Search Experience Optimization (SXO) — A New Trend That Will Revolutionize SEO, CRO, and UX in 2022

Zuzanna Krüger

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It’s no secret that Search Engine Optimization, Conversion Rate Optimization, and UX Design are all important aspects of online marketing. But what happens when you combine them all together? That’s where the concept of Search Experience Optimization comes in.

Search Experience Optimization (SXO) is a new field at the crossroads between SEO, CRO and UX Design. The goal of SXO is to create websites that are accessible and attractive to search engine bots and users alike — to not only rank higher in SERPs, but also increase conversions and fuel revenue growth from organic traffic.

To achieve that, digital marketing teams have to consider all factors impacting the customer journey, from design features to search engine ranking factors, and then combine SEO features with CRO techniques and UX Design principles into a single, well-oiled machine.

How SXO Can Help You Rank Higher in SERPs

When it comes to business, the name of the game is winning customers. However, when new companies try to win their customers, they often forget about one essential thing.

To win customers, companies need to win their attention first. And to do that, they need to be visible to the customer.

This is where Search Engine Optimization (SEO) comes into play. Search Engine Optimization is one of the best ways to increase brand awareness for a relatively low cost.

At the same time, though, SEO has its limitations for revenue-focused businesses. SEO is not a conversion-focused marketing strategy. The majority of your organic traffic comes from the very top of the marketing funnel, meaning that in order to convert these users you need to go a bit deeper than keyword stuffing. Apart from providing information, you need to provide value.

The truth is, it doesn’t matter how well optimized your website is for search engines if nobody wants to interact with it.

You need to make sure that people can not only find your site by searching for relevant queries but that they also enjoy their experience with your eCommerce store or blog enough to click through and make a sale. Otherwise, they will bounce immediately and probably never come back, which will negatively reflect on your ranks.

However, if you focus solely on a beautiful design and don’t invest in your content, your rankings will also drop as search engines won’t see your pages as relevant, and any potential visitors won’t stick around if what they read is lacking, irrelevant, or boring.

That’s why SEO, CRO, and UX Design have to go hand in hand, as only when they do will you be able to outrank your competitors and make more money. In short, SEO will bring users to your website, UX Design will make them stay, and CRO will get them to convert.

How to Implement SXO in Your Digital Marketing Strategy to Boost Sales

In order to make an impact, you need to think big. You need a well-structured strategy that covers all the main channels of your marketing mix. And in order to develop a successful Search Experience Optimization strategy, you need to consider the following:

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1. Personas

As a rule of thumb, you should start by identifying your audience.

Who exactly are you targeting? Who is your demographic?

Think about how they might search for information, what questions they might have, and how you can provide the most complete answers to them. Make sure that all of the pages on your website address different stages of the purchasing process and provide as much information as possible.

Start by creating a persona and their expectations on each stage of the funnel — from the first impression on your home page and product pages to making a purchase. What does your current UX look like? How can you make it better? This part is actually the most interesting, as it involves interaction with the customer and lots of testing. You can even set up a live chat or discuss your ideas with one of your customers to make sure you’re on the right track.

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2. UX Design

Once you have clear ideas about what questions each persona has, think about where these questions appear in their journey stage-wise and which device they tend to use (desktop vs mobile).

Think about how all of this can be visualized into UX Design that would go hand-in-hand with the Search Engine Optimization strategy you’re planning to implement.

Will you need different templates for your homepage? Which elements should be placed where and why?

It’s also a good idea to use free UX Design software like Figma, which allows you to first focus on the interaction between user and interface rather than waste time on live implementation. These tools are useful for testing out whether your ideas work before putting them into practice with deep code.

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3. Conversion Rate Optimization

Once you’ve established what your UX will look like, you can start thinking about optimizing the conversion rates of your pages.

How do you make it as simple as possible for a user to find what they need? What tasks should they perform on this page and why?

To achieve this goal, you’ll have to test different elements on each of your web pages — from site structure and item placement to descriptions and call to action.

A very powerful free tool that allows you to test different elements of your website is Google Optimize, which can be fully integrated with Google Analytics and other analytics software. It also has a handy A/B testing feature for more advanced users, as well as suggestions for new experiments, which makes it even easier to use.

There are lots of other tools such as Hotjar or Microsoft Clarity available online that you can use to set up user tests and see what works best on each page.

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4. Search Engine Optimization

Now that you’ve thought about all of the above and know how your website should be structured and what will motivate visitors to stay and convert, it’s time to take care of the SEO.

To make your website as relevant as possible, think about what keywords you should use and where you can place them. Your product pages and content should be optimized for a specific term, while your home page must attract visitors who are yet unaware of what you offer and want to learn more.

When writing the content of your website, make sure that it has a natural flow with lots of variations in keywords or phrases that resonate with each persona on each stage of the marketing funnel.

