You may not know this but Searchmetrics have just released their annual Google ranking factors report for 2016! Now this is kinda a big deal for a couple reasons: Firstly, it gives us an idea on the kinds of things that Google perceive to be important for websites when displaying their search results for any given query/keyword, and secondly its important because it allows you to take advantage of this data and mould your own websites search engine optimisation in the right direction if you want to be found online for 2017.
Some of the key takeaways from the report are:
- Rankings are becoming even more personal.
- Site owners need to carefully consider the relevance of the content and the intent of the user.
- On page SEO as important as ever.
- User signals are now heavily influencing search results.
- Backlinks still important but less so than before.
Search Engine Land also have a good article on this report, you can find that here. In it they go into more detail of the findings:
- The URLs with the highest content relevance are those on positions 3 to 6.
- Desktop content is around a third longer than mobile content.
- In 2016, just 53 percent of the top 20 URLs included the keyword in their title.
- The Time on Site for the top 10 URLs is 3 minutes and 10 seconds.
- The average Bounce Rate for URLs on the first page of search results is 46 percent.
- The pages occupying positions 1 through 3 have an average Click-Through Rate of 36 percent.
- Almost half of webpages in the top 10 now use of HTTPS encryption.
- Eighty-six percent of the top 10 domains now use the .com TLD.
- Pages ranking for mobile are around a third smaller in terms of file size than their desktop equivalents.
- Mobile pages load around a second more quickly than desktop.
- The top 100 most visible domains all have mobile-friendly solutions for smartphone users. Outside the top 100, the rate is around 78 percent.
- 2016 saw a marked increase in the use of structured elements like lists and bullet points that create an improved user experience.
- The correlation between social signals and Google ranking has remained similar compared with previous years.
- Backlinks are now just one of many contributing factors. The correlation for backlinks remains high, but their importance is set to continue its decline.
Interesting stuff, well maybe not interesting to most but its certainly important stuff if you are interested in having a website that will try to compete online in your market for 2017.