It’s 2017, and user experience (UX) matters more than ever. Going forward in this year, Google will only make it more of a priority. Nothing has been concretely proven yet, but it’s hard to deny the correlation between sites with better usability and higher search engine rankings. Why does Google put such a focus on something seemingly unrelated to the actual information that people are looking for?

Google isn’t just doing it out of the goodness of their hearts – it’s because higher engagement with a website almost certainly means a user found what they were looking for, and that’s something Google likes to see. It matters in 2017, and it can dramatically increase your conversion rates. In this part of the guide, we’ll cover the most important parts of UX and how to do them right.

Loading times matter

There have been plenty of studies on how loading times affect your bottom line. About half of all users expect your site to load fully in 10 seconds or less. Going forward in 2017, metrics related to UX such as bounce rate and user engagement are expected to weigh heavier on Google rankings. If half of your traffic is bouncing away from your site, that’s not going to help. Want to increase your page speed? Consider:

  • Optimizing your images for SEO and for UX
  • Using videos only where necessary (such as the home page)
  • Upgrading your hosting
  • Or enabling caching

A one second delay could cost you 7% in conversions.

Make sure you’ve got what customers are looking for

One of the biggest contributors to customer dissatisfaction is when your site lacks what visitors are actually looking for. They’ve come to your site expecting some information and when they don’t get it, they get a bit flustered. If you want better UX, you should:

  • Make sure what they’ve searched for is front and center on your landing page (the right keywords, matching offer, etc.).
  • Provide a Contact Us page. 51% of consumers think thorough contact information is the most important element missing from company websites.
  • Provide a unique About Us page. Avoid fluff and tell your story.
  • Have engaging content. Customers will bounce if the content isn’t attractive. This means writing unique, engaging, and actionable content. Long paragraph blocks are a no-no.

Clean up your menus!

Navigation is one of the most important parts of your website. Not only can it be optimized for SEO, it also is a major player in the usability aspect of web design, too. Think about the last time you were at a restaurant that had a menu with 2,000 choices – wasn’t it hard to choose? Make it easy for your visitors to find where they want to go. 50% of consumers use the navigation bar to orient themselves and if they have trouble using it, they might bounce.

In 2017, Google is going to care more about how engaging and usable your website it. If you want to succeed in the rankings, you’ve got to make your site friendly to your visitors.