Many of us don't have the time to keep up with the latest trends in the SEO world. Fortunately, someone else recently took the time to make sense of the topsy-turvy SEO landscape. Brian Dean and a team of data partners at Backlinko recently analyzed 1 million Google results to see which ranking factors are important for SEO in 2016. Here’s what they found:
1. Backlinks are still (very) important
This study found that you need backlinks from a bunch of different domains. In other words, if you get 100 backlinks from the same domain, it’s not going to blast you to the top of Google. But if you get 100 backlinks from 100 different domains, you’re in business, especially if those are contextual mentions from authoritative media outlets.
2. More bounces equal lower rankings
Using data from SimilarWeb, the study found that sites with a high bounce rate tended to rank lower in Google than sites with a low bounce rate. After all, if people bounce off of your site like a trampoline, it sends a pretty clear message to Google that people don’t like reading your content. So it makes sense that Google may downrank sites with lots of bounces.
3. Long-form content ranks better (surprise, surprise)
“People online have short attention spans.” How many times have you read that? Yes, there are certain people who live and breathe tl;dr (i.e. too long, didn’t read). But you don't want to architect your content marketing strategy around this group. According to Dean’s data, the average first page results in Google boasts 1,890 words, other studies (by BuzzSumo) found that longer content tended to get more shares on social media.
4. In-depth, focused content outperforms content about 10 different topics
They discovered that content rated by software as “topically relevant” ranked above content with a low content score. It means that when you write about something, cover one topic in-depth.
5. Site speed makes a difference
Google has emphasized that they use site speed as part of their algorithm. How can you make your site load faster? Ask your developers, they'll know what programs to use.
In 2016 new data will continue to shed light on which SEO factors your business should focus on. The most important thing you can do is to keep up with the research and always keep the website visitor in mind.
(BuzzSumo, Backlinko, Entrepeneur, Google)