The ActiveRain Stuff You Won't Find Anywhere Else on the Web

SEO and Blogging - The Importance of Visibility and Placement

SEO and Blogging - The beauty is in the "Eyes" of the beholder

Last week we did a class called "Are You Invisible" and had a great turnout with guest speaker Gary Clayberg from WA.  One of the topics during the SEO and Blogging discussion was about heat maps that show and reveal how the "eyes" of your traffic and visitors see your site and the search engine results. It's absolutely fascinating when you think about it, and it most definitely should be thought about after you read this.

Think of how long you spend reading a blog post vs skimming, or how much time you spend on that Google Search results page.  Do you scroll down?  Do you go to page two or three when there are seven million pages returned?  No. If you do, then you are unique and have way too much time on your hands. lol~  Take a look at these visual heat maps and then look at your own SEO results and your sites and Blogs. 

The research and results I'm sharing below apply to search engine optimization and your marketing efforts so I hope this helps.  How important is page positioning and rank in both Organic and Pay-per-click search results for visibility and click through in Google?  The new Eyetools Eye-Tracking Study verifies it's very important.  Notice the areas below the red-line and to the right of the page on the search example below.

Image source:

(PRWEB) -- A joint eye tracking study conducted by eye tracking firm Eyetools and search marketing firms Enquiro and has shown that the vast majority of eye tracking activity during a search happens in a triangle at the top of the search results page indicating that the areas of maximum interest create a "golden triangle." Snippet courtesy of PRWEB

There's a theory that the cosmetic appeal and placement of content on your Blog or site does make a difference.  It can and will have an impact on the results you're getting from your SEO and Blogging efforts.  It's not just content that is King, but where it's most "visible" and most viewed can truly help build your kingdom.  Are you like me and saving the punchline or important quotes for the wrong spot? :-O

Image source:

Researching this was an "eye" opener for me. (pun intended)  I'm warning all readers that this information may require you to do some rearranging and house-cleaning on your sites for the eyes that you're trying to reach too. 

Here's the part that most readers and viewers will miss according to the heat map image above: "No idea is so outlandish that it should not be considered with a searching but at the same time a steady eye."  Winston Churchill  "The way to see by Faith is to shut the Eye of Reason."  Benjamin Franklin  "That old law about 'an eye for an eye' leaves everybody blind.  The time is always right to do the right thing."  Martin Luther King, Jr.



"Learn More. Get More. Do More. Be More."

Comment balloon 64 commentsBrad Andersohn • February 07 2011 09:55AM


This is something totally new! I have never heard of this before now. It's amazing the tools that are being created and how fast they become outdated.......something cutting edge today will be obsolete tomorrow.

Posted by Larry Costa, Realtor, MA Real Estate (Century 21 Classic Gold, Carver MA) almost 10 years ago

Amazing tools out there...I see most of the important areas then are top and end...interesting!

Posted by Kristin Johnston - REALTOR®, Giving Back With Each Home Sold! (RE/MAX Realty Center ) almost 10 years ago

On a post, you can lose the reader if it is not set up correctly, no matter how wonderful the message or content.  Visuals can make a simple presentation seem remarkable.  The saying you can't judge a book by it's cover .. well these days the book won't even get opened unless it strikes that great first impression .. like a home.  Thanks for the great information!

Posted by Connie Goodrich, CRS ABR (McKinney Realtor)Texas (Keller Williams Realty) almost 10 years ago

Fantastic post Brad. Jay Thompson wrote something about heat maps recently that alerted me to their value for SEO. I like your way of breaking it down and helping me to visualize it. I think you may be right. I probably need to do some clean up on my site now.

Posted by Denise Hamlin, Broker/Owner, Helping Happy Clients Make Smart Choices (Cardinal Realty ~ 319-400-0268) almost 10 years ago

Hey Larry - I spent a couple days researching this in my spare time and have to agree with the results based on my own personal searching and blog reading activities.  People move so much faster online these days because the "eye" can.  One thing we'll never have to worry about on the information super-highway is a traffic jam.  lol~

Posted by Brad Andersohn, ActiveBrad - 707.646.1876 (Executive Director of Education at eXp Realty) almost 10 years ago

Thanks Brad I am off to check out this new tool!!

