Neil Patel

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The Power of Search Experience Optimization (SXO)

A graphic that says "The Power of Search Engine Optimization"

Have you ever clicked on a link on the first page of Google and been frustrated by the website you see?

Slow-loading content, pages that look awful on mobile, broken links, it’s enough to make you want to leave and go somewhere else!

Search experience optimization, or SXO, can help in this scenario. This is the process of optimizing a site so it doesn’t just provide a great experience to visitors, but gives the search engines a good reason to uprank your pages.

New to SXO? I’ve put together this overview to explain the benefits, how it meshes with SEO, and how you can use search experience optimization to your advantage.

Key Takeaways

  • SXO combines SEO and UX principles to boost conversions. SEO makes your website discoverable in the search engine results, while UX makes it easy to navigate and use.
  • SEO makes your website discoverable, while UX makes it easy to
  • You need to understand your target audience inside out – what are they searching for, and how can you help them find what they need?
  • Tracking metrics is essential to search experience optimization – what works well, and how can you refine your site to drive conversions?
  • It’s also important to think about search generative experience optimization– how can you optimize your site for artificial intelligence (AI)?

What Is SXO?

SXO is the process of optimizing your website to provide an excellent experience for visitors.

Think of it as the intersection between search engine optimization (SEO) and user experience (UX). What can you do to enhance your website so it’s discoverable in the search engines and ensures people can find what they need?

Venn diagram showing the connection between SEO, UX, and SXO

Let’s say you run an e-commerce store. You want to ensure it ranks as high as possible in the search engines. You can do this by optimizing your product pages, writing great page titles and meta descriptions, and creating high-quality content that drives backlinks. These are basic best practices for SEO.

You also want to provide a great experience to keep visitors on your site and encourage them to buy. You can do this by making your store easy to navigate, implementing a mobile-friendly design, and ensuring a flawless checkout process.

SEO vs. SXO vs. SGE

The main priority of SEO is optimizing your website and content so you rank as high as possible in the search engines.

SXO doesn’t just take SEO into consideration – it’s also about providing a user-friendly, engaging experience on your website. This means visitors are more likely to stay on your site and convert.

What about search generative experience optimization, or SGE? It’s important not to ignore the impact of AI on search.

Example of the search generative experience on Google

SGE is all about understanding user intent and ensuring your website is relevant to the needs of potential customers – increasing the chances of the search engines prioritizing your content. Then, you can use SXO to keep these prospective customers on your site.

Don’t think of it as SEO vs. SXO vs. SGE – it’s important to factor all three into your digital marketing strategy to see the best odds of success.

Why Is SXO Important?

The reason why SXO is so vital is that it enables a reliable, fast, and efficient user experience.

Web visitors expect a lot from the websites they land on. For example, four out of five US shoppers admit they’ve left an e-commerce website because they’ve gotten frustrated with the on-site search and filtering options.

Example of a search section of a clothing website

SXO allows you to optimize the entire user journey, from clicking on a link in the search engine results, to navigating a website, to the final conversion. This leads to happier customers who return to your business and recommend you to their friends.

What Are the Benefits of SXO?

Thinking about factoring SXO into your digital marketing strategy? Here are some of the additional benefits.

  • More targeted traffic. Focusing on the right keywords and user intent means you can direct your target audiences directly to your website.
  • Improved competitiveness. A solid SXO strategy makes you stand out in the search engines, boosts your click-through rates, and gives web visitors a good reason to buy from you.
  • Higher conversion rates. The smoother the customer journey, the higher the chances that customers will convert – whether buying your product, becoming a lead, or giving you their contact information.
  • Improved brand reputation and trust. A reliable and credible website leads to more sales, as well as enhanced search engine rankings.
  • Enhanced customer retention. The better the user experience, the more likely your customers are to buy from you again, as well as encourage friends and family to buy from you.
  • Future-proofed search results. The search engine algorithms frequently change, and a good SXO strategy can help protect your website. This is because SXO emphasizes building a website that provides long-term value to users.
  • Enhanced customer data. By monitoring the customer journey from beginning to end, you get a wealth of information that can help improve your marketing. We’ll look at how to measure your SXO later.

10 Ways to Improve SXO

There are lots of different ways you can make an impact on your website’s SXO. Here are some top tips.

  1. Carry out comprehensive keyword research. This helps you rank as high as possible in the search engines and understand what customers want to see on your pages.
  2. Test your page loading speed. Fast-loading pages mean your customers spend less time waiting. Google PageSpeed Insights is a great starting point.
  3. Ensure your site works well on mobile devices. Mobile-responsive sites rank well in the search engines and make it easy for all customers to access your website.
  4. Use schema markup where appropriate. Structured data gives the search engines more context about your site, meaning your site looks better in the results.
  5. Make your website accessible. This ensures that your website is legally compliant and that as many people as possible can access it.
  6. Create compelling meta data. Unique meta descriptions and title tags make your pages more enticing in the search engine results.
  7. Look at your internal linking. A solid network of internal links makes it easier for customers to navigate your site and for search engines to crawl it.
  8. Encourage backlinks. Backlinks from high-quality, trusted websites show the search engines that your site is a trusted source of information.
  9. Use social proof. Reviews, testimonials, and awards inspire confidence in customers and encourage them to convert.
  10. Consider user testing. Ask customers to complete tasks on your website and record their responses. They may identify issues you never thought of!

Measuring Your SXO Efforts

Measuring your SXO efforts is vital – this helps you see what’s working and what you can optimize for better results.

I recommend putting goals in place before starting your search experience optimization strategy. Do you want to improve your conversion rates, click-through rates, user engagement, and how much by?

This gives you a clear steer and means you can focus on continuous improvement.

A/B testing is a fantastic way to see what your web visitors respond best to. For example, you can create two product pages, each identical apart from different colored “buy now” buttons. This helps you see which color button results in the most conversions.

Many platforms are available to help you track your SXO – the best two are Google Search Console and Google Analytics. They’re easy to install on your site and free to use.

Google Search Console lets you see which keywords you rank for in the search engine results and if there are any technical issues on your website that may affect the user experience.

List of ranking keywords in Google Search Console

Google Analytics lets you see how long users stay on your website and which visits lead to conversions. You can also use event tracking to identify potential issues, for example, if visitors start filling in a lead generation form, but give up.


What is Search Experience Optimization?

SXO is a combination of SEO principles and user-friendly design. This means your website ranks highly in search engines like Google while keeping visitors engaged for as long as possible.

Why is Search Experience Optimization so Important?

SXO is important as it allows you to control the user journey from start to finish. As well as allowing you to rank as high as possible in the search engines, you can ensure your website is easy to navigate and convert on.

As well as SXO, it’s essential to consider the impact of SGE on your website too. By understanding the intent of your pages and what your visitors want to see, you increase the chances of ranking for the right keywords.


Search experience optimization means you have more control over the customer journey. This doesn’t just mean where you rank in the search engines and how your results look, but how visitors navigate your site.

If you’re already using search engine optimization, you’re partway there. By understanding how you can make your site more appealing to visitors, you can make changes that make your website stand out from the crowd.

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