Google Ranking Factors in 2022
Google’s search algorithm is a constantly changing thing. Actually, Google rolls out a new update to its algorithm every week or so. However, in this post, we’re going to talk about the most important updates that happened during this year already and a summary of 2021 updates. Let’s dive in.
1. Consistent publication of engaging content
Since the primary goal of any search engine is to provide the searcher with the most relevant search results possible, search engine algorithms negatively rank websites where many users leave within the first few seconds of landing on the page.
For this reason, it’s crucial to create content that will effectively engage with your target audience. Not only will this help drive targeted traffic to your website, but it will also boost your ranking in search results over time as the algorithm sees users engaging with your content.
2. Keywords in meta title tags
For those unfamiliar with the term, the ‘meta title tag’ is the title of any given webpage; to view it, simply hover your cursor over the tab of any open website. In short, the title tag is just a title that helps searchers and search engines decide what the webpage is all about.
A major factor for getting organic search traffic to your site is using clear and descriptive titles that include the keywords the page is targeting. Placing the keywords in the title tag helps search engines decide what the page is about and the search queries it would perform best in.
Another major SEO factor is the number of websites that link to your website; these are called ‘backlinks’. Backlinks are important because they help search engines determine your website’s authority in your niche – the more websites in your industry that link to your site, the more likely your site is to be a credible, quality website.
4. Niche expertise
According to recent data gathered by First Page SEO, Niche Expertise has risen in Google’s ranking factors algorithm over the last year – up from 12% last year to 13% this year.
This change highlights the importance of ‘hub and spoke SEO’, where high-level pages targeting major keywords link back to multiple sub-pages that target an assortment of related keywords.
5. Internal linking
‘Internal linking’ refers to any link from one page on your website to another page on your website. Internal links help search engines decide what content on your site is related and better determine their value. For instance, a page on your website that receives more links will appear more important to search engines than a page that receives fewer links.
6. Mobile friendly website
With mobile web browsing continuing to overtake desktop browsing by a larger percentage each year, it’s more important than ever to make sure that your website performs well on mobile browsers.
Not only is having a mobile-friendly website important for user experience, but it also is a major ranking factor for search engines like Google. This means it’s time to make sure your website is using a responsive design that works on all browsers and devices, optimize your site’s loading speed, and focus on ‘thumb-friendly designs’.
Other important things to consider when optimizing for mobile devices include:
- Be mindful of pop-ups; use them sparingly on mobile websites, as it can degrade the user experience
- Make sure the font is legible on smaller devices.
- Make CTA’s on your website easy to find
7. User engagement
Over the last several years, Google has begun to place a larger emphasis on high-quality user engagement; this includes their implementation of search features like the Featured Snippets, which may pull content from lower-ranking sites to feature at the top of a search results page.
These new features have had some interesting consequences. According to data from Search Engine Land, zero-click searches accounted for almost 65% of all web searches in 2020, up from just 50% in 2019. With the featured snippets and other similar features being able to answer searcher’s questions without having to click on any site, this can have drastic effects on your website’s click-through rate.
For this reason, it’s become more important to prioritize user engagement over attempting to rank highly in search results. Some good ways to do this are by using video content, which has been shown to keep users on a site up to 2.6x longer, or by integrating interactive content.
8. Site speed
This one’s pretty simple; nobody likes a website that loads slowly, and Google will demote your website in search results if it doesn’t load fast enough.
Luckily, there are steps you can take to improve the speed of your website. These include things like optimizing and compressing images, minifying the page’s source code, and caching resources on your site.
9. SSL certificate (security concern)
Google has recently started including Secure Socket Layer (SSL) certificates as a ranking factor of a website’s trustworthiness. This means that having an SSL certificate on your website is now effectively an industry standard.
Having a valid SSL certificate also helps improve user experience; many users report feeling much safer engaging with a website when they see the small padlock icon in the URL bar.
10. Schema markup
Schema markup is structured data created by industry leaders Microsoft, Google, and Yahoo to help search engines understand the content of web pages. It helps web crawlers properly identify important information and context, like names, phone numbers, and other information.
11. Keywords in URL
Placing the keywords you’re targeting in the URL of the webpage helps both users and search engines determine what the webpage is about.
While most keyword relevance is gathered from a webpage’s content, search engines will take into consideration the URL of a web page in highly competitive segments.
According to the head of Google’s Web Spam team, Matt Cutts, keywords in the URL do indeed help, however, they note that webmasters shouldn’t obsess over them, and could be detrimental to search rankings if not done properly.
12. Keywords in header tags
Similarly, you should be placing your targeted keywords in your web page’s H1 and H2 tags as well. This helps both search engines and users figure out what each piece of content is about.
Header tags help break up your content into smaller, easier-to-digest sections. By including the keywords you’re targeting in the header tags, you can more effectively drive targeted traffic to your pages.
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13. Keywords in meta description tags
In addition to placing the keywords you’re targeting in the header tags, you should also make sure they’re in the meta description tags of your webpages as well.
Hopefully, this article has given you a better insight into many of the most important ranking factors for Google’s search algorithms. While not a comprehensive list, this should be enough to get your site closer to the coveted position one.
To get a better understanding of how your website ranks in local search SEO, you can use our Rank Tracker at https://seobase.com/rank-tracker/. With our rank tracker tool, you can easily see how your website performs on all search engines.