Google's Top 10 Ranking Factors for 2022

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Google's Top 10 Ranking Factors for 2022
Google’s Top 10 Ranking Factors for 2022

With Google being the most used search engine with over 5 billion searches conducted daily, you of course would like to rank higher there. But do you know that Google uses more than 200 factors for deciding the rank of the websites? Yes, great number, we know. However, the good news is that you don’t need to consider and optimize for all these factors. Even our experienced Jacksonville SEO experts don’t focus on all of them. All you need to do is compile a list of a few top-ranking factors confirmed by Google and know the latest trends. 

In this blog, we have enlisted some major ranking factors to help ease this task for you, so that you can successfully optimize your website for 2022 and stay ahead of the competition. So, if you are wondering what these factors are and which factors should you prioritize, read further.

Google’s Top Ranking Factors for 2022

As an SEO specialist, one should have a good grasp of Google algorithms, so let’s begin with Google’s latest algorithm update -the Core Web Vitals.

1. Core Web Vitals

Core Web Vitals are a hot topic as well as the most important ranking factor now. They are basically a set of three specific metrics namely Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), First Input Delay (FID), and Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) that Google uses to measure the user experience of your website. Let us know them in detail.

Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): It measures the time from when the page starts loading to when the largest element is rendered on the screen. The lower the LCP, the better. 

Steps to optimize Largest Contentful Paint:

  • First measure your LCP score. Page Speed Insights is the easiest way to do so.
  • If you find it to be longer than four seconds, consider the following ways to improve your Largest Contentful Paint performance.
  • Improve the TTFB (Time to First Byte) 
  • Reduce the server response time or choose a fast server hosting service
  • Use a CDN
  • Defer JavaScript, non-critical CSS, inline critical CSS
  • Remove unused JavaScript and unused CSS
  • Minify your CSS and JS files
  • Compress your text files and optimize the images
  • Consider establishing third-party connections as soon as possible and use preload for critical assets.

First Input Delay (FID): It measures the time from when a user first interacts with the website to the time the browser responds to that interaction in milliseconds. So, basically, it underlies a user’s first impression of your website, Better make the best one! 

How to optimize First Input Delay?

  • The browser cannot respond to the user’s interaction while executing JavaScript on the main thread. Hence, you need to improve it. To do so consider breaking up long tasks (a piece of code that blocks the main thread for more than 50 ms). Splitting them up will reduce input delay on your site. 
  • Then start optimizing your page for interaction readiness. Here you need to work on first-party script execution, data-fetching, and third-party execution as these can greatly impact many aspects of interaction readiness. 
  • Start using a web worker. As a blocked main thread is the main cause of the input delay, using a web worker makes it possible to run the JavaScript on a background thread. Thus, cutting down the main thread blocking time and improving FID. 
  • Reducing JavaScript execution time also enhances the FID. Limit the amount of JavaScript executed on your page by deferring unused JavaScript and minimizing unused polyfills.

Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)It measures the cumulative score of all unexpected layout shifts that occurs while the page is completely loading. A page’s visual stability heavily influences the user experience. Hence, reducing CLS is a must. The lower the CLS, the better is the visual stability of the page. 

The following are some ways that can help you optimize the CLS:

  • Always include size attributes on your images as well video elements. 
  • Consider reserving the required space with CSS aspect ratio boxes to ensure that the browser allocates the correct amount of space while the image is loading.
  • Don’t insert content above existing content, except in response to a user’s interaction to ensure that the layout shift that occurs is expected. 
  • Prefer to transform animations over animations of properties.

Also refer to our guide on Core Web Vitals: what are they and why are they important for more information.

2. High-quality content with properly optimized keywords

High-quality and engaging content has surpassed backlinks as the top-ranking factor now. So, you need to greatly focus on creating content that is unique, fresh, and helpful for the users. Following are some points that will help you create content that Google wants:

Original, unique, and valuable contentGoogle always prioritizes content that is unique and fresh. So, always create content that is not only engaging but also unique and valuable. But if your content is duplicated or similar to other web pages, it affects your SEO negatively and Google might not consider ranking it. So, be sure to provide a piece that is better than other websites. 

Up to date contentWith unique and valuable, your content should also be fresh and updated. Google prefers ranking topics with the latest information and thus content freshness plays a big role in enhancing your SEO. This is a great way to boost your content quality and increase your chances of ranking.

Consistent publication of content: The past year has confirmed that Google tests fresh content to check if it responds well to the search intent of the users. Hence, you should consider producing new content at least twice a week as a general rule.

Grammar and spellingThough grammar and spelling don’t really affect your rankings as Google does not have any issue with poor grammar, you will lose the trust and interest of your audience if your content is fully packed with awful grammar and spelling mistakes.

