Within your industry, every competitor wants to be the first search result that shows up when customers look for important terms. The way Google ranks these results can be mysterious, but search engine optimization (SEO) experts have figured out a few ways to improve google rankings. Google’s algorithm is always changing, so it’s important to stay up-to-date. We’ve updated this post to take a look forward and give you some helpful hints on the ways to improve your google rank in 2022.
12 Ways to Improve Your Google Rank in 2022
1. Choose a URL and Stick with It
Strictly speaking, domain age isn’t a major factor that Google will use to rank your website. On the other hand, changing your URL can definitely have an impact on how your site is performing.
When you change your URL, all existing links to your site may be broken, unless you create proper redirects. The links that go to your site (your backlinks) indicate to Google that other websites find your site reputable. More backlinks from other reputable sites (not spam links, or “toxic” links, which we’ll discuss later) generally correlate with higher Google ranks. This means, if you want to improve your Google rank in 2022, keep your URL structure the same. If you do have to reconfigure some of your URLs—perhaps you’re adding a blog area and you want to move some of your site content—make sure you add redirects.
A URL change also means that your site will have to be re-indexed or crawled by Google. This means you may lose your existing rank. If your pages don’t get high results to start with, a fresh start might be a good thing. However, if your pages perform fairly well in your industry, this might mean trouble.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when choosing your URL:
- Ideally, your URL should contain your keyword, though this might not always be possible.
- Your URL structure should be fairly simple and logical. If a user has to click on eight different pages to find a particular page, it’s too many.
- If you do change your domain or URL structure, always use redirects.
Learn more about tools and strategies for improving and measuring SEO
2. Check Your Current Search Ranking
Your Google rank might also be called your rank on a search engine results page (SERP). Where you rank will depend on what a user is looking for. If, for example, you provide landscaping services, you won’t show up for a search about dentists, and that’s good. Obviously, you don’t need to know your Google rank for every SERP. However, you should know which keywords are most important for your business, and you should know where your rank on those SERPs.
A number of SEO tools like SEMrush and Raven provide in-depth information about your keywords and Google rank. There are also free tools you can use to perform periodic checks. SERPs.com provides a free Keyword Rank Checker to test how well your site performs for different keywords, and in different locations. Once you know what keywords you need to target, how to incorporate them into your content and where you stand, you can start on improving your Google ranks in 2022.
Search Ranking and Keywords in 2022
Keywords have always been an important factor in helping users find your website. However, the ways that Google and other search engines use keywords to construct a SERP is changing rapidly. In 2022, it’s still helpful to know what users are searching in your industry, and how your site ranks on these keywords. But it’s also important to note that the Google search engine’s understanding of language is remarkably sophisticated, and the use of singular words isn’t nearly as important as it once was. We’ll discuss this further later in the post.
3. Check your Site Speed
Google’s page-ranking methods are increasingly based on improving user experience. If your site loads fast and performs smoothly, users are more likely to stay on the page, return to it, and link it to others. Related to this, or perhaps because of this, Google tends to reward pages that load fast and place them higher on a SERP.
Core Web Vitals
To improve your Google rank in 2022, you’ll need to consider multiple aspects of your site speed. Core web vitals are an important part of this. Core web vitals are essential performance indicators on your website, which Google uses to decide how well your site performs. This includes three key metrics; Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), First Input Delay (FID), and Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS).
Largest Contentful Paint or LCP measures loading performance from a user’s perspective. Though there are many page speed load metric, this one is unique because of the shift to the user’s perspective. A good LCP shouldn’t take longer than 2.5 seconds.
First Input Delay or FID measures the amount of time it takes before a user can interact with a page. This might include clicking a link, using a menu, or filling out a form. An FID of 100 milliseconds (one tenth of a second) or less is considered good.
Cumulative Layout Shift or CLS also deals with webpage loading from a user’s perspective, however this metric doesn’t measure time. Instead, CLS measures how a webpage rearranges as a page loads. When some elements load more slowly than others, the elements will rearrange as a user stays on the page. If you’ve ever visited a page and tried to click on the menu only to accidentally click on an ad as the webpage loads, the page probably had a higher than CLS. A good CLS score is less than 0.1.
To measure core web vitals, you might use the Chrome User Experience report, PageSpeed Insights or the Core Web Vitals report on Google’s Search Console tool suite.
4. Start Using Google Analytics
If you’re working on your search engine optimization, you’ve probably set your site up with Google Analytics. If you haven’t yet, learn how to set it up and use it as soon as possible. With this tool, you can track conversions and sign-ups on your website, as well as keywords, traffic trends, your site’s speed, and many other factors. Since it is designed by Google for website managers, it’s one of the best ways to improve your Google website ranking in 2022.
Keep in mind that Google wants their users to have a good experience online. Pursuing this goal has helped them to become the top search engine in the world. This means Google prioritizes sites that give users good experiences, and puts them higher in a SERP. Google interprets a good experience by low bounce rates, fast load times, long dwell times, and high click or conversion rates. All of these metrics indicate that users find your site useful—and all of these metrics are available on Google Analytics.
