SXO and Google Page Experience: The Evolution of SEO
September 28, 2021
SXO, the New 2021 Trend
SEO has replaced one of its letters with an X, to give Search eXperience Optimization. This is a clever mix between traditional SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and UX (User eXperience).
This concept combines search engine optimization with user experience strategies. An optimized website is not only about content and netlinking strategies: to attract and keep the user on your website, you also must provide the best possible experience.
Five or ten years ago, a simple content optimization could be enough to rank high on search engines: the right keywords, relevant titles, a few internal and external links, and you’re done. But in 2021, things are not like they used to be. The competition is much stiffer, with an increasing amount of content.
Combining natural referencing and user experience seems to be the best strategy to adopt when it comes to being successful. Web marketing professionals have clearly figured this out, and this is especially true with the Google Page Experience update.
What is the Google Page Experience Algorithm?
For several years now, user experience has been at the core of SEO strategies. But since May 2021, Google has launched a new algorithm fully based on UX criteria: Google Page Experience.
This algorithm provides an understanding of how the user navigates through the pages of a website and analyses the user experience. Any navigation fault that could have a negative impact on the user experience is then detected by Google. The aim is to prioritize the best performing websites, which meet the needs of Internet users, and thus gain their trust.
The Google Page Experience update is therefore a decisive search ranking factor in 2021. All aspects of the user experience are calculated: page loading, response time when interacting with the user, and visual stability of pages.
Google’s Three Web Signals
The Google Page Experience algorithm uses three performance indicators to analyze the user experience of a web page.
These indicators are called Web Signals, each of which allows Google to calculate a website’s score: LCP, FID and CLS. Let’s take a look at what they do and how Google calculates their score.
Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)
This indicator refers to the loading time of the web page. It measures the time elapsed until the content is fully downloaded and accessible by the user.
Google says that the LCP score should not exceed the 2.5 second threshold to be considered “good”. Between 2.5 seconds and 4 seconds of content loading, the score should be improved. And beyond 4 seconds, the performance of the web page is considered “poor”. This seems logical when you consider that a web user generally waits no more than 3 seconds for a web page to display.
First Input Delay (FID)
The FID performance indicator measures the time elapsed between the moment the user interacts with the web page, for example clicking on a link to open a new page, and the moment the browser responds to this action. The more responsive and faster your website is, the more it will be appreciated by Google.
A good FID score is no more than 100 ms as per Google, which is a single eye blink. If your website is not prepared to respond quickly to users’ requests, conversions will be missed. Between 100 ms and 300 ms, the score should be improved. But beyond 300 ms, performance is poor.
Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)
This indicator focuses on the visual stability of the web page. To be more precise, it is about the frequency with which the page layout changes unexpectedly during navigation. This problem can be caused by an image or video that does not fit, or a widget or ad that does not resize properly.
To calculate the CLS score, Google considers the size of a moving element together with the distance it moves. The score is rated as good if it is less than 0.1 and should be improved between 0.1 and 0.25. Above 0.25, the result is bad and the elements in question should be modified.
SEO and SXO: So, How Different Are They?
User experience has been at the core of all concerns in the digital universe for several years now. And in the case of SEO, this is especially true since Google has made it a new referencing criterion with its UX algorithm: Google Page Experience.
Although SEO and SXO are closely related nowadays, they can be differentiated as follows: SEO focuses on content optimization, message relevance and quality, and SXO is concerned with site optimization, in terms of loading speed, security and information delivered to search engines.
Finally, SXO is a natural evolution of SEO requirements. Both concepts have the same objective: to generate more traffic to the website. The difference is simply that SEO attracts the user, while SXO aims to keep the user!