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SEMrush Ranking Factors: SEMrush Study with Unreleased Updates By Olga Andrienko

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From the SMX West Conference in San Jose, CA March 13-15, 2018. SESSION: SEO Ranking Factors In 2018: What's Important, What's Not. PRESENTATION: SEMrush Ranking Factors: SEMrush Study with Unreleased Updates - Given by Olga Andrienko, @olgandrienko - SEMrush, Head of Global Marketing. #SMX #11A

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SEMrush Ranking Factors: SEMrush Study with Unreleased Updates By Olga Andrienko

  1. 1. #SMX #11A @olgandrienko SEMrush study with unreleased updates SEMrush Ranking Factors
  2. 2. #SMX #11A @olgandrienko Study was released in 2017 17 controversial and talked about factors Beyond “traditional” SEO Completely new algorithm used for such studies
  3. 3. #SMX #11A @olgandrienko Biggest scope of data EVER taken for such study On-page factors Traffic data Referring domains Top 100 positions for 600,000 keywords
  4. 4. #SMX #11A @olgandrienko10 Keywords are grouped by search volume as the competition level per group is different. Keyword grouping
  5. 5. #SMX #11A @olgandrienko Search volume groups VERY HIGH HIGH MEDIUM LOW 10,001 and up 1,001 – 10,000 101 – 1,000 1 - 100
  6. 6. #SMX #11A @olgandrienko WHY MARKETERS NEED TO LOOK BEYOND OBVIOUS SEO FACTORS
  7. 7. #SMX #11A @olgandrienko Keyword in title 35% of pages ranking for high volume keywords don’t have the keyword in title.
  8. 8. #SMX #11A @olgandrienko H1 Presence Over 75% of pages have H1 tag, and in high volume keywords group over 85% of pages have H1. NEW!
  9. 9. #SMX #11A @olgandrienko Keyword in anchor Keyword existence in the anchor doesn’t have any significant importance for rankings. Even for high volume group only 8% of link anchors include the keyword.
  10. 10. #SMX #11A @olgandrienko Content
  11. 11. #SMX #11A @olgandrienko Presence of unordered lists Over 70% of all pages ranking in TOP-10 have unordered list in the content structure. NEW!
  12. 12. #SMX #11A @olgandrienko Content length Content within TOP-3 is 45% longer than content for 20th position in ALL search volume groups.
  13. 13. #SMX #11A @olgandrienko Content for long-tail keywords is 20% longer than for short-head Pages ranking for short head and long tail keywords are NOT the same ones.
  14. 14. #SMX #11A @olgandrienko MAKE SURE YOUR CONTENT LENGTH IS SUFFICIENT. MAKE SURE IT’S RELEVANT AND MATCHES USER INTENT.
  15. 15. #SMX #11A @olgandrienko CHECK YOUR COMPETITION AND MAKE SURE THEY DON’T OUTPERFORM IN TERMS OF LENGTH / AMOUNT OF WORDS – BUT KEEP IT RELEVANT.
  16. 16. #SMX #11A @olgandrienko BEYOND ORDINARY FACTORSTHAT MATTER
  17. 17. #SMX #11A @olgandrienko Website Security (HTTPS)
  18. 18. #SMX #11A @olgandrienko Website security (HTTPS) 65% of domains inTOP-3 for high volume keywords are already secure.
  19. 19. #SMX #11A @olgandrienko MOVE TO HTTPS. EVEN IF IT’S NOT A MASSIVE FACTOR, IT WILL HELP WITH CONVERSIONS & BUILD TRUST.
  20. 20. #SMX #11A @olgandrienko Website traffic
  21. 21. #SMX #11A @olgandrienko Total website visits Number of visits matters for high volume keywords. For lower volume keyword the impact is insignificant.
  22. 22. #SMX #11A @olgandrienko Direct website visits Out of all traffic sources only direct traffic has significant impact.
