Search engine traffic is one of the most important factors of visibility for an online business. A thorough understanding of ranking factors is the key to achieving high search rankings. In a recent survey, Moz collected the opinions of dozens of the world’s greatest search marketers in order to bring new insight into the workings of search algorithms. By studying the characteristics of top ranking websites, Moz was able to find what factors could help (or hurt) visibility. Moz found that these search ranking factors, from most influential to least, played a key role in influencing Google’s algorithm.
Domain-Level Link Features: 8.22/10
Page-Level Link Features : 8.19/10
Page-Level Keyword & Content-Based Features
Page-Level Keyword- Agnostic Features
Engagement & Traffic/Query Data
Domain-Level Brand Metrics
Domain-Level Keyword Usage
Domain-Level Keyword-Agonistic Features
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Searchmetrics, another SEO platform, released a Search Ranking Factors and Ranking Correlation report, which sheds further light on the most important factors for2015 search ranking. Here are some of the key findings of that report.
Searchmetrics found that in 2015, quality content is key, with ranking factors such as word count and Flesch readability more important than ever. Succesful websites are placing less emphasis on keywords and more on holistic content that understands a user’s intentions for visiting.
Since the advent of Mobilegeddon, mobile-friendly sites have seen a boost in rankings. The number of mobile friendly websites among the top 30 search results has been increasing and a positive correlation between mobile optimization and search rankings is definitely there. Optimizing your device for mobile has become a big part of successful SEO strategy.
Two factors on the decline are keywords and backlinks. Through backlinks still show effective results for search rankings, unnatural links are showing decreasing effectiveness. On the other hand, more and more high ranking URLS are not using the corresponding keyword in their body or description. Instead, content is taking center stage. Keywords without the content to back it up are being rendered irrelevant in search rankings.