Google will be using certain ranking factors in 2022 to calculate your ranking in the search engines. If you’re wondering which ranking factors are important for my website, then continue reading as we have explained which ranking signals are particularly important this year.
Top Google Ranking Signals Until Today
Every year Google delights us with several new ranking signals for the websites, e-shops, and landing pages.
- 2016, it was SSL encryption with HTTPS
- 2017, usability was a top priority on mobile websites
- 2018, Google relied on machine learning
- 2019, HTTPS was weighted more heavily and
- 2020, load times on mobile or responsive websites are the next big thing.
- 2021 and 2022, the scheme and featured snippets are at the top of the list
Google Ranking Signals In 2022
Apart from all the new ranking signals, good, relevant content is and will remain the key to top placement in Google search results. However, with over a billion websites in the Google index, how do you categorize good, relevant content from the bad and irrelevant ones?
What you need to know is that all of these ranking signals are there to ensure an even better user experience and to increase your ranking on Google:
- SSL encryption ensures secure communication between the user and the website.
- Usability on mobile websites helps us to get the desired content quickly and easily everywhere.
- Rankbrain also helps Google to answer unknown questions for us quickly and accurately.
- Optimized loading times on all end devices save time, nerves, and data volume.
I know it seems almost impossible to keep track of all these old and new ranking signals and at the same time not lose sight of the goal of the SEO strategy. The good news, however, is that ranking signals will continue to adapt to user behavior – and we can work with that for happy users and a good Google ranking.
This means that we can at least guess which SEO trends will come our way in the course of this and next year. It allows us to offer an even better user experience on our websites, blogs, and e-shops.
While there are of course more ranking signals than those already mentioned, the following ranking factors will catapult us to the top of the search results this year. So, here are the Google ranking factors that will be important in 2022 to achieve a good Google ranking.
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Post High-Quality Content Only
The times in which you could score points in the search engine with a few short news on the blog on your product and service pages are long gone. Nevertheless, there are still many website operators who try exactly that and then wonder why you only appear on page 10 on Google – if at all. In 2022, content is king perhaps even more than before.
The content on your website must be relevant and valuable for the visitor, i.e. trigger a purchase decision on the website. That requires relevant and in-depth content. ‘Thin content’, i.e. short content with meaningless marketing talk, does more harm than it helps. We would like to thank Google’s Panda and Fred algorithm updates for this.
It doesn’t even spare the big names like Apple and eBay. Content that is too thin also hurts big brands. High-quality content is pages that invite you to linger, reduce the bounce rate, and are helpful for website users. They answer questions, solve a problem or enable the right action at the right time (e.g. to make a booking).
On the other hand, pages with high-quality content have to be able to do a little more than just be well-written and be of sufficient length. You also need to consider the following factors to be listed at the top
Search Intent: Identify What Your Audience Is Searching
You can only serve your audience with a perfectly coordinated landing page if you know in advance what the website user is going to do with the information posted. However, to understand what users are looking for, you have to deal with your web analytics software in detail, such as Google Analytics.
Reports such as Site Search (for what page visitors have used the search function) give you good clues as to what is really of interest. You can also use the search analysis report in the Google Search Console to see exactly which keywords your website is clicked on.
Armed with this data, you can tackle the second, essential step for the optimal alignment of your website: Keyword analysis.
Keyword Analysis: Identifying The Search Volume
Sure, you can rank without a keyword analysis, but that’s a special or rare case. By conducting keyword analysis of the search volumes for relevant keywords or also from the websites of your competitors, you can determine precisely the required information.
However, traditional keyword analysis is not enough in 2022. At best, it provides indications of attractive keywords for you and your website.
In 2022 you need to go a step further. Use the keyword analysis as a basis and identify relevant topics from your industry or your niche. You can now effectively use different sub-pages to address these topics under one umbrella term. Little by little, you will develop a content hub that covers all of your core topics with high-quality content.
Voice Search: The Growing Trend
According to a Google study, up to 72% of people use voice control on their mobile phones every day primarily for searching. It shouldn’t surprise anyone that in the age of voice assistants like Siri, Alexa, and Cortana, search behavior will also change permanently.
The good news: You can handle optimization for voice search in a similar way to optimization for the Rankbrain algorithm. Formulate natural questions and answers on your website – always as high-quality content, of course. A good Google ranking is therefore no longer only possible or desired in text form.
I have put together a few facts and figures about voice search for you:
- Page Speed is a crucial factor in voice search. The average top result for voice search loads 52% faster than the second-placed page.
