The 5 Most Important Google Ranking Factors for Small Businesses in 2022

Thinking holistically about SEO is critical when charting a path forward for your small business website. Many SEO companies provide off the shelf services that tackle a specific area of SEO (backlinks, content creation, etc). This is fine option at times, however we know that SEO is dynamic, constantly evolving and each website deserves unique consideration when determining where to focus your SEO efforts.

There are certainly some SEO area that are more important that others. We recommend focusing your efforst on 5 areas listed below after your initial SEO foundation is set. By focusing on the most important, highest leverage areas you can get the best return on your SEO investment in the shortest amount of time.

The 5 Most Important SEO Factors (according to Google in 2022)

High Quality Content Published Consistently

The quality of content on your website pages is still crucial to your small business climbing the search rankings. By providing valuable information consistently, you can signal to Google that you are a great resource and they should show you to as many people as possible.

Producing high quality content over time is about creating pages that increase the users time on the page, lower the bounce rate and ultimately provide helpful content that fulfills the users search intent. Here’s how to design a plan to create SEO friendly content for your site.

Keywords in Meta Title Tags

Although not as important as it once was (Google now generates their own Meta Descriptions sometimes), its still an essential practice that Google weights in the search algorithm. Of course before you write any title tags you must do a deep a dive into keyword research in order to make sure you’re targeting the right audience.

Consider a focus keyword for every page and write those meta titles for real people…i.e. no keyword stuffing.

Backlinks (# and Quality of Websites Linking to Your Site)

Having a number of websites link to your site is the best way to signal to Google that you are the authority in your industry space or geographic area. While some sites can rank without this factor, it’s silly to completely ignore. Of course each industry is unique and has link building opportunities unique to them.

The best way to attract backlinks is to create consistent, valuable content that people love. You will attract links organically while at the same time fulfilling Google’s love of high value content. We recommend investing in making your site as backlink friendly as possible before trying to generate backlinks with cold outreach.

Niche Expertise – Authority, Trustworthiness

Google often favors sites that are viewed as niche experts. This means that your site has a number of pages that rank around a specific search intent or “hub” keyword. Sites that are well organized around buckets of keywords with the same search intent will win the day here.

For example, perhaps you’re a Therapist who is licensed in multiple states. By creating pages and blog posts for the keyword “licensed therapist in multiple states” you become an industry expert and Google pushes your site up the rankings. By providing consistency of keyword usage across your site, it signals to Google that your site will likely fulfill the search intent of the user.

User Engagement

Google is tracking key metrics around how a person spends time on your site. It’s typically a combination of things like bounce rate, time on page and pages per session. By providing a great experience on your site and logically moving people through various content, you are able to optimize your site for this signal.

This factor is generally a result of combining the #1 ranking factor of creating valuable content over time and a well organized, user friendly website.

The most effective thing you can do it to create valuable content, organize it well and make sure your messaging is clear. If you confuse people they’re more likely to bounce away from your site and find a different resource.

Additional SEO Factors to Consider:

Any SEO service you purchase should include covering these smaller items during your initial SEO setup. They’re important to ongoing health but not as weighty in the Google Algorithm.

  • Internal Links
  • Mobile Friendly
  • Page Load Speed
  • Site Security (SSL Certificate)
  • Schema Markup
  • Keywords in Header Tags
  • Keyword in Meta Descriptions Tags

Matt McComas is the Lead SEO at Center Street Digital where he helps small businesses grow their organic visibility and generate new revenue. If you like to chat with him pick a spot on his calendar here or visit our SEO service to get started.