Top ranking features for 2017

which factors of optimisation are most important for ranking?

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It’s that annual time of year where we look at the results on some of the areas and concepts that give the best ranking features to a website. These are very useful because changes may occur from year to year and sometimes even subtle changes can make the most positive impact on website rankings, so read on to find out more.

(The results have come from analysis of different studies by (e.g. Searchmetrics or SEO PowerSuite to give common, uniform themes and patterns which make up the results.)


It is no surprise that content is a highly placed ranking feature. We have all heard the usual cheesy clique phrases like ‘content is king.’ Often good quality is not enough – people need to go one step further. This was evident in the study results because it was found that a number of things were important within content overall.

* The length of your content matters. It wouldn’t be sensible to say there needs to be a target amount of words because different posts naturally vary in length anyway. That said, there is probably a range of words which all content should be between. The more the better in most cases.

* The inclusion of keywords remains vitally important both in headings and the body of text content. Ensure keywords appear in titles as close the start as possible. Make use of ‘h tags’ (correctly!) to optimise and utilise keywords. Remember not to use this as a spamming exercise of keyword inclusion however, or you will likely do more harm than good.

Backlink presence

Backlinks and related metrics remain important to classing a website as authoritative and giving such sites the rankings boost they deserve. Things to look for within this to help your site include:

* It’s link score. Google will favour websites with sound backlink profiles. A way this is mathematically arrived at is looking at the page rank of the individual page and the total amount of links on the site. Many people think that having several pages from one good domain is a good shortcut. In reality Google is only likely to count this once, so don’t rely on this. Instead have as many links possible from lots of highly ranking websites for maximum impact.

* The use of anchor text is also important. Backlink anchors explain to search engines what your website pages are about and thus what they should be ranking for. There are no hard and fast rules for successful anchor texts so it makes successful optimisation difficult. Generally anchor text should try to be as natural as possible. Studies have shown that ‘branded text’ tends to give the best results.

The speed of pages

It is common sense that the faster your website pages load the better. If a user spends ages trying to access your website it is highly likely to turn them away. In addition higher page load times are likely to lead to higher bounce rates and lower overall conversions. Generally speaking websites should load within 3 seconds or less. Google have previously stated that page speed is a ranking factor and its inclusion in the 2017 ranking study shows its importance once again.

Mobile friendliness

Most of you should be well aware of the mobile friendliness concept by now with many having made the adjustments to conform to this. There are still a surprising number of websites that haven’t however, and these risk being left behind. Google will push and expand this principle more and more so keep up with them to achieve best results.

Everyone will have heard of the phrase ‘a little goes a long way.’ If you have a website, you owe it to yourself to tackle some of these issues to stand the best chance of your site receiving the rankings boost it needs to appear with (or even better than) your competitors.

To talk to us about how we can optimise your website, find our details in the contact section.

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