Sep 26

SearchMetrics Annual SEO Ranking Study – Content Tops the Tree of Essential Ranking Factors

SearchMetrics have released their annual SEO ranking factors and it’s one of the most detailed yet, with a number of additional factors now included such as fresh links, bounce rate and the time spent on a site.

“Content Is King”

Last year SearchMetrics used their study to highlight the importance of good content as well as on-page optimisation, so it’s no surprise to learn that content has once again dominated the ranking factors this time around. So to start things off, how does the process of analysing SEO ranking factors actually work?

SearchMetrics visit 300,000 URLS that appear in top search results and carry out a detailed examination of their specific properties. In order to get the results, they have to look at how these factors correlate with Google rankings. Here’s what the results came up with this year:

seo-ranking-factors-2014

Content

Content has proved to be one of the major factors associated with top rankings, as high quality, relevant content seems to rank better on average. Good content is identified through the regular occurrence of related terms, a higher word count and an abundance of integrated media amongst other things.

What Was Found?

  • Length of content is still on the rise
  • Internal linking has become an important factor
  • Two new features included in analysis: Proof and Relevant Terms

Backlinks

Backlinks are described as ‘crucial’ by SearchMetrics due to the amount of new, revised features that are now providing even better results. You simply can’t get enough of them, especially those of the highest quality.

What Was Found?

  • Number of keyword backlinks going down
  • Quantity AND Quality now very important

User Signals

It was expected that there’d be a relationship between click-through rates, bounce rates and time spent on a site and this was confirmed after user signal rates were measured for the first time.

What Was Found?

  • Bounce rate lower for top ranking sites
  • Click-through rate and time on site much higher for top ranking sites

Social Signals

There have been a few noticeable changes to how social signals has had an effect on rankings over the last year, with slightly less correlation for top ranking sites and a slight rise in average values.

What Was Found?

  • Correlation values regarding coefficients out of the social sector decrease
  • A slight growth in the average total number of signals per position

Technology

It’s evident that a well optimised page will certainly contribute to a good ranking. This could be anything from short loading times on a page to outstanding site architecture and an optimal internal linking structure.

What Was Found?

  • Site architecture, internal linking, loading times and meta tags are all hugely important
  • Too many keywords can have negative effects on onpage technical SEO

 

 

 

 

 

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