Google changes its rules so often, it’s a full-time job keeping on top of them. Luckily, though, Moz has just announced its biannual ‘Search Engine Ranking Correlation Study and Expert Study’, where it basically identifies the factors associated with higher rankings. As ever with these reports, it was an eye-opener; particularly because some of the findings contradict a lot of what I’ve heard in the SEO world. This is putting it in a nutshell, but here are ten key takeaways from the 2015 report:
- There were continued lower correlations between on-page keyword use and rankings – matching user intent is the way forward.
- Using HTTPS has a very low positive correlation.
- Many SEO experts have said links no longer carry weight, but Moz’s data showed some high correlations between Google rankings and the amount of links to a certain page.
- While there’s still a “decent correlation” between exact-match domain names, this is more likely to be down to anchor text, keyword usage and other signals.
- The type of domain extension (whether you have .com or .org, etc.) makes little difference.
- There was a “reasonably strong correlation to rankings” when it came to the overall links to a website’s root and subdomain.
- There was a clear positive connection between anchor text and high-ranking results, as well as the number of unique-referring domains.
- There was a positive correlation between social shares and rankings.
- The time until expiry date of domain registration was “moderately correlated” with higher rankings.
- Web pages with higher page views, lower bounce rates and better time-on-site metrics were linked with higher rankings.
It’s great that Moz has gathered this collective wisdom of SEO experts and laid it out for us all to take in. Have you noticed any other correlations that weren’t included in the report?