what is Search eXperience Optimization?

what is Search eXperience Optimization?

SXO is the acronym for Search eXperience Optimization. The technique aims to integrate UX issues into the SEO strategy: the user experience is taken into account in site optimization actions for search engines.

The SXO emerges in response to the evolution of natural referencing criteria used by Google to enhance a website. Initially, the performance of a page was measured with regard to the density of the keyword in the content. From now on, the entire site is evaluated: it is necessary to consider the SEO strategy on the basis of an overview of the site, and to propose a rendering that is generally satisfactory for the Internet user, in order to satisfy the search engines in return. However, the user experience is a key element of Internet user satisfaction.

By taking care of the user experience, the website therefore gains places in the results of search engines. In addition, improving the user experience improves the company’s brand image and increases its conversion rate. The SXO thus creates a virtuous circle: SEO optimization based on improved UX increases the number of visits to the site, and this increasing traffic continues to improve its natural referencing.

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What is SXO?

Optimization for search engines, SEO, becomes the optimization of the search experience: the site must no longer satisfy the search engine first, but the Internet user in his approach. The search engine then notes the satisfaction of the Internet user, and promotes the site in the search results to reward the effort.

The term SXO was born to draw attention to the importance of user experience.

Illustration of the SXO: an Internet user is looking for a plumber in his municipality. He clicks on the 1st site positioned on the query “plumber + common” of his search on Google. The page loads instantly, because in an SXO objective, the developer has designed a site whose weight does not slow down the loading; the “Rates” tab is immediately visible, because in compliance with the SXO, the key information useful to Internet users has been placed in such a way as to be easily found by the Internet user; the Instagram icon appears on each page of the site, which allows the Internet user to view the plumber’s achievements and consult his customer reviews; a button allows you to be called back to set an appointment with the plumber. Result: all of these elements optimize the end-to-end search experience. The prospect has accessed all the necessary information, quickly, until being converted into a customer. But Google is able to see this thanks to the recorded browsing data: visit time, bounce rate or even bookmarking. The search engine deduces that the site serves the interests of Internet users on this request, and therefore gradually raises the site in the search results.

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Why care about SXO?

The SXO appears in a context where search engine algorithms primarily target the interest of the Internet user, Google seeks to offer ever more relevant results with regard to the query formulated. In the past, it was possible to “cheat”: the technique of “keyword stuffing”, for example, allowed a web page to appear at the top of search results even though the content was neither interesting nor relevant. But Google now sanctions this type of technique, because the search engine wants to position itself as a service with real added value for the Internet user. With this in mind, the search engine values ​​sites that take into account the interests of Internet users by offering a quality experience throughout navigation. The SXO is therefore essential to keep and gain visibility in search results.

Taking an interest in SXO is aimed at a 2nd major challenge: offering an optimal user experience contributes to meeting the company’s commercial objectives. Indeed, the user satisfied with his experience on the site has a good image of the brand, and willingly returns to visit the site, on which he stays longer. Sales opportunities increase accordingly. Illustration: an e-commerce site sells women’s clothing; the design is modern and neat, access to the catalog is intuitive, the site offers an interactive guide to find the right size and regularly publishes news on the brand; the Internet user likes to consult these news, and appreciates the fun nature of the size guide tool; satisfied with her user experience, the customer visits the site often and spends time there, and the company sees its conversion and retention rates increase.

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What elements to work in an SXO approach?

The SXO is a recurring job: it is important to regularly update the site in view of the evolution of consumer habits on the Internet. The company also takes care to follow the statistics of its site, to correct any errors and continue to always improve its SXO.

Technical elements

Technical elements, the implementation of which is entrusted to the developer, participate in the SXO approach.

  • Page loading time: in the age of immediacy, the site must load instantly. Otherwise, the user does not take the time to wait, he leaves the page and the bounce rate suffers. The weight of the images, among other things, is taken into account in the loading time.
  • Mobile compatibility: the company must ensure that it offers a responsive site. That is to say that the design of the site must be adapted to the format of the screen on which the Internet user consults the site, and in particular on mobile.
  • Metas: work on meta tags is essential. Their optimization not only improves positioning in search results, but also increases the click-through rate.
  • An https site: the https protocol reinforces the security of the Internet user when connecting to the site, by protecting the integrity and confidentiality of data. An https site therefore inspires all the more confidence in the user.


Navigation must be ergonomic, fluid and intuitive, to facilitate the user journey. Beyond the page load speed, these elements deserve the full attention of the company when working on the SXO:

  • The architecture of the site: the contents of the site, during its design, are organized in accordance with the path of logical thought of the Internet user. In this way, navigation from one page to another becomes intuitive.
  • Internal linking: to encourage prolonged visits to the site, each page offers a redirect link to a sibling page, a parent page or a daughter page that is relevant to the Internet user’s search.
  • Presentation of the navigation menu: the Internet user must immediately view and understand the menu. For this purpose, the developer uses a visually appealing design and is based on a logical overall architecture. The presence of an Ariadne’s thread is also a useful element for the Internet user during his navigation.
  • Call-to-action (CTA) buttons: CTA buttons allow the user to order an action in one click. It’s about identifying the most frequently required actions, and inserting the buttons in the right places. Note that the buttons for redirecting to social networks take an important part in the SXO.
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Text content

The term SXO includes SEO: the content of the site must continue to be optimized for search engines. Among the key criteria of a good SEO:

  • The volume and quality of information and writing.
  • Regular updating of content and regular production of new publications.
  • The establishment of a summary on long articles.
  • The insertion of optimized extracts, the “featured snippets”, to answer in a few words to the question of the Internet user.

Graphic design

The graphic design of the site greatly contributes to improving the user experience. Depending on the target, the company designs the visual elements in such a way as to seduce the Internet user.

  • The site uses the graphic charter of the company, to strengthen the brand image and ensure the consistency of its communication.
  • The use of infographics, videos and photos is recommended to make the content fun and pleasant to consult.
  • The choice of font also influences the SXO.

To go further, do not hesitate to take a look at our free SEO optimization kit.

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