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Semrush, the creator of this powerful search tool, has released its study of SEO Positioning Factors 2017 (Ranking Factors SEMrush Study 2.0 – 2017). With this information analyzed on the data collected from 2017, here we intend to make the guide of the factors to be considered in your SEO strategy for 2018 considering these positioning factors. Here we go!

It all started with a very revealing image that put on Twitter Search Engine RoundTable, a great news medium about search:

IMG 1 - SEO ranking factor 2018

This image shows us the main factors that were generating better positioning in 2017, according to the data collected and analyzed by SEMrush. In this table, we are told that the navigation and UX rocks!

Having a user-friendly site has always been the priority in SXO and it seems that now Google is fully tuned to measure and rank according to this.

Literally, it lists the following factors:

Direct website visits: Direct Traffic

This factor caused me some noise, because it refers to direct traffic, either by the URL from the navigation bar or bookmarks. Reviewing the study, I observed that SEMrush highlights the importance of organic traffic as an obvious and default SEO positioning factor, since then, it proceeded to exclude traffic sources such as social, paid, referral, etc., until there was a pattern, or rather, a correlation, between the volume of direct traffic and positions in Google. Here the graphs of the study:

IMG 2 - SEO ranking factor 2018

IMG 3 - SEO ranking factor 2018















In the graphs that you see above, we can appreciate how is the direct traffic (the second graph) which is directly related to the best positions of Google. It is the X (horizontal) axis of these planes that represents the position in Google, while the Y-axis (vertical) is the volume of traffic.

What conclusion could we draw from this data?

We must continue to focus on branding, not everything is a performance! Direct traffic, which is usually the reaction to a known brand or a site of frequent use is the main factor of positioning according to this study.

Also, let’s think about how important it is to create a site with a domain that is easy to remember and easy to write. Direct traffic is given as a boost by a captive user and in love with your website and your brand.

Annotation to consider: Today we take a lot of traffic that in its nature is direct as organic in our Google Analytics reports, because Chrome, very smart they, have made their navigation bar your own search box. With that rigged action of Chrome, Google is attributed as organic much traffic of direct nature, before which, it will be very good to analyze with SEMrush or Search Console if our URL is a query that makes print and generates traffic to our site.

Time on site: Time spent on the site

We have always known that the time of permanence, as well as traffic, are an important factor of positioning. What is very remarkable is that this study places him in a position with such importance. This is definitely telling us that the content should be more attractive. Google is crying out for us to increase efforts in the engagement stage of our CRO strategies.

Pages per session & Bounce Rate

Closely related to the previous point, the following is pages per session and bounce rate (bounce rate). We already knew that Google uses these metrics to analyze the relevance of a website. That analyzed how many pages were printed after a click with the same cookie, but today this is very important.

IMG 5 - SEO ranking factor 2018

IMG 6 - SEO ranking factor 2018

And well, so far with the subject of content and usability, or specifically, site visits (Traffic data). If we review the previous post to this one, Writing Guide for SEO, SXO and CRO, we will be able to review how in that post we were already separating the main topics of generation of content into categories very similar to those of the study, which are:

  1. Traffic data
  2. On-page factors
  3. Backlink profiles

Now comes the biggest challenge …

Backlink Profiles: The damn Link building should be doing for eternity

I’ve already talked about the history and creation of Google. I’ve told you how Google tried to recreate the Social Network model before what we know today as social networks try. I love describing how the founders of Google boasted when they were still pursuing their doctorate having created an algorithm that treated and selected websites with a dynamic very like popularity and opinion leaders to define who ranks best. In my courses, I always tell this to just to make people understand the importance of the authority and the reason of the link building.

Well, all of the above, because backlinks continue to be a decisive factor in positioning. The backlinks in general, (ie all formats, Do follow and No follow) which in turn gives another extra importance to backlinks follow and diversity in IPs and less and less important in the anchor text, I suppose that being a factor that is usually very manipulated in a strategy to generate backlinks. This tells us about a Penguin more focused on authenticity and makes us see that we certainly expect not only some roll outs in 2018, but substantial updates in the algorithm.

HTTPS: Secure data transfer protocol

By the middle of the year, several SEO lab results had been published on how the number 1 positions of different categories were being occupied by sites with HTTPS protocols (by the way, soon this site will be HTTPS). Then I invite you to make the change on your site and even if you are not a transactional site, modify your security protocol and use HTTPS.

IMG 7 - SEO ranking factor 2018

Positioning factors On Page

Well, maybe these are the ones we all know. It does not stop importing the keyword in the Title, in the goals, in the body, in internal anchors, the density of the keyword (remember, no more than 5%) and video on the page.



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