Effective online marketing requires a comprehensive approach and a well-thought-out strategy. The same applies to SXO, meaning Search Experience Optimization. What is it? Why do you need it and how to refine the search experience to attract more customers? Keep reading to learn more!
What is SXO? It stands for Search Experience Optimization. It’s a way of optimizing SEO and UX so that they work together to improve your website traffic.
It’s a comprehensive set of on-site and off-site SEO, CRO, and UX activities that aims to attract the attention of as many users as possible through organic traffic from Google. It also provides them with valuable content, holds their attention, and eventually encourages them to take the desired action such as converting, making a purchase, submitting a form, or downloading PDF content.
Therefore, SXO combines elements like:
Content marketing – creating content that supports the user at all stages of the purchase decision and conversion path, and that responds to specific keywords and queries entered into Google by users. This involves refining the layout, quality, length, and formatting of website content; Read also: What Is UX Writing and How Does It Impact SEO
CRO (conversion rate optimization) – optimizing the conversion path to attract website visitors that generate leads and make purchases; Read also: How to Increase Website Conversion
Website development – optimizing website elements that involve improving page load speed, finding and fixing errors, optimizing files on the page, debugging HTML and CSS, updating robots.txt and sitemap files, introducing SSL;
UX/UI optimization – providing users with a friendly interface, visually pleasing design, and easy navigation. At this stage, you need to make sure your website is intuitive, the user journey is well-defined, your visuals are attractive and impressive, your content is transparent and formatted correctly;
Analytics – observing and drawing conclusions from gathered data and statistics (e.g. from Google Analytics or A/B tests). Analyzing user behavior on the website (e.g. with Hotjar).
Why Do You Need Search Experience Optimization?
The answer is simple – because it has many benefits. Focusing on Search Experience Optimization means the possibility to:
Generate more organic traffic from Google – if you manage to create a comprehensive and well-thought-out strategy that meets the needs of your customers at all stages of the purchase decision process, you'll quickly see an increase in web traffic as your website will appear more often in the search results;
Increase conversion rates – by optimizing the conversion path and providing users with valuable content that meets their needs, you’ll encourage them to take the desired action, such as making a purchase, submitting a form, or downloading PDF content;
Improve the quality of traffic – thanks to SXO you will not only increase the number of website visitors but also the number of those who are really interested in your products or services and are willing to convert;
Boost your positions in the search results – by optimizing your website for users’ needs, you’ll be able to provide them with valuable and useful content. All this will translate into their satisfaction and higher positions in the SERPs;
Get more leads and sales – increasing traffic, customers’ satisfaction, and your positions in the search results will help you generate more leads and improve sales.
How to Optimize the Search Experience?
What to focus on when devising your SXO strategy? Pay attention to the following elements.
Take Care of the User Interface
The first thing you should think about is the user interface. The design should be easy and intuitive so that users can understand how to navigate your website and find the information they're looking for.
Make sure you can easily add or update content. Keep your page transparent and easy to browse. Thanks to it, your page will be up-to-date and will bring value to users.
User-Friendly Web Design
The user-friendly web design is another aspect that’s worth your attention. The website should be easy to use and navigate. All the links ought to be working properly and the pages should load quickly to minimize the bounce rate.
It's also important to make sure that the website is mobile-friendly. More and more people are using their smartphones and tablets to browse the Internet and finalize transactions. For this reason, you should ensure that your website is properly displayed on these devices.
Ensure Good Structure and Navigation
Your website should have a proper structure and navigation. The users should be able to find the information they're looking for easily and quickly.
To achieve that, you need to create a clear hierarchy of the content, use proper headers, create clear and descriptive titles. Do you have a sizable page? Consider implementing a search function to help users find what they're looking for.
Speed up Website Loading Time
There is no Search Experience Optimization without fast website loading. It affects both UX and SEO.
A slow-loading website can frustrate users and lead to a higher bounce rate. There are a number of ways to speed up the loading time. You should start by optimizing images, getting rid of unnecessary elements, and using caching.
Content is one of the most important things you should focus on. It needs to be high-quality, unique, interesting, and useful. This will help you attract users and encourage them to stay on your website for longer.
Moreover, with the right strategy, you’ll be able to build lasting relationships with potential customers. This can convince them to choose your offer over the offers of your market rivals.
Remember About Search Intent
When doing SXO, don’t forget about search intent. It's important to create content that meets the needs and expectations of your target audience. Otherwise, you won’t be able to reach the recipients and convince them to stay with you for longer.
To do that, you need to understand what your customers are looking for and what kind of information they need. Only then, you'll be able to create pieces that will satisfy their needs and help you achieve your business goals.
Don’t Forget About Technical Optimization
Technical optimization is also an important part of the Search Experience Optimization you need to focus on. The right metatags can help you make your listings in the SERPs more transparent and will improve your website's position in the search results.
Make sure you use the right keywords in the titles and meta descriptions. They should be relevant to the content you offer and match the search queries of your target audience so that users can tell what to expect from your page already when looking at it in the search results.
Don’t forget to optimize your website for different devices. This will help you improve the user experience and reach a larger audience.
Use Your Sata
Data is one of the most important things you should focus on when doing SXO. Thanks to it, you can understand what users are looking for and what needs they have.
This information can help you create better content, improve the user experience, and make your website more intuitive.
To get the most out of data, you need to track the right metrics. These can include data about user behavior, the number of organic search visitors, the average time spent on the website, the bounce rate, and the number of pages viewed per session.
You should also track the performance of your content. This way, you'll be able to see what works well and what requires improvement. All this will help you fully benefit from the SXO potential of your website and content.
SXO Audit - What to Pay Attention to?
Since you know what SXO is and how to do it, it’s time to talk about the audit.
To plan a journey well, you need to know where are your starting point and the final destination. Just like SEO, your SXO strategy should be driven by data and recommendations obtained thanks to performing the SXO audit.
Such an audit is an in-depth analysis of your website based on elements like A/B tests or usability heuristics. It primarily verifies website navigation and internal linking between pages, content quality, page loading speed, mobile, and SEO friendliness.
Simply put: SXO audit = SEO + UX + CRO audit
Thanks to the SXO audit, you’ll find out if your website and content meet the expectations of users. The document should analyze elements such as:
Average time on website and pages
Why Do You Need an SXO audit?
Performing an SXO audit will help you determine the condition of your website, taking into account factors affecting both User Experience and Search Engine Optimization.
The SXO audit is the cornerstone of every optimization project. It’s a good idea to do it before you start your work so that you can plan the whole process in an efficient way.
The document can help you find out if there are any technical problems with your website that need to be fixed. What’s more, it’ll show you where your website is losing visitors and what can be done to improve the situation.
Last but not least, with an SXO audit, you’ll understand your users better and learn what their needs and expectations are. All this will allow you to prepare a tailor-made game plan that will help you better communicate with customers more effectively, increase their satisfaction, loyalty, and lifetime value.
SXO - Is It Worth It? The Takeaway
Search Experience Optimization is an effective way to grow your business and fully use its potential. The end-to-end approach to website development and SEO is gaining increasing importance and can make your business stand out from the crowd.
Not sure how to handle the SXO process and what to focus on? Choose an agency that can provide you with actionable SEO, UX, and CRO insights. Contact us!We’ll be more than happy to help you devise a data-driven SXO strategy tailored to your needs and goals.This is an update of an article published in 2021.
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