[/vc_raw_html][text_output]For many SEO professionals, the annual Search Ranking Factors and Rank Correlations report by Searchmetrics is an eagerly anticipated piece of research into how a website’s ranking can be improved. The top few organic positions on the first page of Google are the most coveted due to the amount of traffic they receive, so any tactics that can be employed to reach those positions is understandably valuable and of notable interest.
The report itself goes into significant detail regarding factors such as content, user experience, technical, backlinks, social and various elements within each of these areas. When looking at all these factors together, and when looking at previous years reports by Searchmetrics, it shows the direction in which Google is taking SEO.
The overall conclusion that can be drawn from all this is that Google is now better than ever at giving higher search rankings to good quality web content that is easy to understand, relevant to the search query and offers a good user experience. It has been said before by many, but this year’s report reminds us again that the black-hat days of SEO are well and truly behind us and that Social Media is an increasingly powerful tool for SEO.
The most important conclusions include:-
- Keywords and domains
Although having keywords in your domain is still a factor, sites that rank highly are now less likely to have keywords as part of their domain name. For established brands, this revelation is unlikely to be significant, but for new businesses the temptation to include keywords within the domain can be ignored.
- HTTPS is encouraged
HTTPS may be primarily for e-commerce sites or sites with privacy requirements, but the added security it brings increases trust and conversion rates. This results in improved rankings.
- Limit advertising
A website plastered with overlay ads may offer additional revenue however it also has a negative impact on the user’s experience.
- More words
The research has shown that landing pages with a bigger word count are ranking higher so going over the 1100 word mark is recommended. However, ensuring that the page structure and user experience is positive is still essential.
- Rich Media
Sites with larger file sizes are ranking higher which suggests that having more images or rich media such as video is beneficial. However, this can pose a risk if not done in the right way as page speed is also an important factor.
- Thematic proof words
Proof terms are words that are highly relevant to the primary keyword, which as a result are highly likely to appear on the same page. For example, a blog post on summer fitness training could include proof words such as; beach body, burn fat, build muscle and full-body workout.
51% of the top 30 websites this year included relevant terms and 78% of highly ranking websites now use proof terms.
- Social signals
In 2015 Twitter and Facebook in particular, have grown as ranking factors. The research has shown that websites in position 1 in Google have twice as many Facebook signals than pages ranking second. Google+ is still a relevant Social channel but has decreased in influence slightly.
Using quotes correctly is powerful, so who better to quote than Marcus Tober, CTO and Founder of Searchmetrics:
“Our research indicates that simplistic tactics that may have been effective in the past – such as increasing the number of keyword mentions on the page or using keywords in the domain name – are not enough to lift you up the search results. You need to try and understand the searcher’s intention and ensure your web content gives them the information they are looking for, ensuring you cover topics in sufficient detail.”
In the world of property you will hear the mantra “location, location, location”. In the SEO world, the mantra is fast becoming “the user, the user, the user”.[/text_output][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/4″][visibility type=”hidden-desktop”][gap size=”20px”][/visibility][vc_widget_sidebar sidebar_id=”ups-sidebar-2″][/vc_column][/vc_row]