This blog post is part of a series covering Google search results ranking factors. In the last three entries of the series I talked about content, user experience, and technical factors affecting search ranking. In this post, let’s take a look at the (search engine optimization) SEO Backlinks factors that affect search results ranking.
5 major Google ranking factors:
Google’s top 10 search results MATTER!
In a 2013 study, Chitika found that 91.5% of traffic went to websites on page 1 of Google search results. Page 2 had 3.8% of the traffic while page 3 had 1.1%. Pages 4-10 each get less than .4%.
In fact, the first website listed in the Google search results can expect on average to get 32.5% of the traffic. The results for the top 10 are as follows:
We always knew that ranking highly in Google matters. Now we know how much it matters. For example, if we rank number 1 for a keyword with a monthly search volume of 1000 searches we can expect 325 visitors per month. On the other hand, if we rank 10th, we can expect traffic of just 24 visitors per month.
What makes a website rank in the top 10 Google search results?
It’s one of those mysterious life questions… Luckily we can thank the good folks over at Searchmetrics.com. For 2015, the folks there analyzed the top 30 search results for a set of 10,000 keywords.
By reverse engineering the Google search results the result is a list of the ranking factors. This list is not complete. I’ve only broken down the major components.
SEO Backlinks Ranking Factor
Definition: A referring domain is a single, unique website that is linking back to your website. In other words CNN.com, time.com, etc. that links back to your website.
Website that rank in the top 10 search results have on average 3,509 referring domains.
Websites that rank in the top 30 have on average 1,138 referring domains.
This is the most important SEO Backlinks ranking factor. The more domains link back to you the better.
Definition: a backlink is a link on somebody else’s website that links back to your website. It could be to your homepage or a particular blog post.
Websites that rank in the top 10 Google’s search results average 3,509 backlinks.
Websites that rank in the top 30 average 1,138 backlinks.
Backlink count is the second most important SEO Backlinks ranking factor. The difference between the referring domain count and backlink is as follow. CNN.com may have 100 articles that link to you. So that’s one referring domain, and 100 backlinks.
Random Factor: Backlink Age
Definition: the age of the backlinks that are pointing to your website.
The top 10 Google search results have backlinks that were on average 470 days old.
While the top 30 had backlinks that were on average 389 days old.
This is another ranking signal for SEO Backlinks. The older your backlinks the better. This signals to Google that you’ve been around for a while. It also signals that your website is reputable enough for those links to still exist.
SEO Backlinks are great but… Where do I get backlinks?
There is no way to shortcut the backlink process. It just takes time and hard work. There are some shady (aka blackhat) techniques but they are not worth the risk. Google will eventually catch on. And when they do, there is a very good chance your website will be severely penalized. The short term benefit is not worth the long term risk.
The best way to get backlinks is to publish statistics or original research that other people will reference in their own research. This is exactly what Searchmetrics did with the report that this blog post is based on. Once you have your research done publish it and share it on social media. If you are active on social media and have a decent following it will get picked up. Especially if your data points out interesting insights.
Another way to increase your backlinks is to work with guest bloggers. In this way, they contribute knowledge and insight to your blog while getting their name out while you get them exposure. Your blog post should then link to the blogger’s website while theirs in turns links back to your article.
As Google continues its mission to organize the world’s largest source of information it’s important for us to learn what Google views as important. That way, we can do our part and contribute high quality content. While in turn helping generate traffic for our business or cause.
So, go out there and generate interesting content. How? Think about the most common questions your customers ask you. Think about what your customers would love to learn about. Commission a study, get some data, statistics, and become the source that others reference.