You can achieve this by preparing an SEO writing checklist and using keyword research tools such as SEMrush to pick the right phrases. Apart from regular keywords, make sure to include LSI keywords which will help Google understand what your website is about and display it only for relevant queries.

Additionally, be mindful of the search intent behind each phrase to make sure that you’ll get the maximum value from your work. For example, if you’re selling dog toys, probably “dog swallowed a rubber toy” isn’t the best keyword to go for as the target audience would most likely be looking for informational content regarding a veterinary issue rather than looking to purchase. Picking a phrase with the wrong intent will tank your conversion rates and increase bounce rates.

Finally, don’t forget to include internal links within your website and reference pages within your content. Think of a blog as a networking event where you meet people, listen to their requests and suggestions, and then send them to relevant pages on your site so that they can achieve what they’re looking for.

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5. Content

Once you have a keyword strategy mapped out, start creating content around it, such as articles, blog posts, or video tutorials.

Don’t forget to come up with catchy titles and meta descriptions. After all, if users don’t find your content appealing enough to click on it, they won’t even visit your page, and all of your UX and CRO efforts will be in vain.

Here deep content will be your biggest ally. It’ll allow you to rank for long-tail keywords and increase the authority of your website. Focus on creating interesting blog posts that people will want to share on social media while including your keywords in headlines, titles and throughout the body content. It’s very likely that Google will pick up on this and boost your rankings, as readers will be able to find exactly what they’re looking for on your page. It might also reward your efforts with a featured snippet or two.

Another important aspect of content creation for SXO is the tone of voice. If you want searchers in a certain persona group to trust you, you need to adjust your language to their expectations. Think about the level of education they have and how you’ll need to explain things so that they can easily understand them. Be patient and create comprehensive content that will help them achieve what they want to do instead of trying to sell something from the get-go.

How to Measure the Performance of Your SXO Efforts

It’s important to actually measure your performance — if you can’t quantify the results, how do you know what’s working? Here are the key points to measure when it comes to Search Experience Optimization.

First off, look at your Google Analytics reports and see how much traffic you’re getting from organic search. If there are any keywords that show high click-through rates but no conversions or very few (after all, merely having people visit your website doesn’t mean they’ll convert), try optimizing them by testing several content types. It might be worth trying out long-form blog posts if you’ve been publishing short articles thus far; video content could work if most of your landing pages only have screenshots/graphics, etc. Once you’ve picked a winner, determine the best times for publishing new content and optimize your scheduling to maximize performance.

Another important factor to monitor is the user experience (UX) of all of your landing pages — do users like what they see or are they confused/annoyed by something? What are the main sticking points that you have to address? You can monitor this by simply having users give opinions on their experiences via surveys after they’ve visited your pages. You can also use heat mapping tools to see where exactly they’re focusing their attention on your page (if you do, make sure you anonymize the data) — this will allow you to pinpoint the main issues that need to be addressed.

Finally, look at whether your conversion rates are increasing over time. If you take the long view, it may take several months before you notice a difference — so be patient and continue to optimize your pages based on feedback from users and your analysis of the analytics reports.

The best way to do this is through a CRO scorecard which will let you monitor your site’s performance daily. A CRO scorecard can be built by adding up scores for different crucial metrics like bounce rate, time spent on the site etc., or it can also show data in a simpler form — for example, conversion rates from different sources and traffic sources.

You should also monitor which CTA users are clicking on the most and use this information for future A/B testing. Your test outcome may be different if users are clicking on the “wrong” CTA so by tracking this, you can optimize to find out which version performs best.

Overall, listen to your customers and monitor the metrics that matter most in order to determine what’s working best for your SXO campaign.

Conclusion

Now that you understand the basics of how to combine SEO with CRO and UX Design, it’s time to put this knowledge into practice. It may seem to be a daunting task, but if done correctly can result in increased website traffic and conversions, and what follows — more revenue.

By focusing on the most important pages of your website and creating engaging content that resonates with your target audience, you can start seeing positive results. Always remember to test everything out so that you can make continual improvements to your website’s performance.

Keep in mind that there is no one-size-fits-all solution — what works for one company might not work for another, so always test different tactics to see which ones bring you the best results. Also, remember that as your business grows and changes, you’ll need to adapt your strategy accordingly. Stay up to date on the latest trends and keep experimenting until you find the perfect recipe for success.

If you want to delve deeper on SXO, don’t miss my latest book — The Art of SXO. It’s packed with valuable insights and tips that provide a comprehensive understanding of this exciting field. Grab a copy now to level up your knowledge!

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Zuzanna Krüger

SXO Lead @ Lunio. 6+ years of hands-on experience in SEO & digital marketing. Writes about #Cybersecurity #AI #Sustainability #Marketing #SEO.