The world of internet marketing is constantly evolving. Technology is constantly changing, as are users, their habits, expectations and behavior. In response to the needs of users, there are still new trends in creating websites. Solutions created by marketers, UX specialists, web developers and representatives of other related professions are aimed at attracting a potential customer to the website and refining the user experience to make it as complete as possible, which ultimately translates into an increase in conversion.
SXO – Search Experience Optimization
Among the relatively new terms that should be taken into account when designing a corporate website, the SXO abbreviation, developed as Search Experience Optimization, comes to the fore of the pack. SXO is a combination of SEO (search engine optimization) and UX (user experience) terms that have been popular for years. In a nutshell, the idea is not only to effectively attract the search engine user and encourage him to enter a given page (with the help of SEO), but also to keep him on the page for longer and persuade him to convert thanks to the appropriate UX.
A refined SXO will work well with virtually any type of website. The most common conversion goals are:
– Online stores and widely understood e-commerce industry – main goal: increasing the number of transactions; additional goals are, for example, increasing the number of subscriptions to the newsletter or adding a product to the wish list;
– Service industry – main goal: increasing the number of leads, additional goal: for example downloading a PDF guide or filling in a survey;
– Content websites – main goal: increasing the user’s stay on the website, clicking on related articles, additional goal: for example, playing a video in the content.
Of course, the main and secondary goals can change places smoothly – it depends only on the industry and assumptions of the website owner. However, this does not change the fact that the emphasis on SXO (Search Experience Optimization) with the correct implementation of solutions will improve conversion – regardless of the specific goal.
But let’s start from the beginning. As mentioned above, SXO is a combination of two terms – SEO and UX. Let’s take a look at them in turn:
SEO – website positioning
SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, means positioning a website in search engines. This process is designed to ensure that the page in response to a specific phrase appears at the top of the search results – or at least on the first page of search results. According to statistics, few internet users, after entering keywords, visit websites placed outside the TOP10 of displayed results, and the farther away, the lower the number. If the site is not at least in the TOP50, it can be concluded that the site will not attract anyone to a given phrase, except for individual Internet users who are either very determined or “lost” during the search. The goal of every website owner who would like to increase traffic on a long-term basis at a relatively low cost (compared, for example, to advertising in social media or Google Ads systems), should be appropriate optimization.
Positioning is a complicated process – the position of a page in the Google search engine is influenced by over 200 different factors. Some are officially published by the Mountain View company, but many of them are not disclosed to the public. For this reason, effective SEO requires a lot of knowledge and experience, but also requires constant experimenting and testing new solutions.
SEO activities are basically divided into two branches. The first one is called on-site SEO and consists in adapting the website and its content to Google’s requirements. This includes:
– speeding up the operation of the site (users often drop out of the visit if the loading time is too long – after all, it’s all about time);
– appropriate responsiveness, i.e. the ability of the website to display properly on various devices (including mobile – smartphones and tablets);
– enriching the content on the website with long, substantive texts that are adequately saturated with key phrases – that is, words for which the website should be displayed to users in search engines;
– presentation of content in a friendly form – division into paragraphs, use of headings (H1, H2, H3), appropriate use of graphics, internal linking.
The second branch of activities is off-site SEO, i.e. activities carried out through other websites. Each link on a different site to the target site strengthens its “strength” – that is, it signals to the search engine’s algorithm that the page is valuable and its rank should be raised. First of all, the link parameter is important – the link can be marked as dofollow or nofollow – in the first case, the link “invites” the Google bot to go to the page, which translates into SEO. The nofollow parameter also allows the user to click, but will be ignored by crawlers, so positioning will be impacted to zero.
However, not all dofollow links are created equal. A link placed on a small, unknown page will not be of much value. The key to off-site SEO is acquiring links from as large as possible, widely recognized by web bots, pages that are themselves placed in top positions in the rankings.
Why SEO Matters?
It’s worth remembering that SEO is the most cost-effective option in the long term to generate traffic to your website. Both Google Ads and social media advertising systems in the hands of specialists can be effective marketing tools. When using these solutions, when we turn off the campaign, traffic immediately disappears. Positioning effects last much longer, which in the long run generate noticeably lower customer acquisition costs. By investing in SEO, you ensure that your business is always exactly where the potential customer is.
UX – User Experience
User Experience, i.e. the user experience, is the whole experience felt by the internet user visiting the website. UX is a multifaceted field, covering not only technical studies, but also psychology, cognitive science and other disciplines.
An important component of the user experience is the UI, i.e. the user interface. A UI can be called a demonstration of how a user gives commands to a program – for example, a content management system (CMS) on a website. Any fragment of a page that, when clicked, causes the page to execute a specific command can be considered a UI element. The interface, or more precisely its graphical representation (GUI – Graphical User Interface) is extremely important – it is responsible for the simplicity of navigation on the website and its intuitiveness, as well as various visual aspects. On some pages, the combinations of colors, fonts or even borders make the use of the site difficult to define, while on others – very similar – it irritates or arouses some anxiety. Color psychology, typography, compositional solutions and many, many more – all these elements must be taken into account when designing a website in terms of interface.
User interface is an important element of UX, but user experience is a much broader term. The UX specialist takes on the wallpaper, among others, the user’s profile – his digital competences, demographic aspects, brand persona. It is also an in-depth analysis of competing parties. The most important in the work of a UX specialist are extensive experiments based on recording sessions, generating heat maps, A / B tests, and even examining the user’s eye movements.
UX, and in a broader perspective also SXO, takes three perspectives into account:
– user (who cares about simple, trouble-free and pleasant use of the website);
– site owner (focusing on valuable traffic and high conversion rate);
– web bots (analyzing the website in various respects, which translates into a specific result in the search results).
Why UX Matters?
A well-designed user experience can completely change the statistics on the website. Forrester’s research from a few years ago showed that just redesigning the user interface can change the conversion rate by 200%, and changing the UX by up to 400%. These are the results that can certainly be considered a business game changer. Of course, this is an extreme case and in the vast majority of cases the results of the website reconstruction will not be that spectacular (it also depends on what level we are starting from). However, it cannot be denied that in the business context, any positive change may herald the survival or dynamic development of the company. UX audit is therefore the first step to improve the effectiveness of your own website.
SXO – the future of web development
Search Experience Optimization is an evolutionary form of approach to web development, which combines the advantages of website positioning and UX design, and at the same time focuses on maximizing conversions. According to SXO, the mere transition of the user to the page from the search results does not mean anything – it must be supplemented with a possibly personalized experience, based on a number of variables.