How to Recognize Reading Patterns in Content Marketing

By Stephanie Diamond

A good starting point for making your content alluring to readers is to understand how people read. Eye-tracking studies have determined that people use two eye patterns when viewing content, as follows:

1The Z pattern

Picture a Z. Using this pattern, readers’ eyes move from left to right and then down, and then left to right again.

When you’re composing your blog posts and web pages, it’s helpful to know how readers will be scanning your content. Using either an F or Z pattern, you know they will start at the top and read the headline. Then their eyes will scan down and across in some fashion. Put the most important content in the area of the page where you know they will look first.

2The F pattern

Using an F pattern, readers’ eyes move left to right, and then back moving from right to left, and then right, and then down. To further clarify, three versions of the F pattern are shown here as heat maps.

Instead of trying to force your readers to read every word, facilitate their need for speed. Your readers aren’t likely to spend a long time poring over your articles. According to the Nielsen Norman Group, they’ll read about 27 percent of the words on a page. Therefore, one of your jobs as a content marketer is to make your articles easy to skim.