Posted by Ritu Desai, Virginia Realtor-Fairfax/Loudoun/PW-703-625-4949 (Samson Properties) almost 10 years ago

Brad, Very interesting.  And I know just what you mean about how readers "read" the page.  I do the same.

Posted by Susan Brown (Keller Williams NE, Kingwood Texas (Humble & Atascocita too)) almost 10 years ago

In my past corporate life I spent years in marketing application development tools. When user interfaces became GUIs, we had millions of programmers dropping junk all over the screen. We had to teach programmers that users expect certain types of information in certain places. People discredit an application if it doesn't automatically present data where the brain expects to find it.

This phenomanon is my #1 beef about the proliferation of tools that allow bloggers to create their own layouts. Headway, for example is a slick little tool for designing "whatever you want". But the problem is that users of any website, in this case real estate sites, have their expectations conditioned by sites they frequently visit. All the large real estate sites I can think of have a single line search bar about 20% of the way down in the center, drop down menus for additional criteria on the left, and a map interface on the right.

When Zillow changed their UI last week it threw me while I looked for data entry fields in the places they used to be. I'll get used to it, as will all users, but it is a great example of this phenomenon.

This has enormous implications for the real estate blogger. Since most people who read your blog have also spent time on the major aggregator and broker sites, they will intuitively expect the information to be presented in the way they expect. If you make someone spend too long interacting with your UI, they never get to your content.

BOB STEWART: If you see this, this is proof that  the Community Page needs to be changed. It wastes valuable real estate with the too large photo.

Posted by Leslie Ebersole, I help brokers build businesses they love. (Swanepoel T3 Group) almost 10 years ago

Brad, another excellent, informative post to help us keep our blogs vibrant and interesting to read. Thanks...

Posted by Craig Snead, Real Estate Investor (Quality Home Investments, LLC / Dearborn Heights, MI) almost 10 years ago


Great post; There was some extensive research done. Perhaps you were the one who shared it. Readers tend to scan the page like a large capital letter F.  You post today seems to reflect a similar finding.



Posted by Steve, Joel & Steve A. Chain (Chain Real Estate Investments & Mortgage, Steve & Joel Chain) almost 10 years ago

I've seen heat maps before and always thought they were interesting...but am unsure how to parlay that into a "best selling" type format.  It would also be interesting to mesh this info with what we know about SEO and how Google "sees" things.  I read this week that Google does not like videos on the home page - it's considered an ad or spammy, but likes it elsewhere on a site or blog.  So many pieces to try to patch together!

Posted by Mary Pope-Handy, CRS, CIPS, ABR, SRES, Silicon Valley (Sereno Group Real Estate) almost 10 years ago

Thanks Brad for keeping us abreast of the latest tools and gadgets.  The visual makes it easy to "see" the importance of proper placement of what you want your viewers to see and read.  Maybe we need to put the "punchline" first and the story last...

Posted by Dan Quinn, Dan Quinn (The Eric Steart Group of Long & Foster Real Estate) almost 10 years ago

Interesting stuff, book marked for closer look later today,

Posted by Gerry Michaels, GettysburgGerry Social Meida (Glasswork Media Arts) almost 10 years ago

Mind blowing stuff.  There is absolutely so much to learn.

Posted by Paula McDonald, Ph.D., Granbury, TX 936-203-0279 (Beam & Branch Realty) almost 10 years ago

Very interesting stuff here Brad. Since we're trained to read from left to right, and from up to down, our pages need to follow this pattern to keep the reader from clicking away.

Posted by Craig Rutman, Raleigh, Cary, Apex area Realtor (Helping people in transition) almost 10 years ago

Brad, isn't this heat map simply where the mouse tracks? And I typically let the mouse sit anywhere when reading or writing or whatever... so how can this truly tell you what someone is looking at on a particular page.. ? Unless they scroll or click of course..

