SXO: optimization challenges and best practices |  Wearethewords

SXO: optimization challenges and best practices | Wearethewords

We talk more and more about SXO during SEO webinars and conferences. Is this really a new trend? What are the challenges and origins of SXO? How is it different from SEO? We explain everything in this article while also presenting you the best optimization practices.

What is SXO?

SXO stands for “Search eXperience Optimization”, which can be translated as “optimization of the search experience”.
The term SXO comes from a scholar mix between SEO (Search engine optimization) and UX (User experience).

The definition of SXO reminds us of the importance of user experience in developing an SEO strategy. With the latest Google Page Experience update

, user experience becomes even more important. Indeed, Google has decided to integrate many new UX signals into its algorithm. Clearly, Internet users must not only find the information they are looking for, but also discover rich and relevant content.

SEO and SXO, what are the differences?

SEO generally focuses on the positioning and therefore the visibility of a site in search results. SXO is involved in a wider spectrum.
Indeed, the SXO aims to optimize the user journey from search results to conversion.

As you will see, SXO optimizations involve a large number of SEO steps. In fact, optimizations related to the user experience come in addition to good SEO practices in order to generate qualified traffic. If you are not familiar with the term, qualified traffic refers to a significant number of Internet users who visit a site and are genuinely interested in its content, products and / or services. For the marketer, generating such traffic can be considered a Holy Grail.

SXO optimization best practices

The concept of SXO established, it is now important to apply it as well as possible.

We offer you below a non-exhaustive list of good SXO practices, which we have grouped into 3 categories :

  • SXO content optimization
  • SXO link optimization
  • SXO technical optimizations

Content optimization

Optimizing content is of paramount importance to precisely meet user needs.

To create SXO content optimized for the search experience, you will need to show empathy. In addition, develop buyer personality is an essential prerequisite. The goal? Identify the needs and expectations of your target, more physiological at most aspirational.

Here are the main points of attention when optimizing your content.

  • The table of contents – The integration of a summary showing the different titles of the page allows present the structure of your content. The user has the possibility of quickly accessing the various sections, which facilitates navigation. The presence of a summary is of crucial importance when the content is large.
  • The chapô – The presence of a chapô at the beginning of the content is a must for writing. The chapô must capture the attention of the Internet user and encourage them to continue reading.
  • Hn titles – The logical use of title tags (H2, H3, etc.) structure the content and allows users and search engines to easily understand the architecture of the page.
  • The questions – Since the emergence of voice search, it is essential tointegrate the questions asked by Internet users in titles, sub-titles and paragraphs. Would you like to know more about this process? Discover our article on best practices in voice SEO.

Link optimization

A neat network of links constitutes a real guide for users and search engines. They will be easily located on your site and navigation will be all the more simple and pleasant.

  • The tree structure – A logical and neat tree structure allows the user and search engines to find your way easily on your site. The home page must be easily accessible and care must be taken to ensure that the Internet user finds the content they are looking for in a few clicks.
  • The Ariadne’s threadVisual and cartographic aid par excellence, the breadcrumb trail reflects the tree structure of the site. This “thread” occupies an important place in the heart of search engines. It also allows the user to easily access the top level pages. The breadcrumb trail is an SXO optimization often overlooked by SEOs.
  • CTAs and linkage – Hypertext links and CTAs (calls to action) must be understandable for the user. Take care of your anchor texts in order to reassure the user about the relevance of the landing page. Also, avoid CTAs being too close together. Want to learn more about link optimization? Do not wait any longer to discover our article on the use of internal and external links.

Technical optimizations

Technical optimizations make the smooth and pleasant navigation. Always with a view to offering the best possible user experience, it is important to pay particular attention to the following SXO criteria:

  • A responsive site – Owning a responsive or mobile first site is imperative for several years. Your site must be able to adapt to different devices and formats while maintaining good navigation ergonomics.
  • Loading time – The page load time should never exceed 3 seconds. Avoid large images and long redirect chains at all costs. These can in fact significantly increase the loading time of the page.
  • A site in https – A surfer always feels reassured when browsing a secure site. In addition, an https site is essential today if you want to appear on the first page of the SERPs.
  • Metas – Optimizing meta descriptions and other metadata greatly increases your chances of having a high click-through rate. An attractive and well-calibrated meta description will entice the user to click on your page in the SERPs.

The SXO: new trend or logical evolution?

Some experts consider the SXO to be just a buzzword. And for good reason: data related to user experience is long taken into account by search engines and their algorithms. Many of the best optimization practices discussed in this article are already among SEO must-haves.

Nevertheless, search engines are now trying toanalyze a site and its contents as a human user would. This form of mimicry was only made possible thanks to the enormous amounts of data collected on the search and browsing habits of Internet users. Powerful machine learning has enabled search engines to interpret this massive data and extract countless models from it. In addition, thanks to reinforcement learning, search engines are constantly refining and enriching these user experience models.

Therefore, by meeting the expectations of search engines, you have a good chance of meeting the expectations of your users as well.
To appear well in the SERPs, we therefore strongly advise you to put the user at the center of your strategy SEO.

To conclude: the SXO, a not so recent concept

We can consider the SXO as a logical evolution started by Google for several years:

  • 2007, the Universal Search functionality is integrated into Google. It allows a greater variety of content (texts, images, videos, etc.) to be integrated into the SERPs;
  • 2010, the acronym SXO is used by the SEO Workers agency, which considers it a discipline at the intersection of SEO and CRO (Conversion Rate Optimization);
  • 2014, the optimized snippets (featured snippets) provide a direct response to the Internet user’s request and include it in position 0;
  • 2021, the Google Page Experience update divides commentators and brings us back to our original question: is SXO a natural evolution of SEO or a revolution likely to challenge our strategies?

Dare to decide: we consider the SXO as an evolution intended to improve the relevance of search results and provide a rich and accessible user experience.

Want to learn more about the evolution of search engines? Discover our article on position 0 and optimized extracts.

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