Google has been updating its ranking algorithms over the past few months. And it might be tough for marketers and search engine specialists to determine which factors do have a real impact and which one do not. In fact, some of them will slightly impact your ranking whereas others will drastically rise or lower your rankings.

This list is here to provide you all the informations you need to focus your efforts on the things that really matter for your rankings.

Quality Content

As you may already know, content is a key ranking factor. Google bots are measuring how qualitative your content is and are deeply penalizing duplicate content. It is about how your visitors will be satisfied by what they have found. Qualitative content is thus more valuable than ever and the length of this one is also taken into account. You have to check several factors:

  • Sitespeed
  • Keyword position in title
  • Length of URL
  • H1 (Sub-Title)
  • H2 (Sub-Title)
  • Description
  • Video integration
  • Keyword in title
  • Keyword in URL
  • Flash
  • Keyword in domain

Social signals

Social signal has been a hot topic on the SEO sphere recently. Although Matt Cutts has stated that even if they are indexing social media pages like others, they will not give any higher importance to social media actions like shares, tweets or likes. But it seems not to be the case anymore since Google has also its own social network. Google regards social signals as trusted votes for all domains so it is necessary to focus on that factors too even if the impact is lower.
The main factors are:

  • Google+
  • Facebook shares
  • Facebook totals
  • Facebook comments
  • Pinterest
  • Facebook likes
  • Twitter tweets

On-page Optimizations

On-page optimization refers to all the setups you can do on-page in order to make your website better crawlable for Google bots and more relevant in terms of content. It includes:

  • Relevant terms
  • Proof terms
  • Number of internal links
  • Keywords in body
  • HTML length
  • Text character length
  • Word count
  • Keywords in external links
  • Sentence count
  • Keywords in internal links
  • Number of external links
  • Image count
  • Keyword in H2
  • Flesch readability
  • Title character length
  • Flash
  • AdSense blocks
  • Keyword in H1
  • Adlinks
  • AdSense
  • Adlinks without AdSense
  • TF IDF

Link building

Link building is still an important ranking factor in 2015. Old strategies about getting fake links from low quality websites are highly penalized. Link building is about qualitative and trustable connections. This is why you should link only to authority websites or websites you trust. This link building strategy is about writing qualitative content on niche sites and posting back mentions of your activity or “citations”.
In 2015, it seems like Google is giving less importance to links with exact-match keywords. You need to focus on:

  • Total backlinks
  • SEO visibility of backlinking URL
  • New backlinks
  • Percentage of backlinks with stopword
  • Percentage of backlinks rel=nofollow
  • Percentage of backlinks with keyword
  • Backlinks from new domains
  • Word count in anchor text
  • Percentage of backlinks from same country
  • Percentage of backlinks with anchor=domain.tld

User signals

User experience is also an important ranking factor. It determines the way your visitors see your website and will impact your SEO. There is three factors you should focus on:

  • Click-Through Rate
  • Bounce rate
  • Time on Site

With Google Analytics, you can easily find all these features and find ways to solve it.

Mobile

Mobile compatibility is the newest ranking factor you need to consider. You can find all the informations needed in our article about the mobile-friendly update.