Recently a German company Sistrix analyzed the web page elements of top ranked pages in Google to find out which elements lead to high Google rankings. They analyzed 10,000 random keywords, and for every keyword, they analyzed the top 100 Google search results.
Sistrix analyzed the influence of the following web page elements: web page title, web page body, headline tags, bold and strong tags, image file names, images alt text, domain name, path, parameters, file size, inbound links and PageRank.
Here is what they found out:
1) Keywords in the title tag seem to be important for high rankings on Google. It is also important that the targeted keywords are mentioned in the body tag, although the title tag seems to be more important.
Note: This element is the MOST important factor in top SEO for years now, and Sistrix research just proved the same.
2) Keywords in H2-H6 headline tags seem to have an influence on the rankings while keywords in H1 headline tags don’t seem to have an effect.
Note: There was a time when the tag H1 had more influence than H2 or H3, but it seems as more and more webmasters started using H1 and spammed the results, Google rightly thought it fit to reduce the impact it has now in their rankings.
3) Using keywords in bold or strong tags seems to have a slight effect on the top rankings.
Note: A known feature. However don’t over do it. Bold only if it looks good and required.
4) Web pages that used the keywords in image file names often had higher rankings. The same seems to be true for keywords in image alt attributes.
Note: Keyword in alt tag was known, but using the keywords in image file names is something new. Great idea, and it does not cost much. Do it henceforth.
5) Websites that use the targeted keywords in the domain name often had high rankings. It might be that these sites get many inbound links with the domain name as the link text.
Note: A very debatable topic. I did a search on web marketing and found 50% of the top ten website did not have web marketing in the domain name. Point to be noted is that 50% had. Similarly if you ask 10 webmasters, some will say it has an impact, and some won’t agree on it. This is a never ending debate. However it’s “better” to have the keyword in the domain, but it should not look like a spammy domain. I have written an article on how to search a great domain name. I hope it will help you to get a good domain if you are just starting out.
Note the second point “It might be that these sites get many inbound links with the domain name as the link text.” That is the key and may be reason why we see domain with keywords top the search engine rankings.
6) Keywords in the file path don’t seem to have a positive effect on the Google rankings of the analyzed web sites. Web pages that use very few parameters in the URL (?id=123, etc.) or no parameters at all tend to get higher rankings than URLs that contain many parameters.
Note: I don’t agree with this research. One simple explanation is that Google bolds the keyword searched if its there in the URL path. If no importance was given to them they wouldn’t have bothered to bold and attract eyeballs on those listings. In fact it’s better to have a path like /keyword.html rather than ?id=123, as the keywords in the path will get bold and the site is likely to be visited. Parameters can be less, but it’s no harm to keep the keyword in the path. In fact many webmasters are re-writing their old page paths to reflect a static and keyword in the path.
7) The file size doesn’t seem to influence the ranking of a web page on Google although smaller sites tend to have slightly higher rankings.
Note: File size does matter in SEO. Google Adwords does take into account landing page load time (if file size is more, the load time increases) while evaluating the Quality Score of a keyword. In that case do you think Google will ignore the file size in their organic listings?
8 ) Its no surprise that the number of inbound links and the PageRank had a large influence on the page rankings on Google. The top result on Google has usually about four times as many links as result number 11.
Note: A very very well known factor. Get as many inbound links as possible. Read my article on link building tips and ideas.
Do you know any other elements that lead to high Google page rankings?