I use a software called SemRush when working with my business partners on Search Engine Optimization projects. They just did a survey and revealed some interesting new insights into how Google rates one website higher than another.

The main goal of the study was to identify any consistent patterns in the ranking mechanism within 12 factors. Together with key takeaways and practical advice, these insights will help you to make better data-driven decisions in your SEO. You can review the whole study here.

These are their key takeaways:

  • The number of website visits seems to be the most important page-ranking factor. Websites with higher authority consequently gain more traffic, and as a result, have a better chance of getting into the top.
  • User behaviour signals such as time on site, pages per session and bounce rate indicate the authority of a website and influence its rankings as well.
  • A website’s number of referring domains can also indicate its authority, which together with the previously mentioned factors influences a website’s rankings
  • Google states that website security, which is indicated by HTTP implementation, is important, but has little influence as a ranking factor. The results we received prove this statement.
  • Though it is important for various reasons, having an HTTPS version of your website doesn’t drastically change its ranking position
  • The influence of the on-page SEO factors proved to be insignificant, so their status as major ranking factors can be dismissed.