Updated October 20, 2010Doc Sheldon
Stepping out of sequence for a bit… Part Three of the Search Experience series will be coming shortly. I’ve been really busy, so I’m pulling this one out of mothballs, just to keep the juices flowing.
SXO, or search experience optimization, is not just a new name for an old idea. Rather, it is a new name for a new perspective. It is an all-inclusive strategy, encompassing all those aspects that have previously been separately pigeon-holed into:
- SEO (search engine optimization)
- CRO (conversion rate optimization)
- SEM (search engine marketing)
- SMM (social media marketing)
Each of these categories have traditionally been addressed as separate practices, each having their own strategy. Most optimization practitioners have focused upon one or two, but rarely, if ever, all at once, under the same control.
Avoid potential conflicts
At times, the immediate goals of one can even conflict with another, so a lack of consolidation proves to be problematic. In order to achieve the maximum overall efficiency of all optimization efforts, a common goal must be focused upon.
The SXO concept is really quite simple. It focuses on the user experience (UX), from the moment a search query is typed into the search engine window, to the moment the user has completed the desired action and exited the page.
Search engines have long stated that their primary concern is the quality of the user experience. But SEOs are usually concerned mostly with getting their site in front of the user, so that he will click on the link to their site.
And the CRO is primarily concerned with converting a visitor into a customer. To the CRO practitioner, the reason for his visit only matters to the extent that it affects his receptiveness to the conversion efforts.
Once the user arrives at the site, his experience is affected by the quality of the design and on-page SEO methods, combined with the effectiveness of the CRO techniques. These three, design, on-page SEO and CRO, are those that often clash.
However, by uniting all these aspects behind one common strategy – search experience optimization – it is possible to greatly improve the productivity of the optimization efforts. Indeed, the consolidated offering renders much more value than the sum of its parts.
Optimize the user
Any marketer will tell you that psychological impacts play the greatest role in the success of any sales or marketing campaign. The subject’s receptiveness is tremendously affected by their mood, satisfaction and trust level.
Therefore, the visitor’s satisfaction with the previous step in the process, plays a great part in how he will perceive the next. If he feels that the search engine gave him results that don’t meet his needs, he will automatically become more resistant to any conversion effort.
Conversely, if his search experience leaves him feeling satisfied that his needs are being met, thus far¸ his resistance will lower, as subconsciously, his confidence level in the process has increased. This is where SXO reaps tremendous benefits.
By optimizing the quality of the entire user experience, from search through completion, the potential for success is greatly improved. It is a win – win – win situation, for the search engine, the user and the site owner.
- The search engine is no longer fighting against the SEO, but in unity with him or her, to provide the user with the best SERPs (search engine results pages) possible.
- The user is more likely to receive search results that satisfy his needs, without repetitive searches. A smooth, efficient search process will improve his confidence level, achieve his desired result more quickly and easily, and leave him with a heightened receptiveness to conversion.
- The site owner receives more targeted visitors, more receptive to conversion, which will improve the site’s productivity, in terms of bounce rate, conversion rate and revenue.
In summary, search experience optimization is the most effective strategy for the effective optimization of any on-line presence, as it will unite all the facets behind a common philosophy, achieving much better results than implementing each individually.