Posted by Tammy Emineth, Content Marketer, SEO Teacher, Website Fixer (Personal SEO - Website SEO and Real Estate Marketing) almost 10 years ago

Brad- I'm still trying to grasp this post (and BTW thank you once again for generously sharing your knowledge) but will have to say that while I subconsciously knew of the importance in "staging" a page, I never gave it any real thought.    I will now.

Posted by Kathy Streib, Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224 (Room Service Home Staging) almost 10 years ago

Kristin - it is amazing how much we can learn from these studies.

Connie - you are right on.

Denise - thanks.  Jay Thompson is someone I respect and follow.  Glad you liked my version.

Ritu - go learn and have fun.

Susan - lets change the word "read" to "view" instead.   :-)

Leslie - It's great that sites like Zillow and ActiveRain listen to their members and "viewers" yes?

Craig - just make sure your vibrant happens sooner than later.  (I need to practice what I preach! lol)

Steve - scan or view IS the new read.

Mary - there are many theory's out there to piece together for sure.  If our "eyes" are opened to something that makes sense and works, then we adopt it or make the necessary changes as we see fit.  I think this stuff is very interesting myself. 

Dan - exactly what I was thinking. I'm one who can't tell a joke because I always blow the punchline too early or in the wrong spot. lol~

Gerry - see ya when you come back... bet you won't scroll down here though. Prove me wrong and leave a comment if you do. :-O

Paula - this is a huge observation and will hopefully help some folks out there, it did wonders for me.

Craig - trained or brainwashed, it's how we roll.  I guess that's why it makes so much sense?  :-)

John - glad you found this uSEOful~

Tammy - here's some details about the eye tracking process and the frequently asked questions.  I didn't see in my research that it had much at all to do with a floating, sitting, or read-as-you-go mouse use.

Kathy - it will make more sense as you trace your own reading and search result activities.  I was fascinated by how I travel and read around the web once it was no longer a subliminal routined activity.

Posted by Brad Andersohn, ActiveBrad - 707.646.1876 (Executive Director of Education at eXp Realty) almost 10 years ago

Wow, this is amazing.  Good stuff, thanks for helping us work smarter!

Posted by Janna Scharf, Coeur d'Alene Idaho Real Estate Expert (Keller Williams Realty Coeur d'Alene) almost 10 years ago

Awesome information Brad, as always!  I'm sure I need to "do some rearranging and house-cleaning on MY sites"

Posted by Nyssa Smith, REALTOR, State College Area Real Estate (Keller Williams Advantage Realty) almost 10 years ago

As usual, great information, Brad!  Can I hire you to rearrange my site?!  LOL  Seriously, I've got someone working on it now and will send her this post if she hasn't already seen it.  I totally agree with the concept because folks have brought things to my attention that I totally missed because of the way I scan pages.  I think we all have different methods of scanning but, if the majority scan in the manner which they shared, then we need to make TRIPLE-sure that our sites are appealing to the eye!


Posted by Debe Maxwell, CRS, The right Charlotte REALTOR! ( | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310) almost 10 years ago

Interesting, more to think about now when writing a post!

Posted by Markita Woods NMLS#196099, Queen of Mortgages - FHA, VA, Conventional, USDA (American Financial Network) almost 10 years ago

Brad I couldn't agree more with your post. Our research into lead capture has proven out again and again that this study is the oracle of sagely advixe regarding capturing your audience attention. Once we had adopted this kind of thinking into our real estate search and lead capture form placement, we saw an increasing rate of capture on our search sites and community information pages. We are now approaching a 10% lead capture rate as we dial in on placement of the right message for the right audience.


thanks for bringing this to light of the community,



Posted by James Harner, James Harner Group - Philadelphia PA Real Estate (Considering Selling Your Home? Call 610-310-7646 first) almost 10 years ago
Brad, Great to see you, well sorta. LOL. Excellent info for all of us, not just the rookie blogger.
Posted by Margaret Woda, Maryland Real Estate & Military Relocation (Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc.) almost 10 years ago
Great info - thanks Brad. Looks like i have some work to do !
Posted by Karen Pannell, Owensboro KY Real Estate -270-903-2167 Homes, Cond (Real Living / Home Realty) almost 10 years ago

