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The 6 Most Important Search Engine Ranking Factors of 2017

This is the time marketers typically look at statistics from the past year and determine how those findings could shape the coming months. Below, we’ll closely examine details from Searchmetrics’s “Media Ranking Factors Data Insights for Performing on Google,” plus what those specifics mean for you, your industry, and your colleagues.

People Under 30 Prefer Their Phones for Reading News

It’s probably not surprising that the majority of survey respondents under 30 hardly leave home without their smartphones. However, if your search engine strategy has largely overlooked mobile until now, that’s a mistake.

The survey discovered 70 percent of people from that demographic would rather use their smartphones than desktop computers when getting caught up on the news. Also, across all age groups, people want to click on news links and efficiently access news content.

This suggests that, in the year ahead, pop-up ads or poorly designed websites could limit overall speedy access to news and cause frustration. It’s necessary to come up with ways to help news sites remain profitable while being aware of what visitors expect. If the site experience doesn’t match users’ preferred access methods, they might not come back, and SEO rankings could fall, too.

External Links Can Help Sites Rise in the Rankings

An analysis of the total number of outside sites mentioned in a media URL’s landing page found that the average was 29.2 for a top 10 site. The number climbed slightly to 30.7 for websites in the top 20.

That means even though it might take more time to add those external sources, doing so causes search engines to view the content as more valuable. Also, don’t forget that additional material helps build credibility with readers. You can include original documents, well-known news sources, interviews from primary sources, and more to flesh out a story. These are all reasons why external links will undoubtedly remain prominent in 2018.

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Top-Ranking Pages Feature Highly Relevant Content

People associated with this recent report also pinpointed how when individuals perform online searches, they do so using media-related keywords. The sites that rank highest in Google are closely associated with those terms and get updated regularly. In the year ahead, you could waste time and money by publishing content and never thinking about it again.

Instead, it’s necessary to continuously track public content to monitor its performance. As needed, freshen it up with new details that fit current searches. Doing that should give new life to long-since published material.

If you publish content and never think about it again, you could be wasting time and money. Click To Tweet

Social Signals Have Positive Effects on Traffic Levels

Google does not factor in social signals—such as likes and tweets—when ranking a site. However, the results of this study indicate that the top 10 media sites on Google had thousands more social signals than other websites.

What does this mean for you? People still pay attention to content online that gets significant amounts of engagement. A smart strategy for 2018 is to figure out how to entice people to get immersed in your content. When that happens, your traffic levels should go up, too. People who use social networks usually like media URLs and spreading them through that sector of the online realm. Use this to your advantage by publishing share-worthy content that keeps people interested.

HTTPS Encryption Could Give You a Rankings Advantage

Google representatives confirm https encryption is one of the many factors that determine a site’s overall ranking. However, Searchmetrics’s study revealed only 12 percent of the top 10 media websites use https encryption. That statistic is just a quarter of the benchmark for other types of web content.

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The first thing to realize about that statistic is that most media websites don’t ask for personal details, so site developers may see encryption as unnecessary. However, since Google now uses https encryption to help calculate rankings, encrypting your media site may allow it to rank higher as a result. Consider the possible pros and cons of encrypting your media site in the coming year.

The Highest-Ranking Media URLs Use More Images Than Lower-Ranked Sites

This investigation of what makes media sites conquer Google’s algorithms also found a connection between the number of 200×200-pixel images used. Sites achieved better rankings and appeared on the first page of search results when using seven percent more pictures than websites that were less prominent in search results.

This statistic doesn’t mean 2018 is the year to haphazardly pack your material with images and see if your rankings go up. It’s still necessary to take a balanced approach. Be mindful of the type of content and decide whether it’s best to use images, or other media like videos.

These takeaways could guide many of your SEO-related decisions for 2018. As you mull them over, remember that although this is an essential study, some of your internal research about page performance might give contradicting evidence that relates to your audience. After making changes to your content, always observe it as the outcomes unfold.

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