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2017 SEO Ranking Factors

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2017 SEO Ranking Factors

Google made massive strides in the last year using machine learning to improve ranking and identification of spam. Google refines its ranking factors and is getting better and better at surfacing quality search results. Because of this rapid pace of improvement, what was once an important part of SEO just last year are no longer factors, with new signals like HTTPS getting prominence. A recent large-scale study made some interesting discoveries that affect the ranking factors this year:


The study found that 65% of sites that occupied the top three positions for Google results are secure. Considering that HTTPS was only found on 18% of websites two years ago, it is a massive change. Google’s insistence on HTTPS has radically improved the security of most websites.


The study also found that the length of the article correlated with how it ranked. Content that ranked in the same top three positions as above was 45% longer than content ranked below. Longer content ranking higher shows that Google considers in-depth coverage of a topic to be higher quality.


An interesting find from the study was that 35% of the pages ranking did not have the keyword or keyword phrase in the title. Another bit of evidence that shows good Google is getting at understanding content.


One rather unusual observation was that direct traffic to a page affected the ranking of the page. However, there was a change only for high-volume keyword phrases.

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