Increasingly, websites that appear at the top of Google search results are those that tend to have a high number of social signals, such as likes, shares, tweets and plus-ones, according to a recent report by Searchmetrics.
The study, which was based on an analysis of 300,000 URLs appearing in the top search result position in the US, found a particularly strong correlation between signals from Google's own network, Google+, and good rankings.
Below, conclusions from the report, including insights into the correlation between search rank and page coding, keywords, and content factors.
The study found that fulfilling certain on-page coding criteria, such as having fast site speed, no longer has a positive effect on a website's ranking.On the other hand, if a website does not meet these criteria, its ranking will fall.
Put another way, SEO basics—such as fast site speed, using H1 and H2 tags, and having a description—are now prerequisites rather than search rank boosters.
Ayaz Nanji is an independent digital strategist and a co-founder of ICW Content, a marketing agency specializing in content creation for brands and businesses. He is also a research writer for MarketingProfs. He has worked for Google/YouTube, the Travel Channel, AOL, and the New York Times.
LinkedIn: Ayaz Nanji