SXO is a novel digital marketing approach, or rather a new way of combining SEO and UX, whose aim is to improve the online user experience. Ravana, a digital marketing strategy consultant, delivered a brief introduction to SXO in a quick interview I carried out barely a few weeks ago, at a time when freedom still meant something, in between lockdowns. In this transcript, you will find out about the main principles of SXO, a topic well-worth digging deeper into.
SXO: combining SEO and UX for a better customer and user experience
SXO is a compound word that encompasses SEO and UX, linking both of these concepts to the online customer journey and leading to a call to action (CTA), which may even lead to purchase.
SXO is about improving the user’s search experience for any kind of online conversion.
SXO is applicable to eCommerce, product presentations, recruiting registrations for a webinar, collecting email addresses, etc. The aim is to use all possible means of search, paid or organic to retrieve information and make users’ lives easier.
It’s still a budding concept even though it is not really new per se, but it is becoming increasingly popular, as shown in this story by CWT Advertising.
In 2020, conducting a user-centric strategy will be conducive to improving the SEO of your website. It is no longer a question of “only” attracting eyeballs; one must also deliver a second-to-none experience so that visitors keep reading, and coming back to your pages.
Your thinking should focus more on SXO than on SEO. In other words, SEO strategy and user experience will become one, hence the Search eXperience Optimization moniker.
It is about making it easier for a user to find me (re Google’s inevitable ZMOT concept, Zero Moment of Truth), and then lead this visitor to my Website and drive her to perform a particular action.
Here I’m talking about acquisition, social ads, SEO or even paid, and using all that part of acquisition which are related to SEO, content techniques, rich snippets, etc. The aim is to use all these tactical gambits to direct people on my site.
SXO is rather ahead of its time. You have to look at your eCommerce site or your digital device, whatever it is, as a platform that you will evolve, transform and enhance along the way and in the long run.
The idea is to consider traffic conversion from the outset, from the moment people search, and not just when they have arrived on the Web site
The techniques used are keywords, the use of rich snippets too, to properly index your products and add, for example, product reviews in SERP response pages.
Such tools and techniques are what will make it possible to improve your conversion rates.
Special skills required for SXO and user experience improvement
Dual skills are needed. We should think both in terms of SEO and UX, with a business and UX-centric point of view.
SXO is not new, it’s a new way of thinking about your products or websites, beyond silos
Currently, many SEO managers and bloggers are talking and writing about it. We all know that Web performance is important, that the technical architecture of a site is vital, that acquisition is crucial, but SEO experts are not necessarily good at UX, and user journey optimisation on websites is not necessarily their cup of tea.
As a result, they have a vested interest in starting to work on SXO
On the other hand, UX experts are also rather frustrated because they want to know how business can benefit from all this SEO stuff, they want to understand where users come from, and provide the best possible onsite experience.
It is a question of trying to qualify one’s personae and, at the same time, putting oneself in one’s users’ shoes, from an acquisition point of view, from an onsite experience point of view, research perspective, etc.
There are several ways of looking at it. As far as I am concerned, I approach it both from a technical and marketing perspectives. This is because I’m a techie originally, and at the same time, I learned SEO on the job, and UX too, even before the term was coined.
What you need is empathy, to use UX terminology. It’s about being genuinely interested in the path my Internet users are taking before landing on my site and being able to offer online options to my visitors.
We’ve been beating about that bush for years, but Google is currently in the process of integrating all aspects of Web performance and UX in search, in the broadest sense of the term.
Before, web performance was only a possibility amongst many others. If we believe what Google experts say and even Google representatives themselves, we realise that, with one of the forthcoming Google Search releases, these notions of UX, Web performance and user journey optimization might well be taken into account.
WordPress, for example, offers new tools on its platform.
As far as eCommerce is concerned, rich snippets are a great opportunity, if only for product reviews, which have been around for ages, but which not all e-merchants have adopted yet. Even though such information is extremely reassuring for users.
All this is part of SXO in my mind. Right from the SERP (Search Engine Response Page), it’s about the possibility to offer information about products and optimizing the purchasing process.
Before, with Google Ads, talking about “pure paid”, Google Shopping campaigns made it possible to sell products through the Google marketplace. Now you no longer need to pay. Products are coming to the Search Engine Response Page, this is great news.
There are plenty of new tools and rich snippets ready for implementation by e-merchants or website managers.
Most agencies believe this is an expensive process. Except that, in fact, it drastically increases conversion rates because you put yourself in the users’ shoes. You force yourself to take this position, so you increase your conversion rates and potentially the value of your shopping carts.
So, I agree, SXO is somewhat expensive. But it is important to take it into account, in the same way as SEO, SEA campaigns, programmatic, display, etc., in order to make the most of your digital marketing efforts.
SXO costs money because you have to think, but all this thinking brings back money in its turn!
Further reading on SXO
- A pragmatic article on SXO by the aptly named Pragm:
“A good SEO strategy is one that takes into consideration all the factors that can impact a site’s performance. This involves using other specialities, such as measurement (to base its efforts on statistics and not just assumptions) and UX (to focus its efforts on research intentions, user profiles and site-specific key angles).”