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SXO audit – what is it and how to conduct it?

SEO is not everything. Currently, more and more websites and online stores focus on SXO, i.e. a combination of SEO and UX, i.e. optimization of user experience. With its help, you not only provide users with valuable content, but also improve the functionality of the website in terms of recipients’ expectations. If you want to know if the website is actually working as it should, conduct an SXO audit. What is it and how to do it? Let’s check.

SXO audit – what is it?

What is an SXO audit? To define this concept, one has to find out what SXO itself is. However, let us remind you that SXO is an abbreviation of the term Search Experience Optimization, i.e. website optimization in terms of users’ expectations. SXO audit is, in turn, verification whether a given website or store:

– meets the requirements of internet search engines,
– provides a good user experience.

During the SEO audit, the specialist will check in which areas the product meets the users’ expectations, and which areas and elements of the website can be improved to increase engagement.

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Who and when should conduct an SXO audit?

The SXO audit is intended both for new websites and stores that are entering the market, and for those that have been operating for some time, but do not know if the generated effects represent the maximum possible. The SXO audit is also useful when you want to redesign a website. When introducing new functionalities and products, a usability test should be carried out at the same time. The greatest benefits of the SXO audit will be achieved by those companies that do not have a permanent UX and SEO team, but only cooperate with external agencies and have not previously verified the effectiveness of the website or application in terms of user experience.

SXO audit – why is it worth it?

Why do you need an SXO audit and why is it worth conducting? Thanks to the website analysis for SXO (Search Experience Optimization):

– you will comprehensively analyze your website in terms of users’ expectations,
– you will find areas that need improvement,
– you will check if the website works well on various devices,
– you will make changes that will improve the conversion rate on the company’s website or online store,
– you will build valuable traffic on the website, coming from conversion-oriented users,
– you can extend the duration of a single session and the user’s stay on the website,
– you will build a website that can attract returning, loyal users,
– you will reduce the risk of major failures,
– you will learn what your audience really needs and expects, which is a good tip for content creation, page layout design, etc.

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SXO audit – areas of SEO analysis

The basis of the SXO audit is the analysis of SEO effectiveness. It covers:

– content analysis in terms of its effectiveness, quality, use of key phrases, usefulness for the user,
– analysis of incoming links,
– website technical optimization analysis,
– website structure analysis (internal links).

SXO audit – areas of UX analysis

What elements are worth analyzing when performing an SXO audit? Below you will find a list of items:

– page speed, – adapting the website to mobile devices,
– website availability,
– content legibility (contrast, color, font size, etc.),
website optimization for Core Web Vitals,
– interface, menu and navigation functionality, – availability, content, arrangement and colors of buttons and CTA,
– conversion rate optimization.

Below, we will discuss the individual elements of the SXO audit in the field of User Experience.

SXO audit and website speed

Page speed is one of the major factors in SXO that can affect the level of user satisfaction when interacting with a company’s website or online store. The faster the website runs, the better the UX. So make sure that your mobile site loads about a second, and your desktop site does not load for more than 3 seconds. How can you do this and improve the site’s performance and load times?

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– For starters, check the page load time with a free tool – PageSpeed Insights or gtMetrix. Enter the website address in the tool search bar and check the parameters.
– Follow the page speed improvement tips provided in the tools.
– Use only modern photo formats – JPG and JPEG.
– Limit the size of files stored on the server.
– Consider deploying a CDN server network.
– Limit the length of JavaScript, CSS and HTML code to a minimum – remove unnecessary elements.
Choose the hosting that gives you the performance you need.
– Consider implementing page loading from cache.
– Remove unnecessary plugins and scripts that may adversely affect the speed of the website.

SXO audit and website mobility

The SXO audit must verify the availability of the website on various devices, including mobile devices. How to check site mobility? Use the Mobile Friendly Test tool – it will show if the website is optimized for mobile devices.

– Use Google Search Console – in the Service on mobile devices report you will find any errors in this regard, e.g. too small fonts, too small gaps between clickable elements, content width greater than the screen width, etc.
– Perform a test order yourself on a mobile device and check if there are any obstacles that may be preventing it.

Based on data from Google Search Console, fix errors in the operation of the website on mobile devices. As a result, you will likely get more visitors who may have opted out of conversion earlier due to problems with the functioning of the website.

SXO audit and website availability

Website availability is another important element of the SXO audit. In the verification process, the specialist checks that the website:

– ensures security – websites without an SSL certificate often hinder or even prevent access,
– it is efficient at the expected level and will be available even in the event of heavy traffic at one time,
– it is easily available on a smartphone as well as on desktop devices and laptops or tablets.

