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SEO is a like a clock, always shifting, and kept true by machinery fathomless to the general population. Even people who make a living learning these intricate machinations are, at best, constantly battling to stay relevant. The hidden algorithms utilized by search engines like Google keep us on our toes, demanding constant vigilance and supreme dedication to the craft. That’s what makes search engine optimization a full time job…one best handled by experts.
Searchmetrics, a company dedicated to peeling back the curtain, has released a study that does much to answer the question: what factors are relevant for a good ranking on Google? The company has performed exhaustive research on, “10,000 selected top-keywords, 300,000 websites and millions of links, shares and tweets.” Let’s break down a couple of their most important findings.
First, we want to cover the old guard: backlinks. Despite a lot of worry around the industry, backlinks remain incredibly relevant. In fact, the number of backlinks remains the second most important factor overall. It’s not just about quantity though. The study shows that links with stop words and nofollow are also significant factors in a page’s ranking.
If backlinks is second overall, what’s number one? It may come as a surprise if you haven’t been steeping yourself in industry news of late. It turns out; social media is far and away the most important part of any SEO strategy today. Specifically, your page being shared on Facebook has the largest impact of any single factor. Following shares are comments, likes, and Tweets.
What does this mean for the industry? Businesses that have been ignoring social media are going to find themselves slipping in the ranks, if they haven’t already slipped. This study makes it clear that links ARE NOT ENOUGH. To remain competitive in today’s market, you MUST become heavily involved in social media.
This trend will ultimately make the internet a better place. With social media shares ruling the roost, you’ll see far less spammy content and pages of useless links. Wikimotive has long upheld that content is king, and this has never been more true. To succeed in SEO today, you need to succeed in social media, and to succeed in social media, you need to produce quality content that engages your audience so that your shares (and likes, favorites, Tweets, reTweets, etc.) organically grow.