SEO Ranking Factors Report from Searchmetrics 2014 – A Quickie
[An uber.la quickie is a streamlined takeaway from today’s best marketing sources]
Let’s cut right to the chase. I find this top of the pile infographic quite amazing. Here are the top influencers on your Google rank.
Okay, a few of these are obvious. Your click-through rate has the highest impact on your Google rank. No mystery there, as Google tunes search results to match user success. But the big ah-has for me were all the FACEBOOK factors. (Shares, Total, Comments, Likes) And of the top 15 influencers 7, nearly half, are social media. Still think Facebook doesn’t matter any more? And look at #2, Google+. It’s also no mystery today, that the Hummingbird update began to bring Google+ shares up in the mix of Google influence.
Let’s see, Google owns Google+ and Google Search, and they want to promote and help Google+ adoption, do you think they might hook the two together? BINGO. As I’ve said many times before, you don’t have to get your Google+ house in order, but you’re going to be way behind those of us who are paying attention.
The other big win, also nothing new here, BACKLINKS. So if you were to focus on just THREE tactics in your SEO marketing work, they would be 1. Backlinks; 2. Google+ presence and shares; 3. Facebook activity and signals. How does that match with your current strategy? My guess is you are really focused on Keywords and Metatags and what copy is in your H1 and H2 tags. But, in today’s SEO world, those activities are less important that the social signals and backlinks that come with good social content and social sharing.
If anything major comes from this report, it is the tighter integration of social media and SEO. Search and Social are becoming a combined discipline. You can call it content marketing, social marketing, or search marketing, but we’re starting to see the blurring of the lines.
If you’ve got good content you will begin picking up better ranking in Google. Of course, you have to share the content, and make sure the right channels know about your fabulous content, and you have to work the networks to build your influence (Google+, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest).
The news is not that you can ignore or miss the critical path SEO items like keywords, title tags, and metatags, but you can no longer count on them to deliver the highest ranking. Today, Google is more interested in high quality content, with images, videos, and links. Keywords are important, but the "topic" is more important. The complete page, down to the word length and broad stroke topics, is now more valuable to Google than the old-school blocking and tackling SEO practices.
Of course, backlinks will always be crucial, as they are a prime indicator of good content. And the quality of the backlinks is even more important. Number 15 on the list is backlinks from News Domains. Things like NYTimes and Huffington Post can do more to lift your SEO score than anything you can do with your keyword research and proper coding of the page.
Once again, Content has been crowned king of SEO. But a few other factors are worthy of some focus as well. If your site is slow your score will be penalized, good to know.
Get your basics out of the way, make sure your site is as fast as you can afford it to be, and then work on your social marketing tactics to up your visibility and backlinks. It’s the same advice we’ve been giving for a while now, but it’s nice to have some data and opinions to back it up.
Got your social in order? If you need help, let me know.
- Top Google Rank Factors 2014 – Overview from Marketing Profs
- 2014 Ranking Factors Study – Searchmetrics (download the full PDF)
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