Growth Hacking
May 15, 2023

Need to Know: Google Search Hacks 2023 Update

Bridget Houlihan

Main image courtesy of Addicted to DIY.

As any business or marketing professional knows, you’ve got to stay in the know regarding Google algorithm updates if you want your site to be ranked. While not the only website that ranks pages, (Bing and Yahoo do as well) it is one of the most important ones when you’re trying to grow your brand, increase sales, or get more visitors to your site. If you’ve been online for any amount of time, you also know that Google makes updates to its search algorithm periodically, however, we’re not always privy to what exactly they’re changing each time they roll them out.

We thought an article that delves into what we do know goes into their algorithm would be helpful, as well as what you can do right now in 2023 to make sure your site gets optimal ranking from Google. 

Here’s a brief overview of what we’re covering:

  • What we know Google searches for + how often they update their algorithm
  • Ways to stay informed about updates
  • Top Google search hacks you can implement in 2023

What does Google include in its search algorithm?

The ranking factors that we know Google uses

person working at a computer
There are a few factors we know about that Google includes when it ranks sites. Image courtesy of Unsplash.

We’re not blaming Google for being a little secretive (okay maybe a little bit) about what goes into their search algorithm, but it includes lots of different factors, some even think upwards of 200. Many of those factors are technical, but all of them can be changed or updated by your website or marketing team. This means that for many of the factors, it’s within your power to fine tune your site so that you don’t accidentally get penalized and go down in ranking because of the status of your website.

While there are all kinds of different facets Google uses to judge and rank your site with, we’re going to discuss the top ranking factors that every site needs to pass in order to move up or maintain their ranking.

  • Speed. Your site should be optimized to load quickly and completely. No one wants to wait ages for a page to load like in the dial up days, and no one wants to see images that won’t load or videos that don’t play. In order to ensure your site is loading quickly and it’s easy to navigate to different pages, make sure the large files (like images or videos) are all compressed or within the size limits appropriate for your bandwidth. 
  • Relevance. Having relevant content is extremely important for ranking. If visitors aren’t finding what they’re looking for, they’re going to leave and give you a high bounce rate. This will drop your ranking. Don’t just write content about anything, you need to research what readers/customers want answers to, or want to know more about, and ensure this type of valuable material is on your site.
  • UX design. Your site should look clean, be clear of clutter, and be very easy to navigate and for visitors to find exactly what they’re looking for.
  • Quality of links. You can’t just link to any ol’ site and expect Google to rank your page high. Your links should be to relevant, useful sites that give users answers to what they’re searching for.
  • Mobile friendly. Although it should go without saying, sites that are mobile friendly rank higher than those that don’t. Knowing that as of 2023 almost 59% of searches are done on mobile phones should be reason enough to make sure your website is mobile friendly. 
  • Security. Some sites that don’t have HTTPS and still operate with HTTP could be dinged by Google for their lack of security.
  • UX engagement. Since your site should contain content that users want to see, Google could penalize sites with high bounce rates. This factor ties in closely with having relevant content that gives visitors the information they need.

These are important ranking factors your team should take into consideration if you’re looking to go up in ranking. As we mentioned, there are others, but since Google does not release the full list of factors, it’s a safe bet to make sure you meet these ones first.

How often does Google update their search algorithm? (And how to know when they do)

How many Google algorithm updates are there per year?

Google search engine on a mobile phone
Google makes big updates to their search factors periodically. Image courtesy of Unsplash.

Google has always made adjustments to their search algorithms, some of them so minor that you probably wouldn’t notice. Others have been large-scale updates that have brought us to where we are today. Since 2011, there have been major updates to ranking factors to fix issues and penalize sites that were using negative SEO tactics (think keyword stuffing and spammy backlinks), and to make sure that users were getting accurate results for the queries they were searching for.

The large shake ups to Google’s search engine happens only once or twice a year, but they’re constantly making small tweaks. You’ll know about a large update if you set up a Google Alert or follow their Twitter, Google @SearchLiason. You may also notice that an update has been pushed out because you’re seeing a fluctuation in your Google Analytics data. This is a straightforward way to tell if you’ve been rewarded or penalized by the new Google search factors. Depending on which it is, it may be time to make adjustments so you can get your rank back to where it should be!

Top Google search hacks you need in 2023

Rank higher in Google searches when you implement these hacks!

person at a laptop open to Google
Reviewing your Google Analytics is a great way to determine if Google has recently pushed out an update. Image courtesy of Unsplash.

Now that you know some of the basic search factors Google is looking for when ranking pages, it’s time to set yourself up for success and implement these tips to get better rankings in searches!

Make sure users are engaged

You can’t write good, quality content without doing keyword research. Answering the right questions will keep users on your site, which will boost your trustworthiness in the eyes of the Google search algorithm. You can keep users on your site by making it easy to navigate, and including helpful internal links to other articles or items that might interest them. Keeping your web design uncluttered with a simple design (think striking a balance between colors, images, and text) will make it visually appealing to visitors. 

Have accessible, valuable content

It’s essential that your site is optimized for mobile and is easy to load. If a user searches on their phone only to find that your site is difficult to use, they’ll quickly bounce away and find the information elsewhere. The first step to increasing traffic is to make sure users can get to the content on your pages!

The next step is to have informative content that answers their questions. The August 2022 Google update focused on ensuring that sites were delivering high-quality content filled with information that users want. The top ranking sites are those that go above and beyond to answer the search terms of users, but also information that they may also find helpful. 

  • Pro tip: For example, if users are finding your site because they want to know how to clean their jewelry, it might also make sense to offer tips in that article for cleaning different metals and gemstones, along with a variety of techniques they could try (at home, professional, DIY).  

Audit and update links accordingly

Links are important for your ranking. When you have a good inbound link strategy, it can really boost your ranking. When you’re reviewing articles, make sure that all the links work and that the content they’re linking to is relevant and up to date. You also want to ensure that your external links are still working and linked to pages that have accurate and up to date information. If they don’t, consider changing the link source to fresher material.

Refresh content

Google loves fresh content! But it also loves a refresh. You want to make sure all the content on your pages is updated and aligned with the latest Google search factors, so make it a point to refresh your old content. You can add new information that’s come to light since the original publishing date, check links to make sure they’re not broken, and tidy up your article formatting so that it includes keyword phrases in strategic places. Updating your content periodically is a great way to show new visitors to your site that you’re active and keeping your pages full of informative and up to date information, which is what they want! 

When you’re refreshing, make sure your content is all original, and that there is no duplicate content in your articles. Even a few lines of copy that are repeated word for word could ding your site with a penalty from Google. 

That concludes our top Google search hacks for 2023

Making sure your site complies with Google search factors is important for any professional. Make sure you follow these tips and your site will be ranking in no time!