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Best Practices Learning from 2014 SEO Ranking Factors Report

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by , 03-23-2015 at 02:46 AM (206 Views)
Best Practices Takeaway from 2014 SEO Ranking Factors Report

SearchMetrics released their annual ranking factors study. The*report offers*numerous implications for businesses that depend upon their website to bring customers through organic search. Here the results have been summarized as they suggest best practices to be applied to your website marketing strategy.

1. Your Website Must Exhibit Better On-Page Technology
On-page technology basically refers to site architecture as it applies to SEO. The report evidenced that site speed remains to be the most important aspect of on-page technology. If you’re concerned about the load time of your website refer to Google’s PageSpeed tools. Other very important aspects of on-page technology*are keyword positioning within titles, length of URL (the shorter the better), and use of H1/H2 tags to better structure content (without keyword stuffing). The report also*referenced items that*have a negative correlation*to SEO in this capacity.*An important “no value”*item*includes sites that*use*keyword targets in the URL/domain - If you’re starting a new site*please avoid*obsessing over the use of keywords in*the domain name.**A key note here is that*Google does not favor pages that meet the above on-page criteria,*instead it is*the absence of them will have a negative effect on your site’s ranking.

2. High-Quality, and Relevant, Content Is the Fuel that Feeds Your SEO
It comes as no surprise that the report proved that*websites which deliver interesting, informative, engaging, and media-rich content on a frequent basis will dominate search. This continues to be*a*primary ranking factor.*However the key to the success of this high-quality*content, outside of the basic keyword optimization of it, is relevancy. Google will look to see*if the content on your site is relevant to the search that users are performing, the same search*that you are looking to capture with your*keyword targets. That is why Google has emphasized semantic association*as a ranking factor*over the last couple of years, releasing the Hummingbird algorithm to further reward sites that truly provide relevant content to searchers.

3. Increase the Length of Your Good Content for Better Rank
The report indicates that content length as a ranking factor is on the rise. This is because user behavior indicates a preference for deeper content. The study points to page copy in excess of 900 words performing better in rank, compared to 2013 which seemed to peak at 600 words. Simply put, pages with more text rank better than those with less.

4. Add More Original Images to Page Content to Improve Rank
The report states that pages using more imagery will rank better than those without (all else being equal).

5. More Internal Linking is Better, if the Content Calls for It
The report indicates that*internal linking was rewarded as ranking factor. When your site produces an optimal amount of relevant content the interconnectedness of it creates that holistic force that Google requires.*If you are writing a new article, the chances are that you are referencing points that are more comprehensively addressed within another article on your site. Instead of glossing over this content, leaving the user confused about an item, or running-on too long in an attempt to describe it, you should simply link to it. Internal linking improves user experience, and that is why it is now better rewarded as a ranking factor.

6. Backlink Quality*is Important, Build them by Delivering Quality Content
The ranking report didn’t deliver any major news about backlinks as a ranking factor but in summary they remain*to be of upmost importance.* Backlinks from sites with high SEO visibility (those that perform well in organic search themselves)*are far more valuable. To attract these sites to your content and garner natural links from them you must deliver*high quality link-worthy content.

7. Social Media Signals Strongly Correlate with Ranking Factors
While the “how” of how*social signals directly affect rankings remains in question (Google continues to cheekily deny it) the correlation between social media performance and ranking performance remains strong. Facebook leads the way, followed by Google+, Twitter, and Pinterest. Stay strong on social media and see if your rank performance runs parallel.

8. User Signals Impact Rank so Keep Users on Your Site Longer
The report shows that user behavior from SERP-to-site impacts rank. Click-through rates, bounce rates, and time-spent-on-site are all important. Your*page optimization should do all that it can to increase click-through rates, reduce*bounce rates, and increase “time spent”*by providing access to the rest of the content on your site though internal linking and improved page to page navigation.*Improve the way users engage your site in those three areas and your rank will respond favorably.

9.*Build Your Site with Responsive Design to*Optimize for Mobile Search Rank
The report indicates that mobile traffic is not only on the rise*but that the rank associated with it behaves differently. Your site should be built, or converted to, responsive design immediately.


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Ronak Shah
Practice Head (QA / Software Testing)
CIGNEX Datamatics

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