One of the things that they found was that it’s unique domains linking. So if you have one site with a site-wide, a bunch of links, as we said many times, that’s not nearly as important as having links from many sites. And then of course to round that off, it’s links from the highest quality sites that tend to help you the most.
Alright. Number two on the list is the authority of your site. The authority of your site is very highly correlated with rankings and interestingly the authority of the site itself was more important than the authority of any given page. We have seen some other studies that show page authority is also an important factor, but the overall authority of the site comes in at number two here, which of course is highly correlated with finding number one because the number one way you can raise your authority seems to be to have more backlinks to your site, good backlinks to give it a boost.
Number three on the list is that content matters. Focused, relevant, comprehensive content correlated with higher rankings. The finding was that in-depth content tended to work better than shallow content. No surprise there. One of the things that was a little interesting is that this content tended to be, that the average page one result, had 1,890 words. So this is a very long content. Now does that mean you should be writing every single piece of content with 1,890 words? I don’t think that’s what they’re saying, but the real key here is that you really need to make sure the content is relevant, useful, comprehensive and that alone is going to make your content longer to just be able to deliver that.
Number four, speed matters, Chad as well. Pages that loaded faster were found to be strongly correlated with higher rankings. So, if you’re on that super cheap three dollar hosting plan, you need to make a connection and realize that can be hurting your SEO and your rankings because the speed of your website does matter.
5. Shorter URLs
Number five is that shorter URLs ranks better. So that’s an interesting one. I think of course that has to do with if you have a really long blog post title, you probably are watering down some of those key words that you might want to get into that URL, but that was the finding, that shorter URLs rank better.
Alright. Related to that, HTTPS also a factor here. Sites with HTTPS were correlated with higher ranking. Wasn’t a huge finding. They wanted to emphasize, Chad that the correlation was not so big that you should scrap everything and prioritize this immediately, but it should be somewhere on your long term road map because who has definitely been talking about it and they do have data showing there’s correlation.
7. Bounce Rates
Yeah, so the last one here, number seven, is that bounce rates…lower bounce rates correlated with better rankings. So that’s again no surprise. We know that engagement stats are something that are related rankings but they found that here in number seven.
8. Anchor Text
And the last one officially on the list, Chad is…it says here “last but not least” and that’s really true is that anchor text is still a huge factor. Exact match anchor text was highly correlated with better rankings and this finding of course is very controversial and difficult for people because it leaves them to believe, “Okay I want to make sure I get as much exact anchor on my money key words as possible.” And the data supports that that will drive your rankings but as we also know from extensive coverage of Penguin, it is Penguin Awareness Month here at HubShout, you can overstep those bounds and nobody really knows where the line from a natural profile anchor text to a unnatural profile really is other than Google. So, while this will drive rankings, it also sets you up as a potentially extremely risky practice, one that will algorithmically catch you through a Penguin refresh which we think will soon be real time. And also in any sort of manual review, sticks out like a sore thumb and can come back repeatedly if you’ve had a problem and of had to ask Google through reinclusion request. So, this one is correlated, Chad, but it’s sort of “use with caution” and understand the risks associated with it.