The team at Searchmetrics recently released the SEO Ranking Factors and Rank Correlation 2014 Whitepaper based on their own directly observable data. While many SEO analysts use theory and speculation, Searchmetrics claim that their methodology of ranking evaluations are exact, fresh and based on huge amounts of data.
In summary, the survey confirmed ongoing trends, debunked some common assumptions, and indicated what upcoming factors will be the most important in getting your site more exposure. You can take a look at the primary results or the infographic here. The results can be distilled down to several handy points on content, architecture, backlinks, social media and user experience.
The focus is back on deep content. This means real articles without the fluffy stuff and some keywords thrown in for good measure. Google’s search engines are becoming more sophisticated in reading content like a human would. Google is wising up to content that is “Sales Pitchy” pushing the same point over and over.
A good combination of appropriate media objects, like photos, videos and galleries helps improve the reading experience. Keywords work best when they are used thoughtfully such as pairing them up with phrases that are important to searchers. People have started searching via complex topics, and keywords that embrace those topics (think “woodfire pizza in North Melbourne” rather than just “pizza”).
Strong focus whould remain on Keywords, title, description, H1, H2, Alt tags, Canalization and site load speed is a very important. When you have news, upcoming events or products, update your site (particularly your homepage) to reflect this so customers have a reason to keep visiting. The love/hate relationship with backlinks continues and are still vital for a strong web presence, but the qualifiers for good backlinks continue to mount up. This translates to more of your time on managing links, updating link policies, and weeding out poor links.
Factors such as site speed and user experience remain top priority.
Focus on Number of Backlinks and % backlinks with rel=Nofollow tag
Download the full report.