A new Google search rankings factors study released by Searchmetrics today shares that while content relevance is gaining in importance with Google, backlinks are a declining ranking signal. The full study can be downloaded over here, but here are the key takeaways from the study:
Earlier this year, Stone Temple Consulting released a study saying that links remain incredibly important in Google’s ranking algorithm. Searchmetrics agrees but says that importance has dropped.
“Google revealed last year that it is turning to sophisticated AI and machine-learning techniques such as RankBrain to help it better understand intent behind the words searchers enter, and to make its results more relevant,” Marcus Tober says. “User signals such as how often certain results are clicked and how long people spend on a page help the search engine get a sense of how well searchers’ questions are answered. That allows it to continually refine and improve relevance.”
Here is the correlation report broken down by these factors; content, user signals, technical, user experience, social signals and backlinks. The arrow up means it has increased in value, arrow right is the same value, arrow down is down and * is a new feature they just started calculating.
The study is very comprehensive and goes into a ton of details; you can download it over here.
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