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What SEO Factors Correlate With Higher Rankings


Backlinko's Brian Dean recently released his findings on what search engine ranking factors correlate with top rankings. He and the rest of his team analyzed 1 million search results from Google to obtain this data, and in today's Daily Brown Bag, we will review what they found. Watch today's video to find out what SEO factors correlate with higher rankings.

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Hello and welcome to the Daily Brown Bag. Today we're talking about search engine ranking factors. I'm Chad Hill and I am joined by Adam Stetzer.

Hey, good morning, Chad. Welcome to the Daily Brown Bag. Today we're covering a very hot topic in our SEO reseller community. How do I rank faster? What are those search ranking factors? We cover this a lot over the years, Chad.

Today we're specifically looking at a study released by Backlinko. That's Brian Dean and his team over there. They've got some very interesting data. They and their partners have analyzed over one million search results from Google and come up with a pretty cool list of search engine ranking factors that we know would be of great interest to those folks in our white label reseller community. Chad, what do we have for them today?

We've got eight things here we're going to talk about. It's a very extensive blog post that we will have a link to it. Recommend everyone read the whole thing, but we want to summarize some of the key takeaways. And at the top of the list is really no surprise, which is that the number one thing here is that links are still very important. In fact, the number of backlinks matter more than any other factor that they analyzed.

8 Search Engine Ranking Factors That Correlate With Higher Rankings

1. Links

One of the things that they found was that it's unique domains linking. So if you have one site with a site-wide, a bunch of links, as we said many times, that's not nearly as important as having links from many sites. And then of course to round that off, it's links from the highest quality sites that tend to help you the most.

2. Authority

Alright. Number two on the list is the authority of your site. The authority of your site is very highly correlated with rankings and interestingly the authority of the site itself was more important than the authority of any given page. We have seen some other studies that show page authority is also an important factor, but the overall authority of the site comes in at number two here, which of course is highly correlated with finding number one because the number one way you can raise your authority seems to be to have more backlinks to your site, good backlinks to give it a boost.

3. Content

Number three on the list is that content matters. Focused, relevant, comprehensive content correlated with higher rankings. The finding was that in-depth content tended to work better than shallow content. No surprise there. One of the things that was a little interesting is that this content tended to be, that the average page one result, had 1,890 words. So this is a very long content. Now does that mean you should be writing every single piece of content with 1,890 words? I don't think that's what they're saying, but the real key here is that you really need to make sure the content is relevant, useful, comprehensive and that alone is going to make your content longer to just be able to deliver that.

4. Speed

Number four, speed matters, Chad as well. Pages that loaded faster were found to be strongly correlated with higher rankings. So, if you're on that super cheap three dollar hosting plan, you need to make a connection and realize that can be hurting your SEO and your rankings because the speed of your website does matter.

5. Shorter URLs

Number five is that shorter URLs ranks better. So that's an interesting one. I think of course that has to do with if you have a really long blog post title, you probably are watering down some of those key words that you might want to get into that URL, but that was the finding, that shorter URLs rank better.

6. HTTPS

Alright. Related to that, HTTPS also a factor here. Sites with HTTPS were correlated with higher ranking. Wasn't a huge finding. They wanted to emphasize, Chad that the correlation was not so big that you should scrap everything and prioritize this immediately, but it should be somewhere on your long term road map because who has definitely been talking about it and they do have data showing there's correlation.

7. Bounce Rates

Yeah, so the last one here, number seven, is that bounce rates...lower bounce rates correlated with better rankings. So that's again no surprise. We know that engagement stats are something that are related rankings but they found that here in number seven.

8. Anchor Text

And the last one officially on the list, Chad is...it says here "last but not least" and that's really true is that anchor text is still a huge factor. Exact match anchor text was highly correlated with better rankings and this finding of course is very controversial and difficult for people because it leaves them to believe, "Okay I want to make sure I get as much exact anchor on my money key words as possible." And the data supports that that will drive your rankings but as we also know from extensive coverage of Penguin, it is Penguin Awareness Month here at HubShout, you can overstep those bounds and nobody really knows where the line from a natural profile anchor text to a unnatural profile really is other than Google. So, while this will drive rankings, it also sets you up as a potentially extremely risky practice, one that will algorithmically catch you through a Penguin refresh which we think will soon be real time. And also in any sort of manual review, sticks out like a sore thumb and can come back repeatedly if you've had a problem and of had to ask Google through reinclusion request. So, this one is correlated, Chad, but it's sort of "use with caution" and understand the risks associated with it.

Yeah. Well the last one we wanted to cover here as we wrap up is that they did find a couple of things that mattered less than more expected. One of those was schema markup. And basically John Mueller has come out saying that schema markup may be a ranking signal of the future, but the analysis today was that there was really no correlation between schema markup or any type of structured data and rankings. So, one thing that you know is just not there yet and then the other one that they mention was title tag keyword optimization, that exact match title tags still have a small correlation with rankings, but less so than maybe some of these other factors that were on the list.

So this is a tricky one because I know that John Mueller came out, or someone at Google, came out and said that optimizing title tags isn't important anymore. I don't think that that's necessarily, that it's not important you shouldn't do it, it's just that going around and thinking that updating all your title tags is going to have an immediate major impact on your rankings, just is not as much true as maybe it was in years past.

Excellent. Well, Chad those are good points because we did talk about those a lot and it's interesting to hear those. In general that's our coverage today of search engine ranking factors for our SEO resellers. Again, a big shout out and thanks to Brian Dean and the whole community over there at Backlinko. We will have a link up to the original source, that's our condensed list and our coverage today. As always, if you found this interesting or helpful, we ask that you share it or sign up for a subscription.

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