The Ranking Factors in 2017: What’s Important, What’s Not session centred around the results of a comprehensive ranking study conducted by SEMrush. The study examined the top 100 positions for 200,000 keywords in Google US.

Olga Andrienko, head of social media at SEMRush, reiterated the fact that the Google SERPS are always changing, and that change = disaster if you fail to adjust. On the other hand, change can equal opportunity…if you’re ready for it.

Olga started by talking about HTTPS – 65% of domain rankings in Top-3 positions for high volume keywords are already secure. “If you’re optimising for long tail then you really have a chance of standing out if your site is secure, in a good way” she said. “The conclusion is, go to HTTPS.”

The data also found that:

  • Backlinks still matter for SEO. The 1st position has almost twice as many referring domains as pages on 10th position

  • Higher rankings correlate with longer content. Content for long-tail keywords is 20% longer than for short-head

  • No significant impact when the keyword is used in the title

  • The bounce rate is lower for top positions in Google. Possible reasons: more trust towards domains in first positions

  • Time on site increases for top ranking domains. Time on site for domains ranking for low volume keywords is 40 seconds less than for high volumes

  • The number of visits matters for high volume keywords. Pages ranking for high volume keywords have 3 times more visits than lower search volume groups

Now what?

Olga ended her session with a few key takeaways, based on the findings:

  • Make sure your content length is sufficient. Make sure it’s relevant and matches user intent

  • Check what your competitors are doing and make sure they don’t outperform you in terms of length/amount of words – but keep it relevant

  • Proper high-quality link building will help you rank higher for keywords with a volume of less than 10,000 queries

  • Move to HTTPS, even if it’s not a massive factor, it will help with conversions and build trust

  • Check pages with higher bounce rate and keywords these pages rank for. Make the content more relevant

  • Optimise your page load speed to < 3 seconds

This session was provided exclusively for SMX London, and was a snipped of the full study which examined 600,000 keywords and data volume to provide a local perspective and identify local difference for the US, US, Australia and major European countries. It will be released mid-June.

Rebecca Tee

Digital PR Specialist

Rebecca is a Digital PR Specialist at Impression. She works with clients to secure coverage locally and nationally, helping businesses improve their online presence through dedicated digital PR campaigns.

Rebecca has specialist knowledge in Digital PR and Data Based Campaigns.

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