SEMrush SEO Ranking Factors 2017 Report Cites Factors Google Denies As Ranking Signals

Nov 14, 2017 • 7:29 am | comments (27) by | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization


SEMrush, the popular SEO toolset company, have released their 2017 study on Google ranking factors, which they believe matter most to rank well in Google. This is the second year this company has released their data on this, after many other companies have been doing similar studies over the past several years.

SEMrush analyzed 600,000 keywords across all their datasets globally and looked at the first 100 search results for all those keywords. Their study saw these key findings, but keep in mind, some of these factors Google has denied they use as a ranking signal completely, such as web site traffic and web site user behavior metrics such as bounce rates, time on site, etc.

The SEMrush top factors are:

  • Direct website traffic is pegged as the top Google ranking factor in this study.
  • User behavior signals such as time on site, pages per session and bounce rate.
  • Backlink factors are extremely important for rankings.
  • Although the anchor text in backlinks are not as important as a ranking factor.
  • Each backlink factor does impact each other, so "your positions are unlikely to change if you boost the values for one factor but ignore others," the study says.
  • Branded keywords will always return more relevant but less popular websites on the first position
  • Domains with HTTPS tend to be in the top of the pack.
  • The on-page SEO factors such as the presence of keywords in title, meta description and body of the text proved to be significantly less influential than other factors the study added.
Here is a breakdown of the 17 factors they measured:

click for full size

It is interesting how they specifically go after signals that Google has repeatedly claimed not to be ranking signals, don't you think?

You can see the full study over here.

Also make sure to check the SMX East panel I ran named SEO ranking factors coverage just a few weeks ago.

Forum discussion at Twitter.

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