To achieve good ranking positions in Google organic search results, publishers need to include high-quality content on pages rather than simply rely on traditional SEO tactics, according to a recent report from Searchmetrics.
Pages that rank well tend to have a number of qualities in common, including comprehensive coverage of topics, easy-to-understand language, more images and videos, and larger word counts, according to the analysis of US Google.com organic search results for 10,000 keywords and 300,000 websites.
However, big brand websites still rank in top positions without having to fulfill many of the criteria that Google seems to require from other sites, the analysis also found.
Overall, the presence of relevant words on a page (i.e., not just an exact match with the search term) has the strongest correlation with positive search rank. Social signals (Google +1s, Facebook shares, Pinterest pins, tweets, etc.) also tend to have very positive impact on search rank, as does the number of backlinks.
Below, additional key findings from the report.
Google has been been tying rank on search engine results pages (SERPs) to content quality for years, and the analysis found this trend accelerated significantly with the Hummingbird algorithm update last fall.
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