Mastering search rankings is a complicated but necessary part of digital marketing. Search ranking factors evolve regularly, and Google doesn’t give away the secret sauce on how it determines where you show up in organic search results. It uses approximately 200 different factors!
SEO is a long-term, ongoing strategy that businesses need to keep on their radar. So, what are the top search ranking factors in 2022? Let’s find out.
High-Quality Content Is the Top Priority
Google consistently prioritizes high-quality content in rankings. It’s not the quantity of content—it’s quality. So, what does quality mean?
- It’s optimized for SEO but doesn’t overuse keywords.
- Content with a high readability score includes word choice, sentence length, using active vs. passive sentences, and other components that make content easy and engaging to consume.
- The content’s structure and organization on the page provide the best user experience (i.e., using headers, bulleted lists, etc.)
- Relevancy to the query by the searcher.
- Unique and fresh content, meaning it’s original and new.
Backlinks Demonstrate Confidence in Content
Backlinks are links on other websites to a page on your website. The more credible the referring site is, the more Google takes notice. For example, a link to your website from a community directory, chamber of commerce, or a company you partner with would signal to search engines that your content is trustworthy.
Matching Search Intent to Your Content
Google wants to understand the intent of a search by a user, and they want to provide the searcher with the most relevant results. You should consider this when developing content for your website. Here is an example:
A user searches “common sprinkler systems repairs,” which would indicate they have a problem to solve. Developing content to align with this will help you rank well. When the user clicks on your content, you’ll define those common repair needs and advise them to contact your company for help.
Website Speed Matters to Google and Users
Page loading speed is a critical element to ranking. Many users will abandon your site if it is slow to render, which can increase your bounce rate. The reason Google cares is that it ties to user experience.
It’s a good idea to test your page speeds often. If they are getting slower, you’ll want to know why and what website design or coding issues to address.
Mobile Friendliness Remains a Top Search Ranking Factor
In 2019, Google began indexing and ranking based on the mobile version of your website. If there are usability errors or a poor user experience, Google will penalize you. Thus, to boost your rankings and deliver an excellent experience on mobile, you must have a responsive website that renders accurately on any device.
If you haven’t updated your website design to be as mobile-friendly as possible, it could be time for a redesign.
Keyword Optimization Relating to Your Business and Audience
Every page on your website should have specific keywords. Those keywords need to be relevant to your business and what your ideal customer would search. It’s not enough to just put a keyword on the page. It should also be in your:
- Title tag
- Meta description
- Image alt text
- Content body
You want to use keywords naturally and avoid stuffing. If you use a keyword too often, it can decrease your ranking. Use it a few times in the content and mix things up with variations.
Is Your Website Winning in Search Ranking Factors?
Ranking well on Google includes the factors above and many more. It’s necessary to invest time and resources into SEO to drive traffic to your website and increase conversions. If you want to rank better, our SEO experts can help. Check out our solutions.