Think back to high school.
Oh, stop. You aren’t old.
Anyway, do you remember the egg drop competition? Your teacher gave you one vulnerable and exposed egg that could possibly break with the slightest bit of pressure. Then, they told you that you were going to drop it from an extreme height and hope that it wasn’t going to break.
But you were given the opportunity to make sure that your egg would survive.
You had the opportunity to build some sort of contraption to put your egg in, and you could rig this egg-protection device with whatever you needed to ensure it would survive. If you did it right, then your egg would survive the fall. If not, then it would crack.
As a website owner, you are in charge of a vulnerable and exposed egg that is your business. You are subjecting it to one of the most critical tests when it comes to being on the internet. You have to make sure that you build something that will protect it and ensure its survival. You also have to make a decision on how you can best accomplish this.
For years, we have been told that we need to fill our website with great content, lots of keywords, and ease of access so that we can ensure foundational SEO (search engine optimization) was in place. Sure, this is all well and good, but now, we have to look to the future. SEO is evolving and we have to look at additional, new ways to ensure this egg survives.
SEO has done a tremendous job using algorithms to collect information that helps you target your customers. It’s great, and yes, you want customers to come to your website as a visitor (obviously) but become converted into a buyer (also obviously). Still, we want to create more than that by using UX, or user experience.
SEO + UX = SXO
SXO (search experience optimization) is designed to improve the user-end of the search experience instead of just focusing on the results for websites.
Think about it this way: if you were a car salesperson, and a customer came up to you saying that they wanted to buy a car, you could simply go off of that information and start showing that person car after car. Eventually, if the right car doesn’t show up, that customer might decide that yours isn’t the best place to get their car.
But, what if you actually knew the exact make, model, color, and enhancements that the customer was looking for? You could take them to the right car right away.
Search engines are completely designed to give the user information based off of a query, and links the user to the best possible matches and in the best order. Yay! But still, wouldn’t it be better if the first link that was clicked on was the right link for them? Better yet—wouldn’t it be great if that first click was your website?
Google evaluates quality by looking at several different areas when it comes to users and how they interact on the internet.
- Short Click is when a user clicks on a website and immediately goes back to Google.
- Long Click is a long delay before the user eventually returns back to Google.
- Click-Though-Rate (CTR) is how long a user stays on a result versus how long that result is displayed.
- Pogo-sticking describes when a user continuously goes back and forth between different results.
- Next Click is what a user will click on next after they go back to Google after pogo-sticking.
- Next Search is when a user moves on to an entirely new search.
- Click Rate on Second Search is when a previous page is elevated in search results due to a more personalized search.
The ultimate goal that we want to focus on is to eventually end the search at the beginning.
We want to enhance the experience of a user by giving them what they need when they first make their search. Once they have clicked past your website, it’s actually super unlikely that they will come back. The average time that a website has to gain a searcher’s attention is about ten seconds.
It’s not a lot of time to be convincing, so we’ve got to provide the best options while we have them there. And there are some ways to help with that via SXO. Keep these tips in mind as you reconsider integrating SXO instead of only SEO.
1 – Mobile-Friendliness Is a Must
Because of the increase of smartphone use, it only makes sense that you want to make sure that your site is optimized for mobile use and is easily navigated by mobile devices across the board. That includes tablets, too. If you neglect this aspect of your audience, you’re losing a major portion of potential customers. Ouch. Just make it mobile-functional, okay?
2 – Search Intent: It’s Semantic
Yep. The best thing to do is know and understand what users are searching for and the questions that they are asking with their searches. If you’re not entirely sure what semantic search is or how it works, check our guide to semantic search here.
3 – Practically Memorize Google’s Guide
If Google is paying attention to those seven elements of a searcher’s experience, then you should, too. Make sure that you are looking at metrics that identify user behavior. Google doesn’t just want to see that your website is getting a lot of hits, it wants to see that users are actually getting something out of your website and that they can find it easily. To Google, high bounce back rate means that you don’t provide a good user experience. Womp, womp.
4 – Social Media Can Boost SEO and SXO
The beautiful thing about social media and social media elements that you’d provide on your website is that these mediums offer options for engaging with users to find out what they are truly looking for. Use the various platforms (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook) to engage various aspects of your audience and gain insight understand their needs, both as an online user and a customer.
Hard Boiled or Over Easy?
Remember that damned egg. You have a delicate egg in your website, and one thing that can break it is the user experience. Baseline SEO isn’t enough. Make sure that you have fitted your website or business to make sure that your SEO game is rich with a strong user experience. Keep an eye out for more from us on SXO, coming soon!
SXO is the evolution of optimization, so pay attention to in order to rise above the rest. Better yet? Contact us. We’ll give you direction, guidance, and how to dominate your competition in the online realm.