Appropriate keyword placementGoogle cannot understand what your content is about until and unless you use the right keywords in it. But just targeting the right keywords is not enough, placing them appropriately is also important. You, of course, know the negative effects of keyword stuffing by now. So, make sure to not stuff your content with the keywords and place them in the right place. Here is our blog on how to use keywords effectively while writing a blog that will help you with keyword placement while writing an article. 

3. Site structure and site navigation

Site structure and site navigation
Site structure and site navigation

Well, the content alone won’t be enough to influence and attract more customers. You also need to ensure that your site is built with a clear hierarchical structure and provides easy navigation with a good user experience. The ultimate goal should be to make visitors linger on your site for longer, thus reducing the bounce rate. 

Long complicated navigation is very annoying and frustrating for users. You should make sure that the user reaches where he wants to with only two or three clicks at the maximum. To go one step further, you can also optimize your website for disabled users and make it ADA-compliant. Websites that are easily navigable by shift keys, contains content that is easy to understand as well as readable, and have images with description for visually impaired people have much better chances to rank higher on the search engine results page.

4. Domain Authority

Domain authority is the next ranking factor you need to work for. We can define it as a ranking metric that displays your website’s expertise and its ability to rank higher. The higher will be your DA score, the more likely be your chance to rank higher. There are multiple ways to boost your DA score and one of the best ways is to create amazing content focused on your industry. You can also acquire high-quality backlinks but having a lot of them does not guarantee higher rankings.

5. Business listings

Over the last few years, Local SEO has gained a lot of importance. It is especially beneficial for businesses with a physical presence. With many aspects involved in creating a successful Local SEO strategy, it will be better to create a local SEO checklist

However, you can start with setting up your Google My Business account and optimizing your listing. If listed correctly in relevant local directories, you get a massive opportunity to appear in the Google 3-pack, boost your business visibility, get more traffic to your site, and boost the number of your potential customers.

6. Mobile-friendliness

With the increase in mobile searches and the majority of traffic generated by mobile users, mobile-friendliness was announced to be a key factor in ranking by Google in 2015. As Google always strives to provide the best results to users, staying at the top of user trends is a must. Hence, optimizing your website for mobile users is important even if your business comes from a desktop. This involves optimized call-to-action buttons from small screens, font of your text as well as its size, and easily navigable menus.

7. Website security

Website security
Website security

Along with a responsive design, your site’s security is also a major ranking factor since 2014 as Google recommended all sites to switch from HTTP to HTTPS. This encrypted communications between online systems and made users’ information (passwords and card details) more secure. 

However, many websites still use HTTP. Google cares about its users’ security when they are browsing websites from its browser, Google Chrome, and will penalize such websites by not ranking them higher. Hence, switching to HTTPS is crucial, especially when you aim to climb the search results. 

Plus, HTTPS is also essential from the user experience point of view. Because sites without security are often flagged by Google and users see a warning page that explains, this site is not secure, and using it may pose a risk. Additionally, our SEO experts would like to add that links to a website or from your website should also be HTPPS. This signals Google that your content is secure and increases your chance of ranking higher.

Nothing can be better than achieving a zero position i.e. high above everything in the search results. It gets you as much as 8% of the total search clicks and adding schema markups to your website’s page can help you get there. 

If you wish, also refer to our blog on how to optimize your content for Google’s Featured Snippets for more information. Crafting high-quality and relevant content that answers what and why questions more concretely are the best way to make it to the zero position.

Links from other sites to your website are termed backlinks. They are arguably the most important ranking factor that directly influences your ranking as well as a trust signal to Google that shows how authorized is your website. The more the quality of your backlinks, the more likely is your website to be considered as an authority. But always remember to gain a backlink from a high DA score, relevant, and high-quality websites as mentioned before. Also, make sure that the backlinks you get are as natural as possible and should be helpful as well as engaging to the end-user. 

Along with trying to get good backlinks, also keep looking for the bad links as toxic links can negatively affect and consider removing them. Have a well-thought link-building strategy for more success.

10. Website Speed

Website Speed
Website Speed

Now, website speed is a part of Core Web Vitals and the most important ranking factor that you need to focus on. It highly influences the user experience. People are quite busy today and want to reach the information they want as quickly as possible. Thus, waiting longer for a site to load is very frustrating for them. Even you might have visited a slow-loading website, got annoyed, and switched to another result. Thus, optimizing your page speed is very essential not only for ranking higher but for providing a stunning user experience as well. This is what Google wants for its audience too. Tools like Google PageSpeed Insights and GTmetrix can help you with enhancing your page speed by reporting major issues that are hammering it.

Optimizing for all the 200+ factors is not possible, even the best SEO services, and experts from our Jacksonville SEO Company can do so. You just need to keep yourself updated with the major and latest algorithmic updates and stick to a shortlist of factors that are most important to Google. We have listed the same above and hope that it will greatly help you. Just make sure to be consistent with your efforts to win this SEO game.