Recently, Top Seo Now conducted an analysis of 100 thousand search results on Google search engine with the objective of establishing the factors that contribute to first page rankings on the giant search engine. To attain this objective, Top Seo Now carefully considered several important factors.
TSN sought the help of experts in data analysis from within and without the company in carrying out the comprehensive analysis, and this study led to the discovery of very interesting facts.
Summary of the important findings
The following is a summary of what Top Seo Now discovered about factors that contribute to first page rankings:
- Backlinks are a very significant factor as far as Google rankings is concerned. TSN discovered that the number of internet domains that link to a page directly affects rankings. In fact, backlinks are the most influential factor.
- Upon comprehensive examination of the data, Top Seo Now found out that the overall link authority of a website has a strong correlation with high rankings. It’s important to note that the overall link authority of a website is usually determined by Ahrefs-Domain Rating.
- Another important discovery that was made is that website content that is rated topically relevant has higher chances of outperforming web content that doesn’t comprehensively cover topics. Consequently, it’s important to publish focused content which comprehensively covers a particular topic.
- When TSN examined SERP data obtained from SEMRush, it established that longer website content generally have higher rankings on the world’s leading internet search engine. You may not be aware that on average, all first page results on Google comprise of 1890 words.
- Are you aware that there is a very strong correlation between HTTPS and first-page rankings on Google? This fact shouldn’t surprise you at all because at one time, Google gave the confirmation that HTTPS is indeed a ranking signal.
- Even though there has been a lot of interest about Schema, Top Seo Now found out that there is no correlation between Schema markup and higher rankings.
- Are you aware that website content that contains one or more images generally outperforms web content with absolutely no images by a significant margin? Nevertheless, additional images do not necessarily translate to higher rankings.
- TR established that optimization of the title tag keyword has very little or no effect on Google rankings. The relationship between the two factors was actually smaller than the analysts’ expectation. This is proof that indeed Google has since moved to a semantic search-system.
- The speed of a site plays a very influential role as far as first-page ranking on Google is concerned. According to data obtained from Alexa, web pages found on sites that load very fast generally rank higher than those found on websites that load at slower speeds.
- Even though Google boasts of numerous Penguin updates, precise matching anchor text generally play a more influential role in rankings.
- When Top Seo Now’s data analysis experts examined data obtained from SimilarWeb, they realized that there’s a correlation between low bounce rates and Google rankings.
More comprehensive information as well as data about the factors that contribute to first page rankings on the giant search engine is available below.
- Correlation between number of referral domains and high Google rankings
Are you aware that obtaining backlinks from a single domain has negative effects?
Getting ten backlinks from ten different sites is better than obtaining a similar number of backlinks from a single domain.
Detailed analysis by Top Seo Now proved that indeed this is a fact. The company’s data analysts learnt that domain diversity substantially affects the level of rankings on Google.
For instance, 50 domains may result in a position ten ranking on Google, whereas 300 domains may result in a position one on the giant search engine.
It’s important to be cognizant of the fact that Google wishes to see a scenario whereby your web page gets endorsement from several different websites. Therefore, the greater the domains that link back to your web page, the more endorsements the page has, and the higher the rankings.
Actually, the number of distinctive referral domains a web page has was in fact the greatest correlation during the whole study.
So, what’s the bottom line? Obtaining links from numerous domains plays an extremely significant role in Search Engine Optimization.
- Authoritative domains generally have higher rankings in search results
Top Seo Now ascertained that the overall link authority of a website directly influences rankings on Google. Ahrefs Domain Rating is the unit used for measuring the overall link authority of websites.
As a matter of fact, there is a strong correlation between the overall authority of a website and Google rankings, and it’s stronger than the correlation between a web page’s authority and Google rankings.
In simple terms, the domain that provides life support to your page actually plays a more influential role than the web page.
What’s the bottom-line? If you increase the volume of links, the ranking of other web pages will also improve.
- Publishing content that is comprehensive, topical and in depth may result in better Google rankings
Are you aware that when Search Engine Optimization was still a new concept, Google used to establish what the topic of a web page was about by strictly examining the keywords appearing on that particular web page?
For instance, if a particular keyword appeared in a certain web page 7 times, the giant search engine would automatically establish that the web page generally contained information about that prominent keyword.
However, that is no longer the case. Nowadays, Google makes use of the Hummingbird Algorithm to find out what the topics of web pages are about.
For instance, if you conduct a Google search about the director of a particular movie, the world’s largest search engine does not strictly look for web pages containing that keyword. Rather, it comprehends what the question is about before providing you with appropriate answers.
Obviously, Google’s use of the Hummingbird Algorithm significantly affects how web content ought to be augmented for purposes of Search Engine Optimization.
- When comparing rankings between long form content and short form content, the former have higher rankings
Are you aware that as far as Google ranking is concerned, long form content generally outperforms short form content?
During the study, Top Seo Now’ experts got rid of outliers from its data under review and found out that web pages that contained long-form content achieved very high rankings. This was a direct result of the elimination of outliers, that is, web pages that contained words ranging between 51- 9999.
