A very interesting study has recently been done by Backlinko. They analyzed 1 million search results from Google in order to find which factors affect the SERP rank (search engine result page position), which you can check using our SERP Rank Checker. The original report can be found on Backlinko blog: We Analyzed 1 Million Google Search Results. Here we summarize some of the results that are interesting from our point of view.
It has been declared by Google for years, that the best way to rank well is to have an original and topically relevant content of substantial length. It is also known that the PageRank algorithm, despite all its updates and changes over the years, has always relied heavily on the number and the quality of backlinks. Unsurprisingly, these factors have been confirmed by the Backlinko’s study. It also confirmed that the exact match anchor text is still a strong factor. It is thus confirmed that relevant links from authority websites are still a major thing for SEO.
For us, it is more interesting that some other factors have been confirmed to have a significant correlation with a good ranking. Using HTTPS (i.e. secured protocol) instead of HTTP seems to be somehow relevant for Google. This means that you should go for HTTPS for your website, if possible. Up until recently, enabling HTTPS always came with extra expanses, because valid HTTPS certificates were not free, especially if you needed to cover more than one subdomain. With the launch of Let’s Encrypt project, you can now get these certificates for free. You can use our Free SSL/TLS Certificate Generator to generate your website certificates.
Another interesting factor, which has been known for quite a long time and has been confirmed by the study, is the webpage load speed. Google prefers sites that are optimized for speed and usability, and Google declared that this is especially relevant for search results provided to mobile devices that are common to use low speed Internet connections. You can test your website page load speed using our new Website Speed Test. The page speed topic is quite comprehensive. It is not only about the web server being able to generate the content quickly, there are many more factors including the number of connections that the visitor’s browser has to made, and the structure of the webpage, using compression and minification algorithms, and much much more. Most of the factors are unknown to many web developers until they see their web speed analysis report.
The whole Backlinko study is worth reading. It is good to know how significant are the mentioned factors in order to decide which optimizations are economical to do and which are not. When a website is coded in some way, it might be very difficult to change it to please the search engine. However, if you know the factors before you start with your project, you can satisfy the requirements easily.