What is SXO and How to Optimize for it?
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For several years, SEO has become a fundamental piece in a digital marketing strategy. UX is also a key aspect to consider when having an online business. Improving user experience is part of SEO evolution as it is a core tool to not only attract but, more important, keep quality traffic on a website. Thus, we should combine both SEO and UX to get the best effect when optimizing a website.
What is the SXO?
The term SXO combines SEO and UX and it is becoming more and more popular in our era of interdisciplinary fields dominance. Its main objective is to optimize the user experience when a person searches on Google. In other words, SXO is a process through which users are offered a relevant answer by a website that was built with users in mind.
But let’s start with what qualities a good website should have.
To be UX-optimized, a website should meet three main requirements:
- Helpful: it should help users solve their needs
- Convenient: it should be easy to use
- Accessible: different types of users should be able to access all website pages from different devices.
How Does the User Experience Affect SEO?
2022 is a year to create content for users and not for search robots. Google, like other search engines, is trying to constantly improve search results to be able to offer users what will really satisfy their search needs.
This is what Google is aimed at – to be useful for users who perform searches and keep them as the highest priority. Although keywords and backlinks are still important, we cannot deny that the user experience is gaining more and more prominence and has already climbed in the top 5 most important ranking factors. Therefore web design and SEO departments should collaborate to achieve the needed result.
So, let’s move to the actions that should be implemented in terms of both SEO and UX optimization.
7 Ways to Optimize a Website for SXO
It is very important to optimize your content to improve the UX. It is no longer a relevant practice to write poorly structured articles stuffed with keywords mainly for a search engine. Today, it should be well-researched, readable, and useful for real people.
Something fundamental you must do is perform keyword research to find keywords with high search volume and low competition, which is based on finding mid and long-tail keywords. Also, you need to make a list of synonyms and LSI keywords (contextual keywords) for each page. Moreover, this task is connected to another one, understanding user intent. This means your web page should provide a user with exactly what she/he has been searching for.
After analyzing this information, you need to rewrite or edit your existing content to make sure each page is focused on a particular group of keywords and answers a particular user intent. Then, you need to create a good hierarchy of headings (H1-H6) and provide a proper title and meta description. Finally, use keywords for internal linking which should also be of help for users to navigate through your website (think about Wikipedia’s internal linking as a good example).
2. Structure and Navigation
Let’s start this with the fact that a website’s architecture should be perfectly planned. A good structure of a website is one that is clear and intuitive with all the pages and interactive elements (contact forms, buttons, etc.) being visible.
There is a “WWMD” (“What Would Mom Do”) rule which says that a website structure and its central theme should be simple so that it would be easy enough for most older parents to understand and use.
It is useful to make a good categorization in the menu considering SILO structure. It will simultaneously help Google understand your main website topic as well as help users to have all the content structured in one easily gettable place. Also, you should use breadcrumbs so that users know through which categories and subcategories they have navigated until they have reached the page where they are.
Finally, do not forget about the rule that each page should be available at a maximum of 4 clicks from the homepage to be properly accessible.
3. Clean Design
Take care of the design of your website. It should not only be eye-catching but mainly it should be practical and efficient for users. Efficient web design has two main purposes: helping users navigate through a website easily while keeping them visually satisfied, and also providing a clear look of your branding.
In recent years, web design has become increasingly minimalistic with more empty areas and fairly predictable structures. And such a trend reveals how users prefer to see websites – they want less unnecessary information and visuals so as to be able to find the needed information.
4. Loading Speed of a Website
About 50% of users abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load, and thus Google cares a lot about the speed of a website because of the great impact it has on users. It is one of the reasons why Google has announced its Core Web Vitals update. It measures how fast a website is and how a user interacts with it, and then considers those aspects for the website’s ranking.
First, check your website with Google Pagespeed
5. Mobile Version
There are predictions that about 73% of internet users will search on the Internet solely via mobiles by 2025. Meanwhile, Google has already had mobile-first indexing since 2018. Therefore, a website must have an adaptive design for a mobile version.
This tendency also means that designers often project a website for a mobile version first and then, adapt it for a desktop version.
6. Analyze the Behavior of Your Users
To offer a better experience to users of your website, you must know them better by analyzing their behavior. Therefore, with the help of Google Analytics, you can see metrics like how much time a user spent on which page, how many pages he/she visited per session, which device was used for it, etc.
Moreover, there are tools like Hotjar (paid one) and Clarity (free), where you can see direct records of how users interact with different pages. Those tools also allow you to check heatmaps, which parts of content or CTA elements are most popular.
7. Interaction with your website
By having insights into how users interact with your website, you should improve it based on this data. As a rule of thumb, the more time the user spends on our website, the better because Google interprets such web pages as more relevant for users.
To improve this aspect, do competitor research to see how your rivals structure their content and conduct A/B testing to see what performs better for your website users.
As you have already understood, if you want to not only have higher website visibility but also satisfied users, you need to take care of SXO or a combination of SEO and UX efforts. This way, you will invest in the long-term development of your website and get tangible results.
Stacey is a marketing manager with tech copywriting skills and she often writes about online software for Smooth Work Flow and other business-related projects. She is interested in setting up and managing marketing campaigns as well as implementing the best UX design practices. Stacey loves writing and helping others grow as professionals.