Searchmetrics has released its 2014 SEO Ranking Factors and Rank Correlations report, which it says provides an;
“in-depth definition and evaluation of the factors that have a high rank correlation with organic search results.”
The report focused solely on Google results and found the following;
- high-quality, relevant content ranks better on average and also that on-page optimisation contributes to a good ranking
- the quantity and quality of backlinks remains crucial regardless the algorithim updates to improve the quality of results
- social signals influence appears to have decreased slightly
The report also describes a relationship between rankings and higher click-through rates, lower bounce rates, and a high time-on-site – which suggests that the Google search results are improving in quality as searchers appear to be finding what they are looking for, based on the levels of engagement.
Business Website Tips
On-page SEO vital – this is the foundation for rankings. Without adequate on-page optimisation any other SEO activity will not be fully leveraged. The report recommends the following;
- Include a well-balanced number of good internal links
- Aim for short loading times
- Keep websites up to date
- Maintain presence of all relevant Meta tags
- Presence and position of keywords in a page title influential
In SEO Content is King
The length and content of webpage copy is increasingly important. The report recommends that business website owners;
- Identify and optimise for relevant keywords
- Include variations of keyword and semantically associated terms
- Increase word count with relevant, related content
- Use multi-media content
- Do not use copied, spun or other low quality content – the value of good content has never been higher.
Off-Page SEO Factors
- Backlinks still crucial to rankings – always choose quality over quantity.
- Backlink quality is one of the most important SEO metrics. Getting backlinks wrong can kill your site with algorithmic and manual penalties.
- Social signals’ influence decreased, but only slightly and so social sharing and engagement is still a factor.
The most influential platforms to have your content shared on are;
The most influential ranking factors in 2014 are;
- quality of links
- quality of on-page SEO
- quality of content
- quality of social an user signals
The cornerstone of SEO in 2014 is ‘quality’ rather than ‘quantity’ with the central factor being content which is then shared and commented on creating backlinks and social signals and is underpinned by user click-throughs and extended ‘time on site’ sessions.
The continued relevance of quality links as the primary ranking factor sits comfortably with Google’s public announcements on the role backlinks both now and into the future as this Webmaster Q&A video with Google’s Matt Cutts shows.