- HTTPS is a must for getting good voice search results. 70.4% of the top results are HTTPS-secured sites.
- Domain authority is also a crucial factor in voice search. The average Ahrefs ranking of the top results is 76.8 points.
- Scheme.org awards do not play a statistically significant role in voice search (but they do in normal Google searches).
- Short, crisp answers are essential in voice search. The average answer is only 29 words.
- Simple language is still in demand. Short, concise sentences also dominate the voice search.
- Social signals are also an important indicator of good content in voice searches. The average top result has 1,199 Facebook shares and 44 tweets.
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Use Google Tools For Rich Snippets
Use rich snippets with Schema markup to present your website content prominently in search results. This can be, for example, photos, star ratings, or short excerpts that are visually more appealing than the rest of the search results. This not only gives you a good Google ranking, but also a visually appealing look.
Rich snippets not only increase the click rate on search results (the eye ultimately clicks too), they also reduce the bounce rate of your website. This is because site visitors already get a brief overview of what is hidden behind the search result that leads them to your website.
If the search results are a door to your homepage, then rich snippets are a peek through the open window. To make this further worthwhile a reader’s attention, the content has to be right. So, treat each subpage like your home page, figuratively speaking.
Make Your Website Mobile-Friendly
Do you remember when the mobile web was in its infancy and there were two versions of every website? A desktop page where everything was written on it and a stripped-down mobile page that was always pretty ugly?
In 2022, those times will be over for good, at least if you want to be at the top of the Google search results. The trend has been towards responsive design since 2011, but will definitely become a Google ranking factor from July this year.
While separate mobile pages were tolerated for a long time, it is of course a huge effort to maintain them from the company side, as well as to index them separately from the Google side.
So, if you are still the proud owner of a separate mobile site, you should definitely get rid of it this year and go for responsive design.
Use SSL Encryption (HTTPS)
It is no coincidence that as early as 2017, 30% of all top rankings on Google were achieved by SSL-encrypted websites. For the US giants, SSL encryption plays a key role in the user experience. SSL was first introduced as a ranking signal in the Google algorithm in 2014, and its importance has only increased since then.
If those aren’t good reasons for SSL encryption, then I don’t know what is.
Offer Excellent User Experience (UX)
A good user experience (UX) is much more than just a ranking factor on Google. Good UX helps you as a website operator, as well as your visitors. Those who find their way around and find exactly what they are looking for not only like to buy but also like to come back. Of course, there are tricks to increase the conversion rate, such as artificial scarcity, but a good user experience is much more important.
Search engines such as Google and Bing also include the time spent on your website in the ranking. A good user experience also aims to keep your visitors on your pages long enough until they either convert or continue surfing. A high bounce rate is usually a sign of UX errors.
It is also crucial that information is clearly and logically arranged, not just on sub-pages or landing pages, but in the entire page structure.
Effective Information Architecture
The information architecture of your site is one of the crucial pillars of successful search engine optimization and is reflected directly in your Google ranking. A well-thought-out and easy-to-understand page structure not only helps your users to find their way around better (and increases the length of stay by up to 74%) but also helps search engine crawlers to index their page more easily and efficiently. Cornerstone Content is the basis for placing good content correctly for Google.
In short, your website should be structured in such a way that even a child can find their way around it. Navigation and sub-pages should be structured in such a way that a user needs a maximum of three to four clicks to reach any sub-page.
While this is not always that easy on extremely complex pages, there is also a solution here: A mega menu or a search and filter function can make navigation extremely easier. Make it easy for your customers and visitors to find exactly what they are looking for.
Internal links are everything that connects one of your subpages with another subpage. These can be links in blog posts, call-to-action boxes, related articles, and the popular up.
However, have you ever thought of using these internal links strategically for search engine optimization? With cleverly placed links, you can give certain subpages more weight than others.
If you have a long blog post, guide, or an informative piece on your website, then link your most valuable subpages in as many places (where it is logical, of course) as possible. In this way, you not only get more traffic and click-throughs but also you get to show the search engine that this subpage is particularly important.
Optimizing Website’s Page Speed And Reducing Loading Times
Google has announced that page load times on mobile devices will be one of the key ranking factors for the year. However, page speed is also one of the decisive factors for website operators when it comes to conversions (i.e. deals) or the length of time spent on the page.
For the industry giant Amazon, for example, just one second of additional loading time means a loss of 1.6 billion US dollars each year.
The British newspaper, The Telegraph, has found that a page load time of just four seconds can reduce the number of visitors by over 11% percent. Then why take the risk?