5. Use the Right Title Tags
Each page on your website should have a unique title tag. This shows Google that you really do have unique content on your website, and that your pages aren’t just duplicate content. This is also a great place to incorporate your keywords. To improve your Google ranking for a particular search, it’s a good idea to tell the search engine immediately what the page is about. This is what your title tag is for.
The SEO experts at Moz advise keeping your title under 60 characters, so it is fully displayed. They also provide this rule of thumb for title tags:
Primary Keyword – Secondary Keyword | Brand Name
This formula shouldn’t be the end-all solution for your title tags. On a SERP, that title tag is often the only thing read by the user. If your title tag isn’t drawing them in and letting you know about your company or the content of your page, it won’t do much for your website traffic.
Experiment with different well-performing keywords, locations or zipcodes. Remember that each page title should be unique, or your pages will start to compete with each other and the Google ranking of each will suffer.
6. Description Tags
Underneath your page title is your meta description. This information provides more details, both to Google’s bots and potential visitors, about your page content and purpose. As Google has changed their search algorithms over the years, description tags have slightly fallen in importance. In the past, these description tags could be filled with keywords and pop to the top of search engine result pages. Now serve the purpose of drawing users into your page.
Description tags should be written to give credibility to your company, to show what services or deals you offer, or to call the user to action on your page. It’s a good idea to use your keywords once in the description, but overdoing it may actually lower your rank. Meta descriptions are also shown when sharing your page on social media, so this is another reason to make it accurate, eye-catching, and brief.
Learn more about tools and strategies for improving and measuring SEO
7. Improve Site Architecture
Good site architecture means organizing all of your pages and information in the most logical way. As a simple guideline, it should take no more than three clicks to get to the deepest part of your site.
This helps you in two ways. If your site is overly confusing and causing users to click back to the search engine result page, your bounce rate increases and your user session time drops. If something is difficult to do on your website, your visitor will follow the path of least resistance and go somewhere else. Everything should be easy to find on your website.
A simple site architecture also means that Google will be able to crawl your pages more quickly.
8. Have a Mobile or Responsive Site
There are now more searches conducted on mobile devices than on laptops. Though this varies somewhat by industry, it has enormous implications for how your site ranks. In general, if your site isn’t mobile-friendly, it will lower your Google ranking. Mobile users will click away from your site faster if it doesn’t work or load properly on their devices, which will hurt your rank. Google algorithm is also programmed to look for load speed, so if your site isn’t loading on mobile devices, it will hurt your rank.
To help webmasters that haven’t yet created a mobile site or a responsive site (which rearranges content automatically for mobile users), Google provides mobile help documents to get started.
The Importance of a Mobile Site in 2022
Mobile usability is a very important part of your Google rank in 2022. This aspect of your site is becoming more and more important. If you haven’t developed and tested a mobile site or responsive site yet, this is the year to do it.
Google first announced the impact of mobile-readiness to a webpage’s Google ranking several years ago. Then came the mobile-first index; Google announced that it primarily used the mobile version of a site for indexing and ranking. In the next five years, it’s estimated that nearly 75% of internet users will use mobile devices to get online, so it’s no surprise that this factor is becoming increasingly important. Test your site on a mobile device and optimize your mobile site ASAP to improve your Google rank in 2022.
9. Create Informative Content
If Google didn’t provide accurate, trustworthy results, people would stop using the search engine. Recognizing this, Google created EAT to guide their SERPs, and to help content creators develop high-quality web pages. EAT stands for expertise, authority and trustworthiness. This impacts several parts of your site, but the overall takeaway is that websites known as industry authorities who also craft informative, trustworthy content will improve Google rankings.
If you have a relatively new site, this might not be comforting news. However, there are ways you can still leverage EAT for your benefit. Here are a few things you can do:
- Use reliable links. Links to other sites (outbound links) show that you are using reliable sources for your site content.
- Credit an author. When writing informative content, such as blog posts, news items, or explanatory pages, show who wrote it and what their relevant experience is.
- Generate high-quality backlinks. When other sites link to yours, they’re giving your site a vote of confidence, which lends to your authority and trustworthiness. See where your content might be relevant or helpful to other sites, and contact the managers about a backlink.
- Disavow toxic links. Sometimes, spam sites will link to yours. These links can hurt your credibility and your Google ranking, but you can disavow backlinks to stop this.
10. Use Keywords Naturally
There was a time when keywords played a much larger role in how Google understood a user’s search queries and the results it generated in response. Now, Google uses artificial intelligence and a sophisticated neural network to understand language and generate results. Google does not simply create a SERP based on keyword matches. A powerful Google Search update, BERT, allowed Google to understand user’s search intent. In 2022, Google Natural Language Processing ability will improve even more. The Multitask Unified Model, or MUM, is “1,000 times more powerful” than BERT, according to Google, and allows the search engine to understand language (75 different languages, in fact, which it can move between to answer a user’s search), a user’s search intent, how concepts connect, and even understand pictures, videos, and audio, and how they relate to a concept or question.
