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#1 2016-12-07 07:48:30

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Registered: 2016-11-24
Posts: 94

Get Your Site Top Rankings in Google

We recently analyzed 1 million Google search results to answer the question:

Which factors correlate with first page search engine rankings? We looked at content. We looked at backlinks. We even looked at site speed.  Here are the results..

1. Backlinks remain an extremely important Google ranking factor. We found the number of domains linking to a page correlated with rankings more than any other factor.  The Number of Referring Domains Has a Very Strong Influence on Rankings.  You may have heard that getting backlinks from the same domain has diminishing returns. In other words, it’s better to get 10 links from 10 different sites than 10 links from the same domain.  Google wants to see several different sites endorsing your page. And the more domains that link to you, the more endorsements you have in the eyes of Google.  In fact, the number of unique referring domains was the strongest correlation in our entire study.

2. Our data also shows that a site’s overall link authority (as measured by Ahrefs Domain Rating) strongly correlates with higher rankings.  In fact, a website’s overall authority had a stronger correlation to rankings than the authority of the page.  In other words, the domain that your page lives on is more important than the page itself.

3. We discovered that content rated as “topically relevant” (via MarketMuse), significantly outperformed content that didn’t cover a topic in-depth. Therefore, publishing focused content that covers a single topic may help with rankings.  Writing comprehensive, in-depth content can help you rank higher in Google.

4. Based on SERP data from SEMRush, we found that longer content tends to rank higher in Google’s search results. The average Google first page result contains 1,890 words.  Longer content generates significantly more social shares. Another theory is that longer content boosts your page’s topical relevancy, which gives Google a deeper understanding of your content’s topic.

5. HTTPS had a reasonably strong correlation with first page Google rankings. This wasn’t surprising as Google has confirmed HTTPS as a ranking signal.  Not too long ago Google called on webmasters to switch their sites over to secure HTTPS. They even called HTTPS a “ranking signal“.  Although not a super-strong correlation, we did find that HTTPS correlated with higher rankings on Google’s first page.  Because the association between HTTPS and ranking wasn’t especially strong — and the fact that switching to HTTPS is a resource-intensive project — we don’t recommend switching to HTTPS solely for SEO. But if you’re launching a new site, you want to have HTTPS in place on day one.

6. Despite the buzz around Schema, our data shows that use of Schema markup doesn’t correlate with higher rankings. Schema markup gives search engines a better understanding of what your content means. This deeper understanding will encourage them to show your site to more people.  However, according to our analysis, the presence of structured data had no relationship with Google rankings.  Feel free to use structured data on your site. But don’t expect it to have an impact on your rankings.

7. Content with at least one image significantly outperformed content without any images. However, we didn’t find that adding additional images influenced rankings. Industry studies have found that image-rich pages tend to generate more total views and social shares. This suggests that including lots of images in your content can boost shares, which should therefore improve Google rankings.  However, when we looked at the link between the total number of images and rankings, we didn’t find any correlation.  This suggests that there’s a point of diminishing returns when it comes to image usage and rankings.

8. We found a very small relationship between title tag keyword optimization and ranking. This correlation was significantly smaller than we expected, which may reflect Google’s move to Semantic Search.  Since the early days of search engines the title tag has been (by far) the most important on-page SEO element.  Because your title tag gives people (and search engines) an overview of your page’s overall topic, the words that appear in your title tag have long had a significant impact on rankings.  Google doesn’t need to see the exact keyword in your title tag to understand your page’s topic.  Including your target keyword in your title tag may help with rankings for that keyword. However, because of Semantic Search, the impact doesn’t appear to be nearly as great as it once was.

9. Site speed matters. Based on data from Alexa, pages on fast-loading sites rank significantly higher than pages on slow-loading sites.  Having a fast-loading site certainty won’t hurt your SEO. So it makes sense to speed things up.  Fast-loading websites are significantly more likely to rank in Google.

10. Despite Google’s many Penguin updates, exact match anchor text appears to have a strong influence on rankings.  Our research shows that exact match anchor text strongly correlates with rankings.  However, because of the risk in exact match anchor text links, we don’t advise utilizing exact match anchor text as an SEO tactic.

11. Using data from SimilarWeb, we found that low bounce rate was associated with higher Google rankings.  Many people in the SEO world have speculated that Google uses “user experience signals” (like bounce rate, time on site and SERP click-through-rate) as ranking factors.  We discovered that websites with low average bounce rates are strongly correlated with higher rankings.  Google may use bounce rate as a ranking signal (although they have previously denied it). Or it may be the fact that high-quality content keeps people more engaged. Therefore lower bounce rate is a byproduct of high-quality content, which Google does measure.


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