There are many tools available to help you determine the average page load time. One of them is Google’s own tool ‘PageSpeed Insights’ – try it out, and you will be surprised.
If your important sub-pages score below the critical 80% mark, you should act immediately. Every additional day will cost you visitors and therefore potential customers.
Prioritize On-Page Optimization
The sum of your SEO efforts is only as good as its weakest link. This means that efforts should always start on the sub-pages of your website. There is a lot to do here: metadata, microdata, internal links, ALT tags for images, and many more construction sites that can help you in your efforts.
Make Catchy Title And Meta Description
This information includes the title tag and the description, i.e. what is displayed by your page in the search engines. The Search Engine Journal reported last December that Google had extended the length of the excerpts in the SERPs. When asked, however, Google announced that these page extracts did not have a fixed length.
Be that as it may, the titles and descriptions of your website in the SERPs (search result pages) largely determine how likely it is that your website will be clicked. Therefore, optimize all relevant titles and excerpts so that searchers know exactly what to expect on your page.
Schema Markup: Structured Data
Structured data is another hidden element of your website that tells search engines more about the content of the page. Schema came into being in 2011 and now contains over 600 different types of metadata that you can add to your company website.
These help search engines recognize and correctly process the really important data on your website (such as company information, opening times, ratings, and much more). Without microdata, everything is just text in the end. Schema Markups help Google to show rich snippets in the search results pages.
Success Through Microdata
Rotten Tomatoes was able to achieve a 25% higher click rate and an improved Google ranking through strategically placed microdata.
The Food Network was able to increase its Google ranking and increase its traffic for pages by over 35% after using Schema Markup codes.
How Does Schema Work?
Either your website already contains the correct Schema markup, or you can use one of the many generators to generate microdata for your website. If it gets too technical for you, try hiring a professional company to do it for you.
The information architecture isn’t everything, at least if you don’t link your important pages to one another. Strategically well-placed, internal links can lift weaker sites and additionally push sites with strong content.
The internal links on a page can be divided into five different categories:
- Canonicals (e.g. redirecting category pages to a landing page on the same topic)
- Define core topics (Cornerstone-Content).
- Help website visitors
- Manage link flow (i.e., where do visitors navigate when they’re on your page)
- Prioritize the indexing of certain pages
For your internal link strategy, first, concentrate on your users (which pages they find interesting?) and only then divert your attention on driving traffic to your most important pages.
A well-thought-out, internal link structure also helps with conversion optimization, as it organically guides visitors to a deal.
Alt tags are a factor for a good Google ranking that we often miss out. It is too much work to adequately describe each of the many pictures. Otherwise, one does not know about the potential behind well-described pictures.
These alt tags are not only important for people with visual impairments. They describe images on the website, but also for search engines. Machine image recognition is currently in its infancy. Therefore, it is important to help search engine robots to recognize images correctly. This is where the alt tags come into play.
Ranking Factor Alt Tags
Neatly named and tagged images help you to be found for your keywords in the Google image search. It is especially true if you have a lot of visual content (for example infographics) on your site. This way it could be a significant source of steady traffic that you should not ignore.
Earn Relevant Backlinks
Links will be one of the most important ranking factors for Google this year and next. So, if you want to rank well in 2022 and beyond, you should never neglect link building.
Case studies are a good way to present your skills and services using a specific example and get relevant backlinks. By doing this, you not only show concrete results of your work but also satisfied customers. That is not only noticeable in backlinks, but also in a solid Google ranking.
Put together an article on a hot topic in your industry with (if desired, different) expert opinions. These can be Facebook posts, tweets, or quotes from relevant specialist articles. The experts will be happy about the publicity on your blog and will be happy to link to it. However, don’t forget to inform the experts beforehand and, if necessary, ask for permission.
Infographics are a great way to clearly illustrate difficult-to-understand facts. With a good infographic, you can convince customers and create content that goes viral on social media.
Pro Tip: Make it easy for your visitors to share the infographics by providing a link or by optimizing the infographics for various social networks.
In many industries, it is already common practice to conduct annual surveys among customers or cooperation partners. For example, the Content Marketing Institute’s report on B2B and B2C marketing is a popular and frequently linked representative. That is extremely good for the Google ranking.
Free Content or Tools
Some companies and tools are not just awesome for marketing services. They also offer a good means of generating publicity and backlinks. Books, white papers, or free tools that interest your target group generate new audiences, backlinks and traffic.
Now it’s your turn
Which of these ranking factors for a successful Google ranking have you already mastered? Which ranking factors give you a headache? How can we help you with your Google ranking? Write to us and we will be happy to help you.