Google Search is undoubtedly the most popular search engine around. The company owes its success to its dedication to putting customers first. Google tailors its products to the pulse of its consumers, creating only the best user experiences.
Like the previous years, Google Search has refreshed its algorithm to prioritize key ranking factors in 2022. But don’t sweat. To make things easier for you, we’ve rounded up everything you need to know in this blog. Below are the top 10 Google algorithm ranking factors for 2022.
1. Fresh and Engaging Content
This year, content continues its reign as the king of the web. It makes a lot of sense for Google to prioritize content since people rely on the website for information.
The search engine has gotten a lot better at differentiating websites with high-value content from those that resort to keyword stuffing. Although keywords are still important, your focus should be tackling relevant topics and providing good answers to common queries.
Users ask questions with varying intent, so you need a slightly different strategy for each article. Remember who you’re writing for and make your sentences easy to scan and digest.
2. Niche Expertise
With literally thousands of websites to choose from, you need to set yourself apart from the competition. The best way to do that is to demonstrate exceptional knowledge and expertise. Not only does it earn user trust, but it also gives search engines a reason to bump you up on SERPs.
Google Search dubs a website as a niche expert if it has a cluster of at least 10 authoritative pages on the same keyword.
The first step is to choose the right keyword to target. Niche-specific keywords have less search volume but they give you a better chance to rank well and attract consumers that are likely to convert.
As always, you must understand your target audience and produce quality content without fail. The goal is to have consumers believe that they could trust your judgment and rely on your website for credible information.
3. User Engagement
User engagement was first introduced into the ranking algorithm in 2016. Thanks to advancements in click fraud detection, Google has been able to give it more weight in recent years.
The metric takes into account bounce rate, session length, and pages per session to determine how well your site encourages users to interact with your brand.
Stunning visuals and fresh content are the cornerstones of a great user engagement strategy. Both components motivate visitors to explore your website and ultimately convert as paying customers.
Providing live chat, personalizing UX, and gamification are some of the other ways you can boost user engagement.
At this point, it shouldn’t be surprising that mobile-friendliness is on the list. Mobile commerce holds 72.9% of the total eCommerce market share, plus mobile users only get more numerous every day.
Google favors websites that adapt well to smartphones and tablets of different specs and sizes. This means that you need to take a mobile-first approach during development or redesign.
Users should be able to read text without having to zoom in. Also, they should have no problem pressing CTA buttons and loading graphics.
To test your website, use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test Tool. It generates your score in under 30 seconds together with a summary of mobile-usability errors.
Keywords go way back to the 2000s when Google had yet to refine its algorithm. Back then, it was enough to stuff as many keywords as you can on a web page to boost your ranking. But if you attempted the same trick today, you’d only make things worse.
The new rule is quality over quantity. You must understand the different types of keywords, where to place them, and how to monitor their performance. Additionally, inserting keywords into your content must be done as naturally as possible.
Use keywords in title tags, meta descriptions, URLs, and throughout the main body of your text.
Backlinks are great for SEO because they tell Google that other websites vouch for the quality of your content. The more backlinks a page has, the more a search engine believes it should appear on top of SERPs.
Earning backlinks is no easy task. Your articles must be well-researched and organized to compel other content creators to cite your work. You also need to move fast and publish blogs on the latest trends ahead of your competitors.
The best backlinks are those that appear on popular authoritative websites. These generate quality leads and have positive effects on rankings. In contrast, backlinks on spammy websites do the exact opposite and must be removed by submitting a disavow file to Google.
7. Internal Links
Internal links are hyperlinks that lead to a different page of the same site. They’re used to establish content hierarchy which helps search engines find and organize information across web pages.
They’re critical to the ranking algorithm because they make the job of web crawlers much easier. When a web crawler or Googlebot lands on a homepage, it follows the first link, renders that page, and moves on to the next.
Internal links show Googlebots which of your pages are related and ensure that they don’t miss anything important for indexing. As for visitors, internal links are meant to simplify website navigation and encourage user engagement.
You can maximize the influence of internal links over the ranking algorithm by linking related content back to one authoritative page. This means you need to be mindful of information architecture as you develop your content calendar and expand your website.
8. Domain Security
It’s not just people who get turned off when they see your website riddled with spam and sketchy links. Search engines flag suspicious domains and warn visitors of the risks before they allow entry to the website.
If you get blacklisted due to poor security and past data breaches, your best efforts to boost your rankings are all for nothing.
Strengthen your website’s defenses by implementing updates, regular maintenance, and scheduled malware scans. Moreover, don’t forget to renew your SSL certificate and to backup your website.
9. UX/UI Design
UX is one of the newer additions to the ranking algorithm. The update went live in 2021 as Google Page Experience. According to the developer guide they released, UX as a ranking factor focuses on Core Web Vitals, which we talked about in our past blog.
To give you a quick overview, Core Web Vitals encompass LCP (Largest Contentful Paint), FID (First Input Delay), and CLS (Cumulative Layout Shift). These three elements cover loading time, responsiveness, and visual stability.
But of course, there’s a lot more to UX/UI design such as usability, accessibility, information architecture, and interactivity, among others. Ultimately, optimizing your website for this metric requires a lot of thought and continuous improvements to nail a user-centric design.
10. Page Speed
Finally, there’s page speed. This ranking factor is actually covered by UX, but its impact is so great that it’s monitored separately.
Google PageSpeed Insights is a tool that will assess loading times and give tips on how to speed things up.
Usually, problems with site speed are because of unoptimized graphics or excessive HTTP requests. These are easy to resolve and make a big difference in user experience and Google rankings.
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