What does this mean for your website and your Google ranking? If you’re relying solely on keywords to improve your Google ranking, it won’t work. Keywords are important, but they rely on context more than ever before. Your content should be well-written, thorough, and clear. The practice of keyword stuffing—using a keyword and synonyms as much as possible to rise on a SERP—will actually hurt your SEO.
MUM in 2022 and Beyond
The process behind the development of MUM and the power of the artificial intelligence system is remarkable. When tested, the system achieved a “near-human score” on key natural language understanding evaluations. This means the search engine is becoming increasingly capable of understanding the exact intent and need behind a user’s search queries.
What does this mean for keywords, SERPs and your Google rank in 2022? This means the specific words you use on a page will be less important than the information you provide. At this stage, while it’s helpful to understand the key concepts your audience is searching for, it’s more important to provide useful, thorough, clear information rather than use specific words. MUM is still a new update and it will take some time to perfect and, likely, even more time to truly see changes on the web. But it’s important to recognize this trend, as it isn’t going away. In general, when creating your content and hoping to improve your Google rank in 2022, make your text, video, pictures and other content appealing to a person–since Google’s linguistic understanding is “near-human,” you’ll satisfy your audience and the world’s most powerful search engine.
11. Use Video
You might have noticed recently that video results appear more often for more searches. In 2017, the odds of seeing video results on a SERP increased by about 75%. These results, called “video carousels” since they display a number of video results in one place on the SERP, have continued to rise in frequency since then. Many unable to claim top spots on competitive searches have been able to rise to the top through video content.
There are a number of reasons for this. The first is an increase in diverse, multimedia results. Now knowing what type of results are best for you (unless you specify), Google provides text, pictures, lists, news articles, statistics, video, and more. This is an attempt to create a better user experience. The second reason may be Google’s effort to continue to grow YouTube, it’s video-hosting service, and ensure it remains the go-to video platform. Users watching YouTube videos also remain on a Google-owned internet property, instead of moving onto a different page. Finally, the increase in video carousels on SERPs may reflect users’ preferences; users are more likely to absorb more of a video and share more often.
So what does this mean as far as improving your Google rank? Using video, both on YouTube and embedded on your page, can bring in more traffic from multiple directions. A well-crafted video can encourage more shares and longer dwell time, while also winning a top spot in a video carousel. However, video results do not appear equally across all searches. Research your industry and search queries first to be sure video makes sense for your page.
Changes to Video in 2022: Video Snippets
In the past year, you may have noticed an increasing number of “video snippets” appearing at the top of a SERP. These snippets highlight specific portions of a view that might answer or aid in a user’s search. You’re likely to see even more of these video snippets in 2022. This presents new opportunities for increasing your Google rank in 2022. It also gives you more opportunities to increase your traffic in general, especially as the viewership and content on short video platforms, like TikTok, Instagram Reels and YouTube Shorts, grows. You can specify Clip Markup and Seek Markup in your video to show Google which topics you cover during which video segments. Google will do this for you automatically if your video is clearly defined, but you may win a better spot if you define these segments in your markup yourself.
12. Aim for SERP Spot Zero
Video carousels are not the only recent change to come to the SERP. You may have noticed that many of your search queries are already answered by Google before you visit any page at all. You might see short lists, paragraphs, or tables at the top of the search in a box, which Google calls a Featured Snippet. This information is extracted from somewhere in the SERP, usually (but not always) from the first or second result. SEO experts consider this “SERP spot zero” since it appears before even the number one result. Results in SERP spot zero get more clicks than the top spot, which means earning this spot can improve your Google rank dramatically.
How Can You Get a Featured Snippet?
While there’s no special code or formula that will automatically win you this spot, you can alter your web page content slightly to get the best chances of appearing there. Here are a few tips to snatch this spot:
- If you are describing a process, use a numbered format and brief sentences. Place this near the top of the page.
- When creating a list, use bullets, also near the top of the page.
- If you are answering a question, include the question and the answer in full, but briefly, at the top of the page.
- Keep in mind that featured snippets are most popular for question queries that begin with or contain “who, what, when, where, why, how”
- Nearly all featured snippets are derived from results already appearing on the first SERP, so your overall page and content must also be up-to-par.
Changes in 2022: Passage Ranking
You may have recently noticed particular highlighted passages showing up at the top of a SERP, especially when you ask a very specific question or use a long phrase. These “featured passages” are a bit different than featured snippets, since they usually show up for longer, more specific searches. This change again highlights the importance of thorough, clear, informational content. If you clearly and thoroughly cover a topic, your content may appear as a featured passage when a user asks a specific question, and you may win SERP spot zero.
Improving your Google rank can help you generate more traffic, which means more website visitors and, ultimately, customers. For your traffic to truly convert customers, you must also have a digital marketing strategy made to introduce web visitors to your product or service. With all of these parts in place, you can truly make Google work for you, whether you have a small, new site or a long-standing, large site.