Most Important Factors for SEO Ranking

You may know the ins and outs of what is needed to rank in search engines, but like many people, you may be wondering what factors are more important than others? The results will definitely surprise you. Let’s jump into the most important factors for SEO ranking.

Disclaimer: These results are tested and proven by SEMrush’s studies that you can find here.

1.) Direct Website Visits
Coming in at number one is direct website visits. Direct website visits consist of people landing on your site without clicking a link or coming from another website. This makes complete sense when it comes to higher ranking because the more people that directly search for and visit your site, the more Google sees your website as an authoritative source in your niche. Which in turn will quickly boost your site up the rankings.
2.) Time Spent on Site

Want more traffic? Create better content. Keeping your visitors on your site for as long as possible is one of the most important factors for SEO ranking. The longer your visitors stay on your site, the more search engines will take notice and the higher you’ll climb in search rankings.

How does that work? Well, when your content is up to par, your visitors will spend more time reading and taking in what you’re putting out. Google wants and rewards the sites that know how to retain their visitors attention. So don’t just focus on pumping out content, focus on the quality. 

3.) Pages Per Session
Pages per session goes hand in hand with time spent on site (factor number 2). You may be wondering what pages per session is. To put it simply, it’s the number of pages visited on your site by one visitor. This SEO metric shows how many pages a user visited in one session on your website. 

So by putting factors two and three together, you can see how these work off each other. The more pages per session you get from your visitors is going to make the time spent on your site a lot longer. Now when you get the two working together, this is where the magic happens and where you’ll find yourself getting boosted up the search rankings. So, remember quality over quantity.

4.) Bounce Rate
Many people don’t fully understand what a bounce rate is and what goes into it. As put by Google, a bounce rate is when someone opens a single page on your website and leaves without triggering another request, like clicking a link or going to another page. Obviously, you want a low bounce rate. The lower the amount of people quickly bouncing off your site, the better. As you can see, this also ties into the first three factors. So, if you haven’t realized by now, keeping users on your site is huge for SEO. 
5.) Total Referring Domains
Many people confuse referring domains with backlinks as they seem eerily similar. But to be clear, they are different and both are extremely important for SEO and factor heavily into your ranking.
What is a referring domain? A referring domain is a domain that backlinks are coming from. Still confused? Ahrefs sets a really good example here. All in all, the more referring domains you have, the better you’re going to rank. These referring domains will give you backlinks, which brings us to the next most important factor for SEO ranking.
6.) Total Backlinks
Backlinks are vital for SEO. Not only for ranking but for driving high quality traffic and gaining new subscribers from other websites. Be careful though, the quality of the backlinks will make or break your ranking efforts. Many people understand how important backlinks are. Because of this, it leads to people going to certain measures just to gain backlinks in hopes of it increasing traffic. This can have very bad implications on your SEO and ranking.
Make sure your backlinks are coming from relevant websites in your niche. The larger audience and authority they have, the stronger the backlink. It’s that simple.
7.) Content Length
The longer the content the better. Well, what’s considered long? If you’re just starting out on your blogging or content journey, a good start would be to aim for 1,000+ words a post. Eventually, you’ll want to start aiming for 1,900+ words a post because studies show the average content length for page one results is around 1,900 words. So, if you really want to play it safe and aim for the first page, take the time and get your posts over 2,000 words. 
Getting your posts to 2,000+ words won’t be the only thing you need to do with your content. You also need to make sure you’re doing the little SEO things to make sure those 2,000 words are SEO friendly. Make sure the content is not messy, add a table of contents, use headlines to divide up your sections, make sure your sentences and spelling are clean and make sense, etc.
8.) Website Security
This one should be pretty self explanatory. If your site is not secure and flagged as potentially dangerous, you can’t expect search engines to allow your site to rank at all. If your site for whatever reason is not secure, it should be fairly easy to fix. Most hosting services provide free safe and secure hosting so you don’t have to worry about purchasing an SSL certificate.
What About Keywords?

These are the eight most important factors for SEO ranking (in order). You may be questioning, where do keywords come into play? While keywords are obviously important, when it comes to ranking, they’re not even in the top 10! This surprises so many. Below is the full list of the top 17 SEO ranking factors in order put together by SEMrush.

As you can see everything keyword related is towards the bottom of the list of importance. This does not mean to disregard keywords. They’re quite obviously important. But, after doing your keyword research and finding the right keywords for your content, focus heavily on the rest of what’s important.

Tying it All Together

All of these factors tie together in one form or the other, learning how to put all the pieces together is when you’ll see your SEO and search rank skyrocket, therefore bringing you the free traffic you desire! 

Figuring out how to tie everything together while keeping things organized and analyzing your SEO and rank data can be tough on your own. To get the most out of what you’re trying to accomplish with your organic reach, using one of these highly regarded SEO platforms will give you all the data and tools you need to hone in on those statistics and improve your SEO.

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