SXO audit and website readability

One of the criteria for analyzing a website in the SXO audit is the readability of the content. The following are subject to verification:

– font size on stationary and mobile devices – does it allow you to easily read the content,
– background color on the page – does not make it difficult to read the content, is not too bright,
– contrast between the font color and the background,
– the use of bolds, bullets, headings and paragraphs to make it easier for the reader to read the most important parts of the content.

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SXO audit and Core Web Vitals optimization

Core Web Vitals is the result of one of the latest updates to the Google algorithm. It is an extension of the Page Experience algorithm, and its purpose is to provide users with the best possible browsing experience resulting from their stability and loading speed. Core Web Vitals consists of three elements:

– loading time for the largest element on the page – LCP (Largest Contentful Paint) – should be from 2.5 to 4 seconds,
– page loading time in such a way that it can be used freely – FID (First Input Delay) – should be from 100 to 300 milliseconds,
– visual stability – CLS (Cumulative Layout Shift) – should be between 0.1 and 0.25.

Core Web Vitals are also subject to an SXO audit of websites and online stores. The specialist, with the help of tools, checks which parameters in this regard are noted by the website and proposes changes. How to improve CWV metrics?

– Take care of photo compression. \ Enable cache function. – Choose the right hosting for your needs.
– Choose the sizes of graphics appropriately.
– Use external resources (YouTube, CDN server network).
– Check lazyload actions.
– Improve dynamic loading of elements on the page.

Interface functionality and SXO audit

The quality of the user interface can also affect the user’s experience on the website and their propensity to convert. In the SXO audit process, we verify:

– is it legible and easy to use,
– do the links take users to the expected places on or off the site,
– whether all internal and external links work properly,
– is the menu and the structure of the categories / offer pages intuitive and sufficiently extensive, taking into account the website’s SEO,
– are the logos clickable,
– whether the names of categories and subpages meet the expectations of users and contain key phrases,
– whether certain elements are located in places where the user expects them (e.g. contact details in the footer and the basket logo in the upper right corner),
– Whether the site has an internal search engine and the ability to filter results on the e-commerce site.

It is a good practice to use a hamburger menu (drop-down menu) on mobile devices, as well as a sticky menu, i.e. a sticky menu that is visible all the time while scrolling the page. Also, remember to use good names for product categories and listing pages so that the user knows exactly what to find at a specific URL.

SXO audit a call to action

Call to action plays an important role in online marketing – they encourage users to take desired actions, for example, adding a product to the basket, completing an order, filling out a contact form. In the SXO audit process, we verify the effectiveness of buttons on the website and the effectiveness of their arrangement, content and colors. If necessary, we propose changes in this regard. The best content of a call to action button is one that suggests what action the user should perform, eg add to cart, download a guide, etc. Also use the language of the benefits, eg “Get 10% discount”, “Create a free account”. Check out how to create effective CTAs to increase conversions.

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SXO audit and content quality

Content quality matters to website and store SEO (SEO), but it also affects the user experience. Useful high-quality content can encourage recipients to return to the website, convert, build brand awareness and trust in it. Therefore, in the SXO audit process, it is worth analyzing the effectiveness and quality of the content. For this purpose, we check:

– whether the content contains key phrases and whether the content is not saturated with them,
– whether the phrases are matched to the business profile and stage of the customer’s shopping path (SEO element),
– whether the content provides the information users are looking for, is comprehensive and useful,
– whether the content is matched to the user’s search intentions,
– whether the content uses the language of benefits.

SXO audit and conversion optimization

The SXO audit must verify the conversion rate generated by the website. Based on the results, you can determine which aspects of the website’s functioning can be improved to gain more customers, subscribers, contact details, etc. During the SXO audit, we check:

– the degree of filling in the contact form (at what stage users resign from filling it in),
– the number of abandoned baskets and the stage at which the transaction is abandoned,
– bounce rate and engagement rate (available in Google Analytics and Google Analytics 4, respectively),
– the number of views on the thank you page,
– number of conversions, conversion rate.

SXO audit – the most common UX errors

The SXO audit allows you to find and eliminate the most common errors on websites that negatively affect the user experience. These errors include:

– too complicated and long conversion process,
– it is not possible to place content in different places on the website (e.g. category description in two places – above and below the products),
– placement of buttons in places that users are not used to,
– too long contact forms,
– buttons and calls to action that are not sufficiently distinguishable
– too long page loading time,
– errors in the functioning of the website on mobile devices,
– wrong contrast on the page,
– no internal search engine and filtering.

SXO audit. Summary

SXO audit is an important element of modern search engine marketing. allows you to check not only what effects the website generates in the context of positioning, but also how it fits in with the expectations of modern users. With performance verification, you can not only get more traffic, but also convert more recipients into real customers. Perfect UX is not the future, but the present in online marketing.

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