Posted on 12/09/2013 by David Petrik
It seems as of late, websites that show up at the top of Google search results are those that tend to contain high numbers of social signals, things like, Shares, Tweets and +1’s, according to the latest reports by Searchmetrics.
Analysis that was conducted on 300,000 URLs that appears in the top search result positions in the United States, found a strong connection between signals from Google’s own network, Google+, and good rankings.
Below, conclusions from the report, including insights into the correlation between search rank and page coding, keywords, and content factors.
The study found that fulfilling certain on-page coding criteria, such as having fast site speed, no longer has a positive effect on a website’s ranking. On the other hand, if a website does not meet these criteria, its ranking will fall. Put another way, SEO basics—such as fast site speed, using H1 and H2 tags, and having a description—are now prerequisites rather than search rank boosters.
The importance of having keywords in the domain name or the URL has lost significance—mainly because of two algorithm changes by Google in 2012. However, the importance of keywords on the page itself, as well as the relevance of the keyword position in the title (the closer to the front, the better), has increased considerably.
Good Content Is Still King
Content factors correlate almost entirely positively with good rankings and were found to be even more important in 2013 compared with 2012. For example, good ranking URLs generally have more text and a higher number of additional media integrations (images files, etc.) compared with 2012. A good internal link structure also appears to be an important quality attribute.
Google does not seem to apply the same criteria for the websites of brands as for other domains. For example, the search engine considers it natural for brands to have comparatively more backlinks with the name of the brand in the link text alone.