Digital marketingEditor's Pick

Rethinking SEO, Where ‘E’ is for Experience

Search is not a task anymore — it’s human behavior. SEOs need to take note and adapt accordingly to create experience across their research, content and hygiene fronts.

With over 4 billion people Googling every day, an average person looks up Google three to four times a day. The fact that appeals to businesses across the globe — keyword trend over the years reflects that commercial intent queries make up for significant requests.

Navigating SEO is like running a marathon inside an ever-evolving maze. The compass you need to get to the other side has a dynamic interface factoring algorithm updates, best practices, and staying flexible for what’s coming.


Search Experience Optimization, the New SEO

SEO has long established itself as the springboard for all online brands. However, with a shift in search engine usage patterns and the implementation of AI in algorithms, SXO – Search Experience Optimization — is a sweet spot between SEO, CRO and UX Design.

Search Experience Optimization, The New SEO

Because showing up on SERP is not enough to convert online visitors into customers, you need to ensure they also enjoy the experience of using your website.


It’s Not Just Keywords

To me, SXO helps beyond SERP visibility — it’s equally a means to offer value, shape brand, and foster customer loyalty. It does so by uniquely creating a synergy across all digital marketing strategies, such as content marketing, social media marketing, blogging, web management, etc. – at high ROI!


Mapping the Maze

Understand that Google primarily caters to users while giving businesses an opportunity to reach out to them. A look at core updates (especially the recent ones on Product Review, MUM, and Core Web Vitals) and decades of algorithm editions reflect the crux of it — ‘Develop a SERP listing with trustworthy and engaging webpages with relevant previews as per the query intent’.

Striving to land on a space between user queries and business objectives in the format helps answer the queries to the best of Google’s algorithm liking.


Put Yourself in the User’s Shoes

Understand your product inside-out, have your ideal customer profile, and know the checkpoints of your user’s behavior: that’s the pre-prep for the marathon of SEO. Performing a comprehensive search-scape audit that includes competitor analysis offers vital insight for seeing what the user sees. It can be smartly used to create an agile playbook of keywords, content formats, and tonality for each stage of the user journey: from discovery to purchase and even extending to loyalty.


Mirror, Adapt, Repeat

I cannot stress this enough: prioritize user experience to perfection. Care for each web page’s speed, accessibility, and engagement factors critically with clear-cut CTAs that cater to your business goals. In fact, one of the critical metrics to measure the success of SXO is to see avg. session.

Tracking user behavior, page performance, and site health on GA and GSC creates a fruitful feedback loop to figure out what’s working, the gap, and how to go about it.


Bypassing Language Barrier

For years, Google has been striding towards improving its understanding of user intent and human languages with multiple AI models, including BERT, RankBrain, MUM, etc. They all work in sync, with regular updates, and get better by the minute – learning from millions of searches across the world.

Creating quality content that informs, engages, and nudges a user in the right direction becomes even more important for a business. Again, it’s no more a keywords game; aligning your content with the target user intent is the key.


Text is Not All of It

With the increasing number of younger audiences conducting searches, it is important to broaden content creation by considering voice search as well. Much like with search intent keywording, different smart-assistant-enabled devices benefit from separate use cases.

Providing succinct answers to key queries that can be picked up for feature snippet works like a hero. Whose side-kicks are: posting content in multiple languages, having FAQ sections, and schema in place can be advantageous.


Beyond the Horizon

I believe it’d be: Personalized Experiential Results.

Along this line, as part of upgrading Local Search, Google recently rolled out a feature to use your phone’s cameras to find information about places near you with details like whether a business is open, how busy it is, its prices, reviews, ratings, etc. Currently active in select geographies, but still optimizing the information submitted by you and your past customers becomes more important to attract new leads.

With other updates lined up, the next revolution in the Search Engine space seems to lean towards Augmented Reality and Sensory Inputs. Keep an eye out for the distance ripples in the news.


Compound it with Consistency

The intricacies of each process, quality check, constant adaptation, etc. — Carrying all aspects of SEO at once can get overwhelming. Especially knowing that your competitor is also pushing for the same space. So, it’s vital to keep your momentum going: periodically audit and tweak the action plan to churn out more meaningful content. And stay persistent.

Karan Salwani

Karan is a Digital Strategist helping brands build & grow their online footprint! Working with a portfolio of clients across industries right from FinTech, E-commerce, Skin Care, FoodTech, and multiple industries, Karan has a solid foundation in understanding the complexities and garners a holistic insight into the Middle East markets. He gained experience in growing brands using data and technology-led strategies in the digital landscape and devising recommendations for all platforms.