SXO. Here are three letters that you should not forget to carry out your SEO strategies and maintain your positioning in 2021. The experts are categorical on this subject: to be well positioned in the SERP in 2021, you will have to think UX above all. Why that ?
Google has now understood that users should be at the heart of the SEO strategy. They are the why and the how of SEO. They’re the ones who do the searches, click on the pages, drive the conversions, etc. In short, without them, no SEO.
The pandemic and the various lockdowns have exploded the number of searches carried out on Google, the results pages have become more competitive than ever.
This is why pure technique is no longer sufficient, you have to seduce your Internet users. Make them click on your pages and especially make them stay, but how?
First of all, you have to offer quality content, nothing new so far. Then, and here is the novelty, it is necessary to put the technique at the service of theuser experience and navigation comfort, among others.
In short, you have to optimize the UX of your website and put it at the heart of SEO strategies. This association between SEO and UX, this is called the SXO.
What is SXO?
SXO, or SearcheXperienceOptimization, is a mixture of the acronyms SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and UX (User Experience) used to denote a new aspect of SEO which consists in taking user experience more into account in SEO strategies to align with the new criteria of the Google algorithm.
This new acronym leaves room for new questions about the primary function of SEO so far.
Wasn’t the user already at the heart of SEO strategies? User experience seems to be a concern for Google for a long time, however. That’s right. However, until now UX was taken into account for everything relating to the content of the pages, but very little for the more technical aspect of SEO.
The SEO trends of 2021 show that fashion is changing. The technical aspect of the user experience is increasingly emphasized and it is felt.
Thus, for a better SXO optimization of your pages, you must constantly take the comfort of your visitors into account from a technical and content point of view.
When building an SEO strategy, you must first and foremost think about users. First of all, in the content offer as has always been the case in SEO, but also in the appearance and layout of your sites.
Optimizing your site for users in 2021 means adapting to new browsing habits. For example, take into account the fact that more and more users are doing their research from a mobile device (smartphone, tablet, etc.).
Adapt your website to mobile
Another update scheduled for 2021: Mobile first index. From March, the Google bot user agent will crawl the mobile versions of websites as a priority and no longer the desktop versions.
With this update, Google is only adapting to its current audience. According to We are Social’s Digital Report 2020, 91% of internet users browse the web from a smartphone.
So it’s no surprise that Google is taking action and choosing to highlight websites with the best UX to nearly 9 out of 10 users.
To check the mobile compatibility of your site, we recommend the Google Search Console mobile optimization test tool which allows you to verify if your website is truly mobile friendly.
Source: Google Search Console
Optimize the content of your pages
The first concern when you want to optimize the SEO of your pages is to take care of your content. This means positioning yourself on the right keywords to respond to Internet users’ requests in a relevant way.
By positioning yourself on a certain request, you agree to respond to the Internet user’s research with relevant information that will answer their questions as quickly as possible and in the most complete possible way.
This means that once you arrive on your site, your content must be relevant, readable and organized. You will not be able to fully respond to user requests if you do not understand them. You must answer the questions of Internet users and quickly.
This means that you must provide an answer to the Internet user’s request and, above all, this answer must be easy to find. This means you need to deliver content that is as clear as it is informative.
There are several ways to incorporate information into your pages:
- With text;
- With images and infographics;
- With videos.
Interactive content such as images and videos are particularly popular with Internet users and Google, which now considers them to be quality results.
Optimizing navigation means ensuring the logic of your site’s structure in terms of the tangle of your pages, but also of their content.
To avoid a Google penalty, you must organize your content and take care of the tree structure of your pages at all costs to guarantee smooth navigation and make it as easy as possible for your visitors to reach their goal.
Google pays special attention to the content tree, because it is important from a technical point of view, but also from a content point of view.
If you deliver dense, messy content to your visitors, you can be sure that very few will bother to read it. On the other hand, a readable, airy text punctuated with images and videos will make you want to read more and will keep your reader longer on the page.
It will be easier for Google to understand the themes of your pages and the relevance of the keywords. This is why you must offer structured content also in its tree structure. How to do ? Be careful to use the right ones Hn tags so that the Google bot user agent understands your pages effortlessly.
Improve the loading time of your pages
For the coming year, SEO and UX will have to work hand in hand to get you to the top of the Google results page.
In addition to all the criteria already taken into account by the Google algorithm, those that help improve the browsing experience of Internet users will have priority in the eyes of the Google bot.
In May, Google’s algorithm will include a new update: Core Web Vitals. This update will formalize the entry of user experience as a new ranking factor.
Core Web Vitals, or essential web signals, are based on 4 crucial KPIs:
- First Contentful Paint (FCP) or the loading speed for full display of the first text or the first image;
- LargestContentful Paint (LCP) based on the amount of time it takes to display the longest text or the largest image;
- First Input Delay (FID) or interactivity. That is, the waiting time between the user’s first interaction with a page of a site and the browser response;
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS). It is an estimate of the movement of the elements that are in the open window.
The Google PageSpeed Insights tool can help you analyze the loading time of your pages according to these 4 KPIs. Enter the URL of the page you want to analyze, the tool will then generate a detailed report on the performance of the page.
Source: PageSpeed Insights
The little extra: PageSpeed Insights analyzes the performance of your site for the desktop AND mobile version.
Source: PageSpeed Insights
You will have a clearer and more precise idea of which elements are problematic in each of the two versions and how optimize the loading time of your pages. Often times, the data you need to focus on is not the same depending on which version you are analyzing.
What you must remember :
- In 2021, the user should be at the heart of all your SEO strategies;
- Consequently, the user experience will be a determining factor to take into account both technically and in terms of content;
- The comfort of navigation must be taken care of;
- Fun content (images and videos) will gain in importance in the eyes of Google.
It is imperative to take these new criteria into account to stay in the results pages and avoid suffering penalties from Google.
About the Author
The Web Agency is an agency specialized in the fields of Search and acquisition on the Internet with a center of expertise in natural referencing (SEO).
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