SEO Ranking Factors 2014 - Correlation or Causation
Another very interesting +Searchmetrics
analysis, with a ton of interesting data. I really do enjoy these, cause there's so much SEO analysts can get out of them. I also know +Marcus Tober
who works on these has an exceptional eye for this data & understands well the value & limitations.
To that I will add the caveat in my title, that we should always be aware of correlation vs. causation. Just because data correlates well doesn't always mean it is the factor which caused that particular ranking. One good example is the Google +1
which although not a ranking factor, is still being used instead of the Google+ shares, which has been. There's also Facebook shares
most of which will not even get crawled by Google, nofollow links, etc.
However once you know what to parse, this information is exceptionally useful. Take for example the de-emphasis of keywords in URLs, domains & titles. The stronger emphasis on brands & especially the important point made here on the real importance of content.
Another point worth mentioning about this analysis is the significant patterns, which although may not be used as ranking factors by themselves, can certainly be used as corroborating factors by the algorithms.
There are certain common patterns we see across all high quality content, both in itself & also the manner in which it is disseminated, which are absent from almost all link schemed, spammy content. Some of these patterns are seen across social, others may be in the high trust zones of the link graph & they are not easy to game.Key Takeaways as pointed out in this study are:• Content: High quality, relevant content ranks better on average, and is identifiable by properties such as comprehensive wording in regard to the co-occurrence of related terms in the context, a higher word-count and media enrichment.• Technology: A well optimized technical performance of a page contributes to a good ranking, such as, robust site architecture with an optimal internal linking structure, short Onpage-Technikloading times and presence of meta tags. • Backlinks: The quantity and quality of backlinks remains crucial as there are many new features introduced this year that have been revised to improve the quality of the results. • Social Signals: The correlation values regarding coefficients out of the social sector have slightly decreased. The growth of the average total number of signals per position was rather small.• User Signals: For the first time, user signals were measured and as expected there is a relation between rankings and higher click-through rates, lower bounce rates and a high time-on-site.
Please do read the original study here, as this is only a partial summary... searchmetrics.com/en/knowledge-base/ranking-factors/ #SEO #RankingFactors #GoogleSEO