  23. 23. #SMX #11A @olgandrienko Does search traffic impact rankings? Neither organic nor paid traffic from Google had any significant impact on positions in search.
  24. 24. #SMX #11A @olgandrienko User signals
  25. 25. #SMX #11A @olgandrienko Bounce rate increases after TOP-3 Possible reasons: content is less relevant, site loads slower, there is more trust towards the domains on first positions.
  26. 26. #SMX #11A @olgandrienko CHECK PAGES WITH HIGHER BOUNCE RATE AND KEYWORDS THESE PAGES RANK FOR. MAKE THE CONTENT MORE RELEVANT TO REDUCE THE BOUNCE RATE.
  27. 27. #SMX #11A @olgandrienko Pages per session Visitors coming to the website from search visit 3 – 3.5 pages per one session.
  28. 28. #SMX #11A @olgandrienko USER SIGNALS MIGHT BE TOO NOISY FOR GOOGLE, BUT THEY INDICATE THAT USERS ARE NOT ENGAGING WITH YOUR SITE AS THEY SHOULD BE!
  29. 29. #SMX #11A @olgandrienko Load Speed
  30. 30. #SMX #11A @olgandrienko Load Speed: PageSpeed Insights Pages inTOP-10 for any keyword group have a PageSpeed Insights score of 50 and up. NEW!
  31. 31. #SMX #11A @olgandrienko Which load speed exactly? Image source: https://developers.google.com/web/fundamentals/performance/user-centric-performance-metrics
  32. 32. #SMX #11A @olgandrienko Load Speed: Response Time (TTFB) Time to first byte varies from 0,4 to 0,5 sec inTOP-20. The difference is insignificant. NEW!
  33. 33. #SMX #11A @olgandrienko What does Google say? TTFB is irrelevant for rankings
  34. 34. #SMX #11A @olgandrienko Load Speed: Time to First Meaningful Paint Pages ranking TOP-10 for high volume keywords load to first meaningful paint in less than 4 seconds. NEW!
  35. 35. #SMX #11A @olgandrienko Load Speed: Time to Interactive Pages ranking TOP-10 for high volume keywords load to first meaningful paint in less than 7 seconds. NEW!
  36. 36. #SMX #11A @olgandrienko LOAD SPEED MATTERS. IT’S NOT THE MATTER OF "HOW FAST” OR “FAST ENOUGH”. IT HAS TO BE FASTER.
  37. 37. #SMX #11A @olgandrienko Referring domains
  38. 38. #SMX #11A @olgandrienko Number of referring domains The 1st position has almost twice as much referring domains as pages on 10th position (~10K difference)
  39. 39. #SMX #11A @olgandrienko BACKLINKS STILL MATTER FOR SEO. PROPER HIGH QUALITY LINK BUILDING WILL HELP YOU RANK HIGHER FOR KEYWORDS WITH VOLUME OF LESS THAN 10,000 QUERIES
  40. 40. #SMX #11A @olgandrienko SO, WHICH FACTOR IS THE MOST IMPORTANT? New approach
  41. 41. #SMX #11A @olgandrienko Forget about correlation! CORRELATION VS. IMPORTANCE
  42. 42. #SMX #11A @olgandrienko Let’s get nerdy: A little bit about Random Forest The Pairwise Approach: Compared factors for all possible pairs of URLs Random Forest: 2/3 of data is randomly distributed to grow millions of decision trees Random Forest: 1/3 of data is used for voting & estimating attribute’s (factor’s) importance All factors are analyzed at the same time!
  43. 43. #SMX #11A @olgandrienko Importance of 17 factors* How Google differentiates who to rank among websites that did essential SEO right. *to be updated in the next edition
  44. 44. #SMX #11A @olgandrienko #SMXInsights Backlinks still matter for SEO Page speed is important Make sure your content is the best in your niche PR efforts will enhance your SEO #SMXInsights
  45. 45. #SMX #11A @olgandrienko THANK YOU & SEE YOU AT THE NEXT #SMX Stay tuned for the updates! -> semrush.com/ranking-factors OLGA ANDRIENKO HEAD OF GLOBAL MARKETING @OLGANDRIENKO O.ANDRIENKO@SEMRUSH.COM

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