Everyone knows that search engine optimization is essential to digital marketing success. Without it, the likelihood that your website will rank on the first page of relevant keyword searches is minimal. And with 95% of searchers clicking on one of the links on the first SERP (Search Engine Results Page), you need your brand to be visible. SEO tactics will get you there. But is that enough to ensure digital marketing success?
You have only 50 milliseconds (.05 seconds) to make a good impression on a user. Having an attractive, well laid-out website is vital. However, that is just the start. The user’s experience is critical in determining if a viewer will continue to engage on your site.
Website UX Statistics
- People form 75% of their judgment on a website’s credibility purely on its aesthetics.
- 39% of people will stop engaging with a website if images won’t load or take too long.
- A one-second delay in page response results in a 7% reduction in conversions.
- Google says 61% of users are unlikely to return to a mobile site they had trouble accessing, and 40% visit a competitor’s site instead.
These trends are why Google continually updates its algorithm; putting a heavier emphasis on content relevancy and user experience. “As engagement metrics are becoming more important for search engines as a ranking factor, companies cannot ignore UX (user experience). It moves beyond simply ‘good content’ and moves into thoughtfulness of content and site structure. We must keep users engaged on our websites and put ourselves in the visitor’s shoes,” explains Vivial’s Senior SEO Strategist, Matt Cioffi.
Being intentional and strategic about your users’ experience can raise conversion rates by as much as 400% – this is where SXO comes in.
What is SXO?
Search Experience Optimization (SXO) is the combination of traditional search engine optimization tactics and user experience best practices.
“You should write for people, and then optimize for search engines,” explains Eugene Farber, Vivial’s Senior Digital Strategist. “Too often, I see people writing for the search engines first, which results in content that isn’t helpful to the reader, doesn’t read naturally, and turns them off instead of grabbing their attention and enticing them to take action.”
Focusing on increasing engagement and tailoring the content for the people first. Then put typical SEO best practices in place. This method will help you rank above your competition and convert viewers into customers.
5 Areas of SXO: Search Experience Optimization
There are many factors to consider to improve a user’s search experience; however, there are five main buckets under which they fall into:
Is your site helpful to your intended audience? Is the content in line with what the user was initially searching for, and did they find it useful?
Does your site meet the expectations of your audience? You need to ensure it is intuitive, easy to navigate, loads quickly, and has clear call-to-actions.
Are your pages optimized to help Google match your page with the right audience? Headers and clear navigation to make sure your products and content are quick and easy for viewers and web crawlers to find.
This point is two-fold. First, is your site easily viewable via desktop and mobile devices? Second, is it optimized to meet Web Connect Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG)?
You won’t get a second chance to make a first impression. Clean aesthetics and the utilization of badges of trustworthiness, such as testimonials, industry recognitions, and affiliations, will help you gain users’ trust.
Marketing strategies must evolve to meet the needs of their intended audience. Users want to find the information they are looking for quickly and have a seamless experience online. SXO is the way to go!
Want help managing your business’ search experience? Contact Vivial for a no-obligation audit and discussion.