Over the past year, SEO rankings factors have changed for search engines, a new study shows. According to Ranking Factors – Rank Correlation 2013 study, keyword links and domains have lost a lot of their relevance, while social signals have grown in importance.
Once considered essential, these two factors’ relevance has decreased significantly over the past year. For instance, the keywords placed in URLs or the domain page are no longer relevant.
Social signals continue to correlate with better rankings. This means that well-positioned URLS have a high number of likes, shares and plus ones on various social networks. These will stand out in search results and will rank higher than unpopular links.
This translates into the need for an increased activity on social networks for brands and publications who want to climb the ladder of important search engines.
When it comes to content, the study shows that quality is very important. The number of internal links, the HTML length and word count are highly important, as well as the number of keywords used in the body of the text and in external links.
The number of external links and image count also play a role in positioning a story in the higher spots of a search results page.
One thing remains consistent over the years when it comes to Search Engine Optimization strategies, and that’s the number of backlinks, which continue to be quite important.
While the quality of backlinks is increasingly important, quantity also counts for websites that want to rank higher.
Another constant thing is the privileged position of brands. Search engines do not seem to apply the same criteria to big brands as they apply for regular domains.
Since Google considers it natural for brands to have more backlinks with their name in the link, they aren’t rated negatively as opposed to other websites.