Heatmaps In SEO Strategy - Semalt Experts

Heatmaps can help you to determine which places or elements on a website capture more the interests of the readers and generate traffic. How does this relate to the positioning and the SEO strategies? What are heatmaps and how to create it? Advise!

Heatmaps - what is it?

Heatmaps (in other words - heat maps or heat maps) are a data analysis tool that, in the internet marketing, represents graphically the behavior of the internet users visiting a given website. Heatmap takes data from the clicks and generates a graph in the form of a color map.

Each heatmap is divided into zones whose colors (from cold, e.g. various shades of blue, to warm - e.g. fiery red) indicate how popular the specific elements on the website are. Cold colors indicate the lowest level of engagement by the web surfers while warm colors indicate that the level of engagement is high.

There are the following types of heatmaps:
  • eye tracking / move heatmaps: these are heatmaps that indicate the places on the website that attract the attention of the internet users in particular - the heatmaps also analyze how the user moves the cursor on the page and where his eyes more often stop,
  • click heatmaps: these are heatmaps that show a graph - analysis of the clicks on a given element (logo, call to action button, navigation bar or internal link) on the page,
  • scroll heatmaps: these are heatmaps that reflect the places where the user uses the mouse and scrolls the content of the viewed website. Thanks to the scroll heatmaps, it is possible to trace how far down the page the reader reached before leaving it.

What is a heatmap for?

In very simplified terms, it allows you to define:
  • whether the clickable elements, such as the subscription form for the newsletter, are clearly visible and effective for the user,
  • if the website navigation is doing well and the user can easily find what interests him,
  • whether people visiting the website read the content published on it,
  • how popular the individual headlines are,
  • which elements of the website are the most often visited, viewed and clicked on by the Internet users,
  • what graphics on the website attract the most attention of the visitors,
  • where the important elements should be on the website.

The use of heatmaps in the internet marketing

Heatmaps are of a great importance for the effectiveness of the websites. In particular, its analysis is useful for assessing the effectiveness of the sales sites. Heatmaps can be used, for example, in:
  • e-commerce,
  • content marketing.


Heatmaps are worth using in the e-commerce. Knowing which elements of the website are the most interesting for the readers allows you to modify the page layout and to increase the conversion.
Instead of clicking a button that has no function, the user can click on a link leading to:
  • shopping cart,
  • registration in the loyalty club,
  • subpages with a promotion for a given product,
  • subpages with the randomly generated items similar to the viewed article that may be of interest to him.
Thanks to heatmaps, you can ensure the positive experiences of the customers making purchases, increase their satisfaction and encourage them to visit the online store again.

Content marketing

Another use of the heatmap is the content marketing. Thanks to the heatmaps, it is possible to trace which areas of the site the user spends the most time. It is a very helpful tip when we create various types of articles - specialized, how-to, etc.

The heatmaps allow the author of the article to know where the most important information should be placed and how the reader perceives the infographics, photos and the other additional elements contained in the content. The tool is also important in terms of the text length. If the heatmap shows that the rest of the published article is not popular with the internet users, it means that either the entry is too long or at the end of it there is a content that is not useful for the reader and does not interest him.

What are the uses of the heatmaps in the fields other than the internet marketing?

In addition to the internet marketing, the heatmaps are also used in the other fields, such as the molecular biology and genetics. Thanks to these heatmaps, it is possible to represent the level of gene expression in the analyzed samples. The heatmaps are also used to create various social statistics, to identify and analyze geographic, historical and archaeological objects.

How to create a heatmap?


The simple heatmaps can be created in a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet. For this purpose, a pivot table should be created and completed with appropriate data (e.g. the number of visits to the website in the last dozen or so days). Then you need to change the format for the numbers to custom.

The next step is to choose a conditional formatting and any option in the Color Scales tab (according to your preferences). The end result is a heat map that shows the frequency of a given phenomenon (e.g. interest in a given product or the number of visits to the website), depending on the factors indicated in the spreadsheet (e.g. number of days). This type of heatmap can be created in both 2D and 3D.

Other software

Heatmaps can be implemented in many different tools and programs. Apart from the spreadsheet, it can also be created in the R software. The free statistical program has the heatmaply package, thanks to which you can create interactive heat maps. Similarly to the JavaScript library for data visualization in the form of charts - AnyChart.

The function of generating heat maps also has a tool created by the giant from Mountain View - Google Fusion Tables. Thanks to it, the user can load data directly from the saved online documents on the Google drive. In turn, Zarget is worth mentioning among the paid tools. When you choose a program to create a heatmap, make sure that it supports not only the static elements on the page, but also the dynamic page views, e.g. sliders.

Ready heatmap for the website

To create a heatmap that is easy to interpret, you can also use a ready-made, dedicated software. Personalized heatmaps click tracking, scroll maps or call to action button effectiveness maps can be found in the offer of many SEO agencies. The cost of purchasing an SEO tool containing the heatmaps varies according to how many additional services are included in the package.