Good stuff, Brad. Maybe I'll switch my posts from the boring white background to the livelier heat map look. :)

Posted by John Novak, Henderson, Las Vegas and Summerlin Real Estate (Keller Williams Realty The Marketplace) almost 10 years ago

The "hot spots" for eyes appear to be the very same as the "hot spots" I learned about in the newspaper gig 26 years ago.  I have gotten away from some of the "old school" stuff I learned in my years of newspaper marketing... like white space, position ect... and focused so much on content.  I can see after reading this that although content is equally important, don't forget the basics.

Posted by Tammy Lankford,, Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville (Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668) almost 10 years ago

Brad - this is an excellent read, and bookmarked for further reading and as a reminder. We know how Google searches a we read, but this adds new information that should not be ignored. Goon visit to learn more.


Posted by Jeff Dowler, CRS, The Southern California Relocation Dude (eXp Realty of California, Inc.) almost 10 years ago


Amazing information... so glad you shared this with us.  I learn so much from you.  Thank you for helping us help ourselves to be better at what we do... appreciate it!

Posted by Linda D. Pufford, ASPM, Marin/Sonoma Home Stager (Stage with Divine Style - Home Staging) almost 10 years ago

Great topic.  I prefer sites that get to the point quickly and remain on point.  From my perspective, (just my personal opinion) I associate all the distractions (cool blinking gadgets, widgets, and other things that make you fidget) with the "bait and switch" scheme.

It appears that the companies selling the technology are frequently the ones selecting the test group for the study.  Good marketing or conspiracy theory? 

My point is that your business web site presentation should be consistent with your business service presentation.  Bland to Wild.

Posted by Jim Mushinsky (Centsable Inspection) almost 10 years ago

Have you heard of MouseFlow?

I just say it on TechSavy Agent this week, and it was similar to what you have shown us here.

Posted by Missy Caulk, Savvy Realtor - Ann Arbor Real Estate (Missy Caulk TEAM) almost 10 years ago

Great topic...great information. Thank you Brad!


Posted by Ben Balsbaugh (PMZ Real Estate) almost 10 years ago

Great information, Brad.  

The area(s) of the web page that a visitor's eyes fall upon is Prime Real Estate.   What a shame when Web Designers place the most important stuff on the parts of the page that get no eyeballs.

Posted by Fred Griffin Tallahassee Real Estate, Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker (Fred Griffin Real Estate) almost 10 years ago

Wow, this is awesome.  Funny, i read research about a year ago that suggested the lead capture page or call to action should always be in the upper left corner.  For a while I tried to get it there but the word press blog templates I work with don't make it easy.  This absolutely confirms this research...Good Stuff!

Posted by Kate Bourland, Onlilne Marketing Mobile Marketing (Marketing with Kate) almost 10 years ago

Neat stuff. No wonder my son (my SEO) keeps telling me that the top 3 spots on the first page of Google are the most crucial. Some study from over 10 years ago found that there's a 42% chance of a viewer clicking on the top result in the SERPs, and that percentage decreases exponentially as you go down the list.

Posted by Lydia Lucas (Prudential CT Realty) almost 10 years ago

Used to be all we had to worry about was content. Today SEO, placement, viewing patterns, etc. We all know the internet is going to play a larger part in  our ability to attract business so it's great to have new information brought to us. Thanks for the education!

Posted by Wayne Thompson, CMB (Walden Mortgage Group) almost 10 years ago

I've seen other heat maps, but never eyetools. Thanks for the mention. I am at the point now where I need to fix some leaks.

Posted by Vickie Nagy, Vickie Jean the Palm Springs Condo Queen (Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate) almost 10 years ago

That is really cool information. unfortunately The home search widgets on my Wordpress blogs are in exactly the wrong places!

