The main goal of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is getting your website to rank in the top few search engine results. However, the algorithm and the ranking factors that decide the order of those results is kept secret by search engines like Google, Bing, etc. That is why Searchmetrics came up with a statistical procedure to derive the ranking factors: they analyzed 15,000 search queries that included over 350’000 URLs.
Last year we reported on the ranking factors for 2013. We want to keep you updated on this topic for 2014. Searchmetrics publishes an annual report that currently is only available in a shortened version.
The following image gives you an overview of the ranking factors:
In general, it can be said that compared to last year’s report, the content (blue) and technical (green) elements increased in influence on SEO ranking. Social elements on the other hand decreased in significance but still have a high level of impact.
Among the technical elements, page speed has grown more important; having H1 tags and video integration lead to better ranking as well.
Including keywords in the body pays off even more now than in past years. Text character length and word count of content is higher rewarded as well.
There are two new ranking factors in 2014: “relevant keywords” and “proof keywords”. Both strongly influence ranking.
According to this study social media has lost the most in importance but continues to be one of the most significant factors for ranking. This is true of Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+.
This analysis gives us some understanding of Google’s non-transparent ranking algorithm. Whether or not Google is actually using these factors is unclear. But the study gives useful insights on how to optimize your SEO strategy.