Things that Top Ranked Sites on Google Have in Common
As a search engine, Google can change a lot in a year. The best of SEO practices till then suddenly turn into death sentences for web pages that do not keep up. However, this new report from ‘Searchmetrics’ analyzes and distils the information you need to know, avoiding the hassle of keeping yourself up-to-date.
What they have analyzed are 10,000 search results encompassing the top 300,000 URLs in the top three pages of Google UK. Factors the sites had in common were collated and summarized in the study.
Big Guys (Brands) are in a different league altogether
One of the most iconic and most popular brands on Facebook, Coca-Cola has over 70 million followers. With a fan base like that, you don’t need to do a lot to encourage them to spread the word. Coke is a huge brand and a household name; it can do quite well even with a sub-par, non-optimized website.
Many other prominent brands similarly benefit from the multitude of backlinks, mentions, and social signals helping their content rise to the top. The bigger the brand, the greater the social media reach, and harder the fall when things go downhill. Anyway, people talk about it, and Google pays attention. But it doesn’t mean that they should rest on their laurels.
Which Social Signals Matter – the Most?
Google watches social signals carefully; be it Facebook likes and shares, Twitter messages or even Pinterest pins, nothing is spared on its radar. However, one not-so-surprising find is that Google +1’s are recognized the most for ranking, followed closely by Facebook. So it's time to get a Google+ account (or use it more), to take advantage.
Are Backlinks and Headings Still Important?
Keyword-rich backlinks and headers can help in search engine ranking. But all this changed in 2012 when also long page titles started affecting your site negatively.
However, word count matters more in a ranking now, as lengthier posts tend to be shared and linked to more than shorter articles. The ideal count seems to be around the 400-525 mark.
Should a Domain Name have Keywords In It?
The eternal vexing question on every marketer’s mind – should the domain name include keywords? At present, Google pays less attention to this metric than the placement of the keywords in other places, like the title, URL, or links, both internal and external. A proportionate internal linking structure is vital for spreading the invaluable optimized “link juice” uniformly.
Is Mere Quality Content Sufficient?
Quality content is still important in Google’s eyes, as are the quantum of images and strong internal links. Page load speed matters, as does the word count, in the case of backlinks. If you’re consistent with quality content, adding rich media including images and video, all the while gathering backlinks, you’re taking all the right steps in the right direction.
So move away from “keyword tricks” and lay more emphasis on quality (along with social shares and backlinks to support it). Take the above information into account and smaller players (like you), too can benefit.