1. Backlinks are still very important
The number of backlinks to a page was found to have the greatest amount of correlation with the ranking of the page. A high diversity in the site linking back was also found to be better.
2. Link authority still matters
The ranking of pages was also seen to have a strong connection with the authority of the domain. The overall authority of the page was less important than the website’s authority.
3. In-depth content is better
Content that was a lot more comprehensive and relevant to the keyword was found to rank better most of the time. Google’s AI is now capable of understanding the topic based on other information and not just the keyword alone and can, therefore, gauge the depth of your content.
4. Long content is better than short content
Pages with longer content was seen to rank better than those with short content. There is no telling whether this is because of Google’s algorithm or because long content generates more shares on social media.
5. Using HTTPS matters
Use of HTTPS was seen to have a marginal impact on site ranking and Google even referred to HTTPS as a ranking signal. Switching to HTTPS has many technical issues so don’t switch solely based on SEO but if you’re launching a new site use HTTPS from the start.
6. Schema Markup doesn’t affect rankings
Although you might expect the use of Schema Markups to help with ranking, the tests showed that there was no correlation between their use and the ranking of pages. This is something that may, however, change in the future according to John Mueller from Google.
7. Shorter URLs rank better
A short URL is much easier for Google to understand and a long URL means the page is several clicks away from the Homepage and this means that the page doesn’t hold a significant level of authority.
8. Images matter
Pages which had images were seen to rank higher and this could be due to the fact that image rich content tends to generate a greater number of total views and shares. However, it was also noted that the total number of images had no impact. This means adding more images may not mean higher ranking.
9. Using an exact keyword in title tag matters (a little)
In the beginning having keywords in the title was always expected to have a correlation with ranking. However, since Google’s move to LSI, having a keyword in the title seems to have a less significant impact on ranking.
10. Speed matters
A strong relation was seen between the speed of the site that a page was on and the ranking of the page on Google.
11. A page’s link authority matters
Backlink quality is just as important as backlink quantity which means it’s important to have the right sites linking back to you.
12. Anchor text
Having exact match anchor text still matters in Google rankings
13. Bounce rate
Websites with a low bounce rate were seen to have higher rankings.