Posted by Rich Cederberg, eXp Realty Agent Albuquerque (eXp Realty) almost 10 years ago

Brad very interesting information.   I have read about this sometime ago and I suspect I will need to make some changes.

Posted by Jennifer Fivelsdal, Mid Hudson Valley real estate connection ( JFIVE Home Realty LLC | 845-758-6842|162 Deer Run Rd Red Hook NY 12571) almost 10 years ago

It makes me wonder if I should change my Wordpress blogs around. . my "hooks" values are all on the right column. . they all should be on the left!

Posted by Fernando Herboso - Broker for Maxus Realty Group, 301-246-0001 Serving Maryland, DC and Northern VA (Maxus Realty Group - Broker 301-246-0001) almost 10 years ago

Brad, The way technology is going, I expect there to be a future scan device for the reader to determine if it is even worth the readers time.  I think that I need to look at my punch line placement for sure and see where I am putting the biggest bang.  Thanks for pointing this out and helping us grow.

Posted by Navona Hart, Selling the Best Properties in Central Virginia (Real Living Cornerstone) almost 10 years ago

Hi Brad - The heatmap concept is very interesting.  A large number of websites are poorly designed with links etc. in unexpected area.  I will need to study this area further and see how to implement it on my websites.

Posted by FN LN almost 10 years ago

Brad - Great stuff.  We used to use these techniques on some of our package designs when I was in marketing.  I'm going to need to check my results on google to see where my lines start/stop on the left.  Not sure how to influence that on my blog but I think I can on my website pages.  I htink Fernando has the right idea here.

Also, it looks like eyes focus on #'s and I've read that before (and personally experienced) and that's a good reminder to add in some #'s (selectively)  Not sure if a phone # has same impact but certainly things like "top 10 reasons...."

Posted by Debbie Gartner, The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers (The Flooring Girl) almost 10 years ago


The Ayes Eyes have it!  Need to put on my thinking cap to see how I can improve based on this.

Posted by Irene Kennedy Realtor® in Northwestern NJ (Weichert) almost 10 years ago

I have 2 clients that kill me.  One is and engineer and the other is a English Lit major.  Both run unrelated companies, but they both believe that more is more and web sites are not complete without scads of information on each page. 

I set up a landing page with my way (bullets and graphics) and a landing page their way (scores of information).  Showed them we out performed them 3 to 1.  Both couldn't get away from the overtext and both still wonder why each lead costs them as much as it does.


Posted by Chris Mayr (D3 Interactive Marketing) almost 10 years ago



This is very significant. It does suggest a rearrangement in terms of presentation. Thanks,



Posted by Brian Madigan, LL.B., Broker (RE/MAX West Realty Inc., Brokerage (Toronto)) almost 10 years ago

This is very interesting ... I'm not quite sure what to do with it yet.  But, now that I'm aware of this, as I browse or, I'm sure I'll see things differently!!!

Posted by Stephen Howell, Annapolis MD Homes For Sale 443-994-8043 (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage) almost 10 years ago

Brad, Very interesting. So much to learn still and so little time!!!

Posted by Connie Harvey, Realtor - Nashville TN Real Estate (Pilkerton Realtors) almost 10 years ago

Hmmmm, rethink, redesign...much to  think about and improve upon!

Posted by Lawrence "Larry" & Sheila Agranoff. Cell: 631-805-4400, Long Island Condo and Home Specialists (The Top Team @ Charles Rutenberg Realty 255 Executive Dr, Plainview NY 11803) almost 10 years ago


Yup I have seen something like this before when it comes to user interface design models at PARC. The big thing is understanding how humans think, behave and respond. Great stuff and thanks for sharing...


Posted by Brent Wells, Real Estate Broker serving all of North DFW (The LivingWell Team) almost 10 years ago

wow, great info.  it shows you can not get placement with blogging.  always blog and always try to improve your blogging. 

Posted by David Krichmar, ( - Legend Lending) almost 10 years ago

Interesting info! I'm always looking for ways to improve my blog and tips like this are very helpful. Thank you!