Actually, all first page results on Google have an average number of 1,890 words.
The direct correlation between length of web content and high Google rankings is mainly because long form content usually generates vast sharing on social media platforms. Additionally, it enhances the topical relevancy of your web page, and this enables Google have a more in-depth understanding of what the content topic is about.
Bottom line: long form content generally has higher rankings on Google when compared to short form content. 1,890 is the average number of words found on web pages that appear first on Google.
- There is a moderate correlation between HTTPS and high Google rankings
Recently, Google advised webmasters on the importance of switching their sites to secure HTTPS. As a matter of fact, Google acknowledges HTTPS as an important ranking signal.
When experts from Top Seo Now conducted the study, they found out that indeed there’s a correlation between HTTPS and high Google rankings, but the correlation is not as strong as many people think.
The big question that is on many people’s mind is whether it is wise to switch to HTTPS. The answer is very simple, you’re at liberty to either switch to HTTPS, or refrain from switching. It’s a very huge project that has the potential of causing huge technical challenges.
Before making the ultimate decision, it’s important to go through the guidelines available on Google.
The most important takeaway: since the correlation between the popular HTTPS and high Google rankings is quite weak, and making the switch will compel you to invest a huge amount of resources, Top Seo Now discourages you from switching to HTTPS if the sole objective is for Search Engine Optimization.
- Schema markup doesn’t necessarily result in higher Google rankings
Recently, a lot of interest has been generated concerning Schema markup and Search Engine Optimization. According to the theory, Schema markup enables search engines such as Google better understand what the content in your web page is all about. The theory further claims that this motivates search engines to make your web page(s) more visible to internet traffic.
For instance, anyone can make use of a structured data-tag to enable a search engine such as Google know that upon using the term Star Wars, then reference is generally being made to renowned movie title, rather than the franchise.
The theory also suggests that if you have an ecommerce website, then Schema markup can be used to display product ratings.
All the aforementioned elements concerning Schema markup can be applied to boost rankings on Google. According to John Mueller, an expert employed by Google, the giant search engine may start utilizing structured data as one of the ranking signals.
However, during the scientific analysis, Top Seo Now discovered that the availability of structured data does not necessarily affect Google rankings.
What’s the bottom line? Well, you are at liberty to make use of structured data. However, you shouldn’t expect that your web page’s rankings will significantly improve as a direct result.
- Short URLs are more effective than long URLs
If your main interest is in on-page Search Engine Optimization, then you ought to consider using short URLs. This is because Google finds it easy to understand what they are about.
You may not be aware that Google’s algorithms usually weigh the first five words in URLs and don’t pay much attention to any subsequent words.
- Content that comprises of one or more images generally have higher rankings than content with no images
Top Seo Now discovered that pages which are full of images have the tendency of generating numerous total views as well as sharing on social media platforms.
The general implication is that if you upload content that consists of one or more images, most people who come across it will view and share the content, and this will ultimately lead to great rankings on Google.
- Use of exact keyword in the title tag of a page doesn’t necessarily lead to higher rankings
It’s important to take cognizance of the fact that inserting a target keyword in the title tag can result in higher Google ranking for that particular keyword, but the effect won’t be as good as it was in the recent past. This is mainly because of Google’s strategic shift to the Semantic search system.
- There’s a correlation between loading speed and high rankings
Are you aware that Google has been taking site speed as an important consideration when ranking web pages since the year 2010?
During the analysis carried out by Top Seo Now’ experts, Alexa’s Domain-Speed test was applied to investigate the average load time of one million domains. The experts discovered that the higher the page-load speed, the higher the Google ranking.
- There’s a strong correlation between high Google rankings and precise match-anchor text
Experts who conducted the study on behalf of Top Seo Now discovered that there’s a connection between backlinks comprising of precise match-anchor text and high rankings on Google, the world’s largest search engine.
However, you shouldn’t make use of precise match-anchor text as a strategy for Search Engine Optimization if you want to avoid the danger that is usually posed by text links.
Utilization of precise match-anchor text was an extremely effective strategy when Search Engine Optimization had just debuted. Nevertheless, Google cracked the whip on this malicious practice by introducing the Penguin update.
- The lower the bounce rate, the higher the Google rankings
Many SEO experts believe that Google makes use of user experience signals such as bounce rates to rank web pages.
To establish how true or false this popular belief is, the experts contracted by Top Seo Now set aside 100,000 websites and carefully examined them using SimilarWeb.
The experts found out that the lower the bounce rates, the higher the Google rankings. The converse is also true. This is sufficient proof that bounce rate is one of the important factors that Google takes into consideration when ranking web pages.
Experts working for and on behalf of Top Seo Now discovered that Google rankings are influenced by the following factors: number of referral links, overall link authority, topical relevance, length of content, HTTPS and Schema markup.
Other factors that determine Google rankings are: length of URLs, existence of images in web content, utilization of precise keywords in title-tags of pages, loading speed, precise match-anchor text as well as bounce rate.