Heatmaps and SEO

Heatmaps can also play an important role in SEO audits and planning your website positioning strategy. The heatmap report generated by the analytical program allows you to quickly understand how the users interact with the website.

Thanks to this, it is possible to:
  • check the visibility of the website on the web,
  • analyze where to place the call to action buttons and the other interactive elements,
  • The identifying elements that work effectively on the website's reputation and those that require the optimization.
A transparent graph created in the form of a heatmap can be presented to the client or to the other decision-making person, along with a proposed change.

Click-through rate

Thanks to heatmaps, you can increase the click-through rate of the selected elements on the website. For this purpose, it is enough to analyze carefully the obtained results and then optimize the website so that the clickable elements are better exposed - e.g. move it to the places on the website that are most visited.

Time spent on the website / bounce rate

Heatmaps can be helpful in determining the amount of time, the average an internet user spends on a website. Longer the internet users visit, better is the position in the ranking of Google search results. A meticulous heatmap analysis can help to identify the problematic places on the page that are causing the user to leave the site. Thanks to heatmaps, it is also possible to determine which departments are popular and should be expanded.

Amount of content on the page / subpage

Heatmaps in the form of scroll maps allow you to determine whether the website provides sufficient answers to the questions bothering its recipients. If an article fully answers the user's question at the top of the content, there is no need for the user to scroll any further.

In a situation where the headline only partially answers a given question and encourages further reading, this movement can be seen on the heatmap. Similarly, when the user finds that a given entry will not solve his problem - then the graph shows the omission and the lack of further page scrolling. Thanks to the heatmaps, you can analyze whether the length of the published entries is appropriate and make the necessary changes to the website.

Site navigation and usability

Heatmaps are a good way to learn about the behavior of the users of a given website. Thanks to the heatmaps, you can follow how the reader browses the website and whether it is easy for him to learn the rules of its operation. A meticulous analysis of the results obtained provides a valuable knowledge about which the elements on the page are clearly visible and which functions are difficult for the readers or are ignored by them. Skillfully created and interpreted heatmaps allow to increase significantly the usability of your site (web usability), and thus an aspect that is also very important in terms of SEO.

Internal links

Anyone who deals with SEO and the positioning knows getting a high ranking in the search results. The internal links allow you to create the links between related departments on the website, it also establish a hierarchy of the published content. It is an element that makes the website content easier to read and improves its indexing by the search engine robots. Thanks to an in-depth heatmap analysis, it is possible to deduce where the clickable elements should be located on the page and then optimize the placement of the internal links and increase the traffic on the subpages.

How to correctly link internally?

Internal linking is not difficult as long as we know how to do it. There are several rules of proper conduct that will translate into quick and long-lasting results.

Anchors, anchors and one more time anchors

As in the case of the external linking, also the internal linking should not be based on the random phrases. There are two very important points to note:
  • Anchor should describe the page it leads to.
  • Choose the keywords you want to rank for.
For example, if you want your website to appear high in the search results for the phrase "E-commerce positioning", create the texts that relate to and contain just such a phrase. Thanks to this, both the users visiting you and the robots will know what to expect after clicking on this link.

In this case, it is also worth remembering that the creation of the anchors may consist of several words, and this is absolutely correct. However, you can not exaggerate - a link made of 20 words will not look good and, moreover, may seem suspicious in the appreciation of the Google robots.

The URL structure matters

When implementing the internal linking, the structure of the URLs used is also very important. What does it mean?
  • A fixed address structure should be used. If you link to your blog's home page, always use the same form all the time, for example: https:// semalt.com/blog/ , instead of alternating with https:// semalt.com/blog/index.php
  • Each subpage should have only one URL pointing to it.
  • Link only to the pages containing the HTTP 200 response code for which the server sends the correct response. In other words, do not link to the pages that generate e.g 404 error "page not found".
The internal linking performed in this way will be technically correct.

Outbound links

When it comes to the valuable outbound links, the strategy here is similar to the the one of internal links. Heatmaps are helpful in analyzing which places on the site are the most clickable and whether the outgoing links used so far arouse the interest of the readers and are perceived by them as reliable sources. Referring to the reputable sources is an unwritten sign of quality for the content posted on your site, both in the eyes of organic readers and Google crawlers, and can improve SEO. Knowing which external links are ignored by your readers and which external links are eagerly checked is therefore very valuable.


As you can see, the heatmaps are a very helpful tool in planning your SEO strategy. There are many different factors that affect the search engines' ranking of the internet search engines. At the same time, it is important to take care of the so-called user experience. The use of many different analytical tools gives greater opportunities to improve the website, which becomes more friendly to the visitors and at the same time, generates better sales.