By Tia Nowack, Content Strategist
September 16, 2014
Google’s SEO algorithm is a coveted trade secret. No one knows exactly what it’s comprised of, and Google won’t answer many questions. But Searchmetrics, Inc., an enterprise platform developer for SEO, has compiled an expansive report on factors that have a high rank correlation with organic search results.
Unfortunately for you, it’s a hefty and technical read of more than 80 pages. But don’t fret; we’ve got you covered.
Here are the top ten things you need to know to be competitive in SEO for 2014.
- Content is king. And we’re talking about relevant, holistic, quality content. It’s no longer just about keywords. Content has become the primary focus of SEO, so make sure yours stands up.
- Lengthier content is ranking higher. Not only does your content need to be more comprehensive, but it also needs to be a little longer. Sites with the best SEO positions have more than 900 words per section.
- Additional media goes a long way. Not only will your site visitors appreciate pictures, videos and infographics, but they’ll also boost your page ranking.
- The easier to read, the better. In another new development this year, the legibility of the text was analyzed. Pages that ranked highest were easily understood by an 11-year-old student.
- Adlinks of any kind are rare in top pages. When it comes to SEO, the fewer ads on a page the better.
- Good housekeeping and up-to-date technology are a must. Strong information architecture is essential, and a poor internal linking structure can hurt search engine performance. Keeping your site current with Meta elements and tags is a requirement. And the faster your page loads, the better.
- Social media is a loser this year. In terms of correlation, social media doesn’t directly impact SEO. But that doesn’t mean you should discount it. A strong social presence can drive direct traffic to your site, increase brand awareness and improve the overall performance of the domain. So keep it up, but it’s not part of Google’s magic.
- Backlinks remain important. But like keywords, it’s quality over quantity. Google’s algorithm has gotten smarter this year, so make sure backlinks are coming from reputable websites.
- Brands are #1. Big brands and Wikipedia dominate again. But this year, smaller, niche brands are on the rise. These brands fare especially well with more specific, long-tail keyword searches.
- Healthy user signals have increased in importance this year. Top-ranked pages this year have higher click-through rates, lower bounce rates and longer time-on-site.
Remember, good search rankings aren’t achieved by cherry-picking a few factors. Follow the lead of 2014’s top ranking pages, and incorporate as many of the above guidelines into your website as possible.