Definitive Guide To Heuristics or Empirical Evaluations

Definitive Guide To Heuristics or Empirical Evaluations

What are Heuristics

Heuristics is the use of knowledge and past data to make educated guesses about solving a problem

heuristics or empirical evaluations

In terms of search engines, it simply means enabling a user to discover or learn something for themselves.

There are two types of SEO Strategies

  1. Algorithmic SEO

Algorithmic SEO aims at satisfying Google Algorithm to outperform other websites in the SERP.

2. Heuristic SEO

Heuristic SEO aims at finding untapped oppurtunities in search based on sheer market research, customer behavior knowledge and analysis of emerging trends.
It leverages the fact that 15% of Google searches are absolute to the search engine.

Examples of Heuristics in an SEO Campaign


Co-Schedule’s is a popular work management tool.

The headline analyzer tool of Co-Scheduler is famous and started picking up traffic in late 2015 and went on to gain a massive amount of traffic throughout 2016s and later.

Through the Way Back Machine we could find that the particular page started gathering traffic since 2014.

At the same time, if you search for the term headline analyzer, the topic started trending since November 2014.

This clearly indicates that there was no one was searching for this term, before 2014, yet still the company went ahead and made a tool for this, which started trending afterwards.

This is a classic example of Heuristic SEO. It does not depends upon keyword research or what Google trends tell people are searching for.

In this, we make content on topics we believe will trend in the coming years. This is based on pure knowledge of your niche, customer avatar, and intuition.

The potential from heuristic analysis forces us to satisfy the search engines and users and to be a thought leader in our niche.

Deploying Heuristics of Website Usability

Jacob Nielsen first established heuristics for website usability in 1990. He Laid down 10 guidelines that make a website more suitable for human use. We will discuss 8 of those guidelines and how to optimize for them.

Guideline 1: The User should always be aware of the changes in the system through feedback.
SEO Implementation: Ensure the First Input Delay metric has a value below 100ms for your website.
Also, ensure your website is responsive by manually checking all buttons and moving elements.

Guideline 2: The System should always speak the User’s Language.

SEO Implementation: Make sure your content readability is acceptable as per the industry standards.
Also, make your words clear and simple. Don’t use jargon or too many technical terms. Remember the
KISS Principle (Keep it Simple..Stupid)

Guideline 3: Users should have full navigational control as well as the ability to undo an action.
SEO Implementation: Implement a breadcrumb structure in the body for navigational ease.
Also, implementing an HTML Sitemap in the footer gives full navigational access to the website.

Guideline 4: Consistency and standards apply to both languages and actions and should be predictable
across the Internet.
SEO Implementation: Make sure the theme of the website, colour, button dimensions, and animations are consistent across all pages.

Guideline 5: Users are frustrated by errors. Therefore, you should design your site with the prevention of
errors in mind.
SEO Implementation: Keep a check on your Google Search Console. Make sure all indexing issues are fixed, especially 4xx and 5xx errors.

Check the Page Experience Reports for UI-UX issues. Keep Core Web Vitals optimised for optimal

Guideline 6: Create your pages with clearly visible instructions, actions, and objects.

SEO Implementation: Keep clear instructions for users in order to perform an action.

Ensure your online marketing funnel is optimized with proper paths, links and CTAs to avoid dropoffs.

Guideline 7: The Site should be usable for both novice and experienced users.
SEO Implementation: Simply follow the KISS Principle (Keep it Simple…Stupid.
Avoid using excess CSS and Javascript elements. Also avoid complex procedures for completing a single action. All of this will improve UX dramatically.

Guideline 8: Help users recognize, diagnose, and recover from errors.

SEO Implementation: Make sure to implement a custom “404 Page” for any unexpected errors.
Also make sure to implement error messages whenever applicable.

Difference between Algorithmic SEO and Heuristic SEO

Algorithmic SEO is focused on satisfying Google ranking factors and users. Hence it is biased on pre-existing notions.

Heuristic SEO depends on covering untapped potential which depends on market research and a bit of intuition. It is unbiased.

The outcome is realized both in the short term and long term. On the other hand, the outcome is realized in the long term in most cases.

Outcomes are mostly predictable. On the contrary, actions are based on intuition and empirical evaluation of customer data. Hence is the outcome is less predictable.

Competition in most cases is generally high since almost all website builders try to integrate SEO. Besides, Heuristics is all about finding untapped opportunities. Hence the competition is low.