The biggest question all website owners are always trying to answer is how to rank higher in the organic search results on Google. And correspondingly the best kept secret in SEO is Google’s search algorithm which determines where websites appear on a search engine results page. Yesterday I came across some astonishing research conducted by the folks over at Search Metrics regarding Google ranking factors.
The Question They Were Looking To Answer
Which factors are relevant for a good ranking in Google search results?
What They Did
- The looked at 10,000 selected top-keywords, 300,000 websites and millions of links, shares and tweets.
- They then compared potential ranking factors and thus website characteristics with their corresponding Google rankings by assessing their statistical correlation.
- For example, if there were many pages in the top positions of analyzed SERPs with keyword title tags, then they had identified a high correlation.
A few highlights from their inquiry
- Social media signals show extremely high correlation: social signals from Facebook, Twitter and Google+ are frequently associated with good rankings in Google’s index.
- Too much advertising is detrimental: for the first time sites with too many advertisements struggled to rank well. However, the problem apparently relates only to AdSense adblocks…
- Backlinks are still important but quantity is not the only important thing: even though the number of backlinks is still the most powerful factor, links with stop words and ‘nofollow’ should also be included in the link-mix.
- Brands leverage classic SEO signals: apparently pages with strong brands do not need to be as concerned with the areas of title tags, headings etc. According to our figures, this group operates under different rules.
- Keyword domains still frequently attract top results: despite all the rumors to the contrary, keyword domains are still alive and well and are often in the top rankings.
Facebook and Twitter Social Media Signals Stronger Than Ever
Checkout these results for Facebook and Twitter as related with higher rankings.
Clearly the various Facebook metrics returned the best values, with the number of ‘shares’ having the strongest association. Twitter is still far behind but in 6th position can not be ignored.
Google + Why It’s Not Included
The research actually showed that Google +1’s had a result of 0.41, the strongest correlation of any metrics analyzed in the study. However, the researchers felt that number was unreliable because Google Plus does not have a significant number of users yet. A fact that’s changing rapidly.
Google clearly wants to insure that it’s own social media platform is a key player and so SEO efforts can’t ignore this. As more and more people begin to use Google + it’s clear that the number of plus 1’s an article acquires will be of significant importance.
Show Me Some Social Media Love…Please!
I was with my friend Darrell last night and he told me that he reads all my post, but never shares them. When I asked why not he said…no reason he just doesn’t. That confirmed with me that sometimes people just don’t share even though they may frequent a site and enjoy the content.
With all the search results to consider here’s what I know…it’s important to get each a Facebook Like, a Tweet, and a Plus 1….so please show me some social media love and share this and my other articles with your friends and followers on each platform.
Also, don’t forget to share with your readers the importance of hitting the social media share buttons when they read your published content as well.
Source: Search Metrics Google Ranking Factors 2012