When we think of factors that lead to high search rankings in Google, things like keywords, click-through rates, and meta data, but there are a number indicators that impact search results more than you may realize. Some of these items have been relevant since SEO’s inception but have been overshadowed by our obsession with keywords. Others have more recently come into importance as users’ browsing habits change. Here are just some of the factors that SEO’s must pay more attention:
We’ve been pushing quality content for some time now, but as the value of the content you post has increased in importance, so too has the length! According to the Search Metrics SEO Ranking Factors and Rank Correlations report for 2014, sites with longer content are seeing better search rankings.
+1s on Google+, Facebook shares, likes and comments, tweets and Pinterest pins continue to have an extremely positive correlation with high ranking sites, once again proving that search and social media do not operate in silos! These are extremely powerful backlinks and should be leveraged in a modern SEO strategy.
Strong cross linking within your website to other pages of the site not only provides a foundation for SEO, it also helps users navigate your site and encourages them to stay on your site longer.
Though the link building approach has changed over the last five years, the quality and quantity of your backlinks is still important. Now link building should be seen as an ongoing, long term strategy rather than a tool to get a quick boost in rankings. Matt Cutts recommends viding links as your “online reputation,” so be choosier with the links you build, picking only those that will reflect favorably on your business.
Site Load Speed:
Site speed is becoming more and more impactful on search rankings. If your site is loading slowly, it indicates to Google that your site is of lesser value and increases the likelihood that users will bounce back to the search results.
When users return to their search results immediately after clicking over to your site, it indicates that you did not provide what they expected or content they found valuable. If you have high bounce rates, you must modify your title tags, meta descriptions and content so that the search results accurately reflect what users can expect when they click over to your site.
Time On Site:
On the other side of the same coin, the longer users stay on your site, the more it shows Google that you’re providing value to them. A bulk of content, clickable calls to action, extensive crosslinking, and videos all give your users reason to spend more time on your site.
As we mentioned above, when there are videos on sites users tend to stay on them longer, but videos have become in and of themselves an important factor when determining search rankings. Just consider housing videos on your YouTube channel rather than on your site to avoid slowing down loading speeds.
The world of SEO is a complex marriage of art and science that is constantly changing. It can be difficult to keep up, so often underrated ranking factors fly under the radar. If you’d like to make sure that you’re looking at the big SEO picture without missing any little details, reach out to us for a consultation!