A recent report from SearchMetrics identifies the factors having the greatest impact on organic ranking. It looks at search engine results and the measures marketers adopt to push their websites higher on search engines.
Compared with 2012, the biggest losers in terms of relevance were keyword links and domains, with their significance seeing a sharp decline as a ranking factor. The SEO marketing software firm suggests that Google now places greater emphasis on natural link profiles, noting that hard keyword links could even have an adverse effect on a website’s ranking if used excessively.
Another main finding from the research is the growing role of social media on rankings and its heavier impact on search results. Social media’s increasing influence on search engine visibility became evident even last year, but the study proves that it has now become even more obvious. Content that gets more likes, shares, tweets and plus ones drive more impressions in search and receives a more favourable ranking as a result. This means that social media activity keeps expanding, but also that content which is frequently shared results in good rankings.
Speaking about content, SearchMetrics also highlighted the importance of delivering good quality content as key to earning a strong ranking. Another factor that improves websites’ positioning on search engines is good internal link structure, the researcher said.
Backlinks remain one of the SEO metrics that is unlikely to lose its relevance and sites with a higher number of incoming links continue to rank better. SearchMetrics notes, however, that factors concerning this metric have slightly changed and nowadays it’s not just their quantity that matters, but their quality as well.