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Ranking among the top Google search results is increasingly driven by dynamic factors, such as content relevance and user intent, rather than static factors, such as the number of keywords and links on a webpage, according to recent research from Searchmetrics.

The annual Searchmetrics ranking factors report was based on an analysis conducted in 2016 of Google search results for 10,000 keywords. The researchers examined which webpages were presented in the top 10 mobile and desktop results for each keyword and then determined which factors correlated to high rankings.

The presence of a few technical requirements, such as H1 tags and HTTPS encryption, help pages rank well across almost all keywords, the analysis found.

However, many of the other factors that influence high search rank, such as time spent on site and click-through rate (CTR), are dependent on individual searchers and pieces of content.

The fact that top search results for keywords are now driven less and less by universal factors led Searchmetrics to conclude that marketers should increasingly focus on topic-specific SEO/content tactics rather than broad approaches.

As the researchers put it in the report: "Except for important technical standards, there are no longer any specific factors or benchmark values that are universally valid for all online marketers and SEOs. Instead, there are different ranking factors for every single industry, or even every single search query. And these now change continuously."

About the research: The annual Searchmetrics ranking factors report was based on an analysis conducted in 2016 of Google search results for 10,000 keywords. The researchers examined which webpages were presented in the top 10 mobile and desktop results for each keyword and then determined which factors correlated to high rankings.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
image of Ayaz Nanji

Ayaz Nanji is a digital strategist and a co-founder of ICW Media, a marketing agency specializing in content and social media services for tech firms. 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

Twitter: @ayaznanji