The good folks at SearchMetrics have recently announced that their 2014 SEO ranking factors white paper is now available to download. If you’ve not read an annual SearchMetrics study before then you’re in for a treat with this latest one. That’s because at around 100 pages in length it’s one of their longest and most in-depth to-date.
We can’t begin to interpret all of the study’s findings in a single blog post but one thing is for sure… content may now be truly king! In fact, the founder of SearchMetrics, Marcus Tober, says in the report that content is “no longer an addition to, but is the main focus of, SEO.”
To obtain a full and thorough understanding yourself it’s definitely advisable to download the full report here.
However, we have outlined some of the key takeaways below, which will give you a taste of what it’s all about. Just remember, the report focuses on SEO rank correlation, which does not imply causation – there’s a big difference.
- Quality of content and higher rankings go hand-in-hand
- Content length continues to increase
- Solid internal links are a major factor and perhaps even the most underrated SEO measure
2. Onpage Technical SEO
- Keywords remain an important SEO concept but definitely avoid stuffing
- The speed in which your site loads is important
- Effective SEO starts and finishes with good site architecture
- Backlink quality is especially important but quantity also remains a factor
- Keyword backlinks are decreasing even if correlation is increasing
- When it comes to ‘brands’ backlinks appear to work differently (see point 6 below)
4. Social Signals
- Minor changes on last year but Google +1s come out on top as the most influential social signal
5. User Signals
- Top-ranking URLs boast a lower bounce rate
- Time-on-site and click-through rate are considerably higher in sites that rank better
6. The ‘Brand’ Factor
- Big brands get special consideration
- A revised definition has been provided to emphasise the increasing complexity of its influence and quality
In conclusion, it’s pretty much business as usual in the world of SEO. Great content, a solid site hierarchy and internal link structure, and get your business out there in front of as many people as possible and encourage them to engage with you.