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Sadly, the search ranking factors to improve SEO of your blog is usually more than one.
You need to focus on more than five or six search ranking factors at any given time to see a ranking improvement.
But worry not! There are some smart and helpful SEOs out there on the Webosphere who keep a close tab on the changes that Google brings into their algorithm – out of the blue.
The folks at Searchmetrics.com are one among those “Good Samaritans”.
The topic of search ranking factors often leaves even the most seasoned SEOs flummoxed thanks to the Google’s ever-transforming ranking algorithms!
By the way, what on earth is a search ranking factor?
In simple terms, it’s nothing but the elements that Google takes into account for ranking your web pages in the search results. (E.g. page load time, compatibility on mobile devices, backlinks and so on!)
Here are the Top Search Ranking Factors to Improve SEO of your blog in 2017
Late last year, they came up with a neat blog post that gave us a sneak peek into what search factors every blog owner or SEO must focus in 2017.
Dubbed as the “comparative benchmarks” for online marketers, SEOs and webmasters, this annual study on Google’s top search ranking factors led to the following findings,
- Personalization is the key going forward
- Content relevance is all the more important now and here to stay
- Conventional technical ranking factors still remain highly crucial
- However, the importance of backlinks are receding – Did you just say? ‘What rubbish’, hold that though for a moment, I have narrow down-ed this under Backlinks heading.
Now let’s analyze their elaborate 63 pages report and discuss the top search ranking factors in brief.
Content Relevance is Supreme
Your content is paramount like never before; especially its relevance to your users.
This means, if the content is not aligned to the user’s search terms or keywords, your website’s ranking will surely deteriorate.
The content relevance ranking factor is evaluated on a scale of 0 to 100.
So naturally, the greater the score, higher will be your website’s ranking in the search results!
So from now on, content relevance is definitely going to be one of the top search ranking factors to improve SEO of your blogs!
This naturally brings us to the sub-topic of word count. Yeah, word count is also a strong ranking factor to improve SEO of your blog.
To shoot for the top slots of the search results, keep your content at least at 1000 words or more.
Well, the more (informative) words you can write, the better will be your chances of getting ranked higher!
What about the keywords, you may ask!
Unfortunately, keywords are less important – whether you like it or not.
Even though the importance of word count has gone up, the prominence of keywords has declined.
Therefore, the hideous act of keyword stuffing will never work again!
Searchmetrics.com points out that only 53% of the top 20 web pages have included keywords in their title tag. And the websites that have included H1 HTML tag in their landing pages is less than 40%.
User Satisfaction Metrics are Crucial Now
If your website visitors aren’t happy, your website ranking is going to suffer! As simple as that!
Google has zero tolerance on inferior user satisfaction and takes the associated user signals very seriously.
Hence, these three user signals are now super-important for your site,
- Clickthrough Rate
- Time on Site
- Bounce Rate
- Clickthrough Rate
Searchmetrics suggests that if you are aspiring to secure the top 3 positions of the search results make sure your Clickthrough Rate is not less than 36%!
- Time on Site
The study has found that the top 10 highest ranking web pages for the most competitive keyword combination manage to retain their visitors for at least 3 minutes and 10 seconds.
- Bounce Rate
The web pages appearing in the top 10 search results usually have an average bounce rate of 46%.
The lesser the bounce rate percentage, the greater are your chances to rank high in the search results.
So try to keep the Bounce Rate percentage down at all costs.
To accomplish the lowest bounce rate you must have compelling, engaging, informative, and helpful content on your website.
Top Technical Ranking Factors Remains Crucial
According to Searchmetrics study, structuring the content has become one of the top ranking factors to improve SEO these days.
Although search engines adore structured content, its significance has only gone up now!
It’s extremely important to give a proper structure to your content. This makes your content easy to read for your users.
Anything that enriches the user experience of the users is treated as a strong ranking signal by Google.
This is where heading tags like H1 and H2 come into the picture.
The study uncovers that the web pages securing the top 20 slots had a higher percentage of H1 and H2 tags usage in their content.
The top ranking landing pages also had more H2 tags than before.
Hence, Searchmetrics strongly recommends the use of H1 and H2 tags in the content for improved rankings.
The study only underscores that structured content is more potent than ever, and a strong search ranking factor to improve SEO of your website!
According to Searchmetrics, a few other vital technical search ranking factors to improve SEO are as follows,
- Make your site encrypted with HTTPS protocol.
- Register your domain with Top-Level Domain (TLD) .com
- Check the load time of your pages and keep it between an average of 7 and 8 seconds
- Web pages with longer URLs (about 53 characters) rank higher in the search results
- Most importantly, make your website/blog mobile friendly
Richer User Experience = Higher Search Rankings!
Among the myriad user experience signals, the strongest one is internal links! Alas, it is also the most under-utilized search ranking factor.
But why is internal linking such a strong search ranking factor after all?
It enriches the user experience by sending the users (as well as the search engine bots) to other relevant web pages within the website.
By the way, you can augment the user experience further by utilizing various other factors as well.
Here are the top 3 strong search ranking factors to use
- External links to relevant authority sites
- Use of relevant images
- Integrating videos
Social Signals are Always Crucial!
Do you have a solid social media marketing strategy in place?
If yes, then you are better off getting higher search engine rankings than your rivals!
Google takes your social signals very seriously these days while ranking your blog.
According to Searchmetrics Social signals are crucial search ranking factor to improve SEO.
The more the traffic you receive from social media sites, better are your chances of higher search ranking.
Among the countless social sites, Facebook social signals still rule the roost! So focus more on obtaining Facebook traffic first, followed by Google Plus, Twitter, and Pinterest.
Searchmetrics claims that the top ranking websites in Google have an enormously higher amount of social signals.
Backlinks take a Back Seat
If you are still over-zealous in acquiring backlinks for your blogs, then you better not be!
Searchmetrics study says that Backlinks are now only a part of the several search ranking factors.
Yes, backlinks are great, but it shouldn’t be the alpha and omega of your SEO strategy.
Google now confers a lower precedence to backlinks than other search ranking factors like content relevance and user experience.
Interestingly, you can make it to the top slots of the search results even without high-quality backlinks. Well, only in certain niches, though.
So, in my opinion, the study of search ranking factors essentially boils down to two crucial elements – being natural and offering a great user experience!
Believe me, staying natural in the way you approach SEO is the key these days. Let your blog grow organically. And give it time to grow and flourish. Have patience!
Search engines (esp. Google) can chuck you out of their search results if you resort to artificial methods to secure higher rankings.
So create content that has a natural flow to it without stuffing in a lot of targeted keywords. And carry out intense research before creating your content.
Make it easy to navigate by providing a relevant title that matches the content, good structure with H1 and H2 tags, and internal links.
But what reigns supreme is the quality of your content. Never compromise on quality. Make your content comprehensive, informative, and also entertaining, if possible.
Integrating these above methods to your SEO strategy will surely yield solid results!
I hope you enjoyed reading my post. And I hope it will help you take your SEO strategy to the next level.
By the way, what is the SEO strategy that you follow? And what do you think is the top search ranking factor to improve SEO of your blog? Please let us know through a comment.