Posted by Bill Ness,, Active Adult Community Guide ( almost 10 years ago

I think there must be some exceptions to this theory as all our contact information and widgets of value are located on the right hand side of our AR Blogs.  So many members on AR have experienced great success and received business so "eyes" must be wondering over to the right as well.  I'd love to see a heat map from those who visit ActiveRain and our Blogs, maybe we are changing the way consumers and visitors look and see things?!?

Posted by Brad Andersohn, ActiveBrad - 707.646.1876 (Executive Director of Education at eXp Realty) almost 10 years ago

More evidence that your content needs to make it into the top 3 spots on google to be read.  I think with Google the heat map is the result of people's adjustment to knowing where to look for the most relevant info.  It would be interesting to see if the paid ads moved to the left side rather than the right.

Posted by Steve Roake, Get Moving With Steve (The Freedom Group - Keller Williams Realty Infinity) almost 10 years ago

Brad - you always bring out the goodies. I missed the class, but have this marked for further review =}

Posted by Roland Woodworth, eXp Realty (eXp Realty) almost 10 years ago

Brad, heat maps are always so interesting and the "placement" of where you put things on the site and where people click.

Posted by Gary Woltal, Assoc. Broker Realtor SFR Dallas Ft. Worth (Keller Williams Realty) almost 10 years ago

Brad - on the left vs. right thing for widgets, etc...we are trained to read left to right.  Left is meant for navigation so just moving all the widgets will confuse people. And, the logic is they read the post, and if they like you, they will go to the right for the widgets and want to learn more. That's like a call to action and moving them will prob. make them less effective since no one will click on them until after.  putting them before will actually confuse the reader and then they are less like to read or take any action.

Posted by Debbie Gartner, The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers (The Flooring Girl) almost 10 years ago

Debbie - I totally agree with that observation and you can bet that was strategically thought out by the AR dev team.  It goes to show that the research with these heat maps may be accurate on some or many pages and sites, but does not apply to all.  The thing we all need to keep in mind is that no matter where and what you put up on your blog or site, give great value quickly and keep it simple.  :-)

Posted by Brad Andersohn, ActiveBrad - 707.646.1876 (Executive Director of Education at eXp Realty) almost 10 years ago

When I moved my featured listing from the right side to the left side on my website... it got 50% MORE hits a month over the same period of previous year.  I moved it 8 months ago and today I pulled all my stats and ran the month over month numbers.  My total month over month for same period for unique visitors was only 17% more.  I guess left is better.

Posted by Tammy Lankford,, Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville (Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668) almost 10 years ago

Brad, this is one, I'll have to come back to when I'm not so tired.  Thanks so much for sharing!!!

Posted by DeeDee Riley, Realtor - El Dorado Hills & the Surrounding Areas (Lyon Real Estate - El Dorado Hills CA) almost 10 years ago

Fascinating stuff!  Thanks for sharing.  It's definitely important to understand our consumers and how they view our blogs and sites.  I agree that since we learn to read top to bottom and left to right, that on some level this is common sense.  That said, I'm sure there are some artistic and well-designed exceptions.  For most of us, though, it makes sense to take things like this into consideration.

Posted by Tara Cummins, Marketing Concierge, Strategy4SuccessNow (Stratagy4SuccessNow) almost 10 years ago

Mark - yes. They say 7 seconds or Fail. :-)

Posted by Brad Andersohn, ActiveBrad - 707.646.1876 (Executive Director of Education at eXp Realty) almost 10 years ago

I have seen this before and it is very interesting...I learn something new here everyday.

Posted by Dave Sulvetta, Realtor (Dave Sulvetta, ReMax Connection, Gloucester County Realtor) almost 10 years ago

In many ways, visibility is the currency of the Internet. Visibility has been commodified and packaged into neat resources such as Facebook Ads, Google Adsense, SEO rankings, LinkedIn, etc.

Posted by Inna Ivchenko, Realtor® • Green • GRI • HAFA • PSC Calabasas CA (Barcode Properties) over 3 years ago