2014 SEO Ranking Factors

One of the biggest challenges any website owner faces is keeping their website Search Engine Friendly & Optimised. Google's rapid fire of algorithm updates has spanned every denomination of the animal kingdom. 

We exist in a post penguin, panda, pigeon, hummingbird world. If you want free tickets to the zoo, don’t draw monkeys, make friends with the Zoo Keeper.

Now more than ever, its important to view all SEO activities through a single lens - would Google see this as a relevancy factor for the user? 

SearchMetrics recently released their largest study to determine what key factors influence SEO rankings. It seems there have been significant changes since 2013, where social dominated with 7 out of the top 8 ranking factors.

This year, USER SIGNALS and the importance of CONTENT established that they are no longer just contributors, but rather the main focus of SEO.

Click the image to see the full graphic

Click the image to see the full graphic


The study stressed the importance of having valuable content built amongst a webpages title, description, body, H1, H2 title tags and so on, with the right balance of quality keywords.

Other large players within content include factors such as:

  1. Sitespeed
  2. Position of keyword in title (character)
  3. Length of URL
  4. Position of keyword in title (word)

On the USER SIGNALS side - it seems logical that Google prefers sites that achieve high "time on site", "page views", and low "bounce rates". This dovetails perfectly with conversion rate optimisation - one of the hottest digital services offered in 2014, which can boost ROI on pages exponentially.

Interestingly, social signals had a slight decrease in the study year over year. Google's team of 100s of PHDs may have realised that content and user signals are less "gameable", and a stronger representation of user intent and satisfaction.