methodically sweeping a field of grass back and forth motion.
These arrows below indicate how eyes move. In that case, eyes move in a row from left to right, and then down to the other row below from right to left and so on. This pattern is called the lawn mower model.
#2 The zigzag model
But the increase in the number of features, especially those offered by Google, have led to the development of a new model: the zigzag model. This model illustrates the view of an Internet user who goes from one result to another, without going through a linear path.
This model is called the “zigzag” model because it is characterized by “bouncing” effects between the right sidebar and the central column of results.
Google My Business: a revolution for search engines
The new features offered by Google in recent years have had a significant impact on the behaviour of users when they visit a search page. Indeed, Google uses a variety of features to:
- Attract more attention from its users,
- Modify search results (by offering several alternatives to a search presented in different forms without the user leaving the page)
- Provide quick answers – which leads to a sharp increase in no-click searches.
The amount of time each user spends processing information online depends on four factors:
- Their level of motivation,
- The type of task they have to handle,
- Their level of concentration,
- Their personal characteristics.
Nowadays, we have to understand the fact that users no longer read all web pages and in a linear fashion. Indeed, they are satisfied with the “minimum” and read only the information they need at the moment. Today, this observation was clearly anticipated by Google, which provides answers to its users’ questions, even before they ask them.
In order not to lose the attention of the Internet users who visit your site, here is what we recommend:
- Use clear headings and subheadings to visibly separate your content
- Put your main information at the top of the page, so that users see your message quickly at a glance.
- Use visual techniques (bullet points, bold text, flashy colours etc.) to draw the attention on a specific location
- Have a simple and structured speech, so as not to risk losing its audience.
Especially in SEO, we advise you to pay attention to your listings’ cover picture. You can also add calls-to-action via secondary urls, fill in your attributes; control your average score or even make Google Posts to attract the attention of Internet users on news or promotions.
Do not hesitate to contact Partoo if you have any questions or doubts.