Very Professional SEO Study On Google Ranking Factors

edited July 2013 in Other / Mixed

I found this on a thread at TP (kudos to the poster that found this), and just wanted everyone here to take a look at this:

It's basically a 70 page whitepaper where they took a very large sample of competitive search terms, and then analyzed the search results to see what the top ranking websites had in common.

Make no mistake that this is not some blogger study. This is by far the most analytical study I have ever seen. There are some very valuable nuggets and analysis in there - and some things you would have never guessed. (I'll give you a hint : Top ranked sites have way more NO-follow links than sites further down the rankings).



  • The thing I thought was very interesting was the Keyword in the H1 was actually a negative.   Of course social signals and all that didn't really surprise me but the on page SEO stuff I deff took notice of.
  • ronron
    edited July 2013

    Yeah, and the importance of images was very interesting.

    I just added the last sentence in the post above as an edit, but no-follow links are very important to rankings. I always knew it but couldn't prove it until now.


  • Yeah there was a ton of good info in here.  and Ties in directly with things I've been noticing since the update.  Images deff being one of them. 
  • ronron
    I am completely blown away by these guys. They are way more credible than Moz and the others. Talk about a goldmine.
  • Thanks for this. Where do you get good quality no-follow links?

  • Most Wikis are nofollow by default
    Get Guestposts and let the site owner tag it as nofollow
    Create Web 2.0s with a nofollow tag

    get creative..

    Thanks ron, it was a good read, with some decent info. Although I take everything with a grain of salt and base success on our own experiences.
  • interesting read, the good news is that what we do is not far from what we suppose to be i have to go and figure out a way for social signal link building.
  • ronron

    @mmtj I understand, you are a jaded veteran lol. The reason I like this is that it is a correlation study which is a very strict mathematical relationship. Plus they used an extraordinarily large sample size.

    I do agree though, I use my own experience to form my own rules. It was nice to see such a professional approach on so many different metrics. Never saw anything like it. Very cool.

  • Yea, and they are spot on with most of it, too. Definitely a nice summary of current metrics.
  • @ron Nice share. I believe I have seen this on BHW, but from my experience in SEO... many things are valid.

    This is the big problem with these correlation studies:

    Correlation studies do not reflect how the algorithm is behaving. Correlation studies reflect how SEOs are behaving.

    Just because +1s have such a high correlation, doesn't mean that's what's making the sites rank. It just means that the people who are working on the site deem it necessary to rank.

    Maybe it does, maybe it doesn't (I'm firmly in the court that it doesn't long term), but correlation studies are in no way an accurate representation of how an algorithm works. The most purchase you can get out of a study like this is that is what most SEOs are focused on.
  • Haven't had time to read it yet, but I would have to say correlation != causation :D
  • They specifically state that they are not showing causal effects, but rather a comphrehensive evaluation of current metrics. How you use the presented knowledge is up to you :)
  • Nice share
  • ronron
    edited July 2013

    They definitely made the point that correlation does not equal causation. However...

    They did make two important points on social signals. One of their conclusions was "it appears that social signals can influence the ranking of URLs in isolation". I take this to mean that they were able to find 'an effect'. Maybe not a big effect, but some level of effect.

    But their bigger point to me was that Google +1 will overtake Facebook Shares by February 2016. I think Google will definitely factor this into rankings once it spreads heavily through the internet. So I think it is important to think through how to integrate +1's into the plan, maybe not today or tomorrow, but not too far down the road. It is more difficult to game that signal (properly).

  • I agree with @ron.

    Google has already started the game plan it seems. If you search for something which is present probably in Wikipedia, on Google, on the right side (if it has it's own GPlus page) you'll see how many followers it has on Google+.

    I definitely think Google is starting to give stress on this factor for ranking.
  • edited July 2013
    @ron, you might want to take a look at the free tool called Web2Rule. It will solve all of your social signal problems :D. It's quite brilliant if you ask me. As organic as it gets. And my +1s are sticking. Some are falling off, but mostly, they stick around.

    The only thing I loathe about them is that the software is not VPS supported. But there's enough pressure on the authors, so I think they'll implement it in near future.

    Here's a tip for everyone who wants to play a social signal game, hands off:

    1. After you make a website, simply create a Google+ profile with a fake persona. Fill out every detail about your fake persona in there. For example, if my site is about washing machines, I would make a profile "John Doe" and fill out my description and every box possible with relevant info. Something like this:

    "Hey guys, my name is John Doe, I live in New York, and I own a washing machine repair shop near Queens. I have a wife and two beautiful kids. In my free time, I also maintain my website, where I talk about various models of machines....BLABLA" get, fill all the boxes out, even your high school, college, etc. You want to make the profile look real.

    2. Connect the Google+ profile to your website via rel=author. You can read how to connect the G+ profile to your site here:

    3. Fire up Web2Rule. I won't post a tutorial here, because the authors have explained everything nicely in the video tutorials. The most powerful aspect of the tool is that you will start getting Google+ followers, which will boost your author credibility. You'll also get +1s, Tweets and Likes passively every day. I set mine to 3 of each per day. You can set Tweets and likes to more (5 per day), but I'd go with max 3 +1s per day.

    I did this to one of my test affiliate sites and I got it ranked #1 with no backlinks. It's #1 for 3 terms which don't have that much searches, but are cold-killer buyer keywords. Now I make around $500/per month with a 3 page site that gets maybe 90-100 visitors per day. Longtails and main keywords - #1 for everything. 

    I don't know if Google is taking Google+ authorship seriously yet, but my results prove that something is definitely going on in the social signal department. Combine this with the smart use of a tool such as GSA SER, and you got yourself covered. Everything on autopilot, minus maintenance.

    Hope this has helped some of you :)
  • ronron
    @jurky3fo - That is totally sweet! Thank for this share. Never heard of it.
  • @jurky3fo definitely nice. There are lot of +1 sites (social exchange boosting sites) too, it isn't hard to get those.
  • @pratik yes, that's definitely true, but the issue with them is that you get +1s, likes and tweets in bursts, and they usually get discredited fast. Google has some kind of a mechanism to detect unnatural linking patterns, even when it comes to social signals. That's why using social exchange sites was never an option for me.

    Ideally, you want a drip feed method that is very slow and stable. That's why Web2Rule is so good for me currently. They don't support VPS because they don't want strange ips in their network so people are only running the software on their own PCs. 

    The way it works is like this: You sign up, and then you have to feed the network with 3 full, phone verified and naturally looking profiles - 3 Facebook accounts, 3 Twitter Accounts and 3 Google+ accounts. If they see that your accounts are not filled with believable info, nor phone verified, they will not let you in.

    Then, you just let it run on the right side of Taskbar on your computer, and you get credits all the time. So basically, you have a network of thousands of people visiting each other with 9 accounts all the time, giving each other +1s, Author follows (extremely important in  the near future, and even now), Tweets and likes. 

    Of course, the system also post tweets, likes and comments without links to make the profile that you feed the system with completely natural. So, those accounts will get lots of "wise quotes", news articles etc etc. And then, now and there, they will post the link to the moneypage of the member.

    It's also completely random, because there is no set timer for logging in, posting the info etc. Everything is randomized. For example, the bot can wait up to 10,12,14 or 15 seconds before writing your password when it is logging in to post.

    I'm telling you, this is the only social signal software that works for me like clockwork. Everything is sticking, and those tweets likes and +1s stick and get indexed.
  • ronron

    I agree with the issue regarding the clumping of social signals that you buy. Just dumb and a waste of money.

    Anything with a drip is the way to go. And the worst one of all of them is +1's. In fact that is probably the best reason to look at this service.

  • jurky are you using the paid one or the free one plan?
  • I think "clumping" is not the only problem here. Often such social profiles link to a lot of different cheap spam sites (even if there are some posts that do not contain links). There are algorithms that aim for such social spam-profiles and get the interconnections between the profiles. I dont know if big G already uses such algos but it definitively will in the future. Sites like web2rule might be different from the known social sites because it seems you need some work until you are able to participate. That might discourage many hardcore-spammers. And if it works at the moment it might be worth trying.
  • I was using the free plan when I only had one site up. A free plan is the same as every other plan, the only difference is that you can only have 1 site up and your projects are not hidden, which means that if someone opens the program while it is working, and your site is currently on his queue to +1, like or tweet, he can see it. With a pro plan you can have 7 if I'm not mistaken and you can mark your projects as Private, so no one can see them while the bot is working in IE.
  • @technokrat Yes, you're right, but they also have to approve your domain as well. So, not everyone can actually get in. Also, they don't set the profiles to link to trash spam sites, they either: a) don't link at all, b) link to an authority news site.
  • @jurky3fo you mention "After you make a website, simply create a Google+ profile with a fake persona." for linking to your website for authorship. Are these  G+ accounts the same ones you setup in web2rule or do you use different G+ accounts to the ones that are setup in the W2 client?

    Also, do you have 1 G+ per website for authorship i.e. 10 money sites = 10 G+ accounts.
  • edited July 2013
    @kortezubi No, this is a separate account that you make on your own, and it basically represents the person of your website. I keep my webmaster tools and analytics on that account. That is also my email where people contact me as well (of course, I redirect it :D). 

    So, basically, you have one master account that you yourself make (SIMs are very cheap these days), and I buy 3 filled, PVAs with a picture for Web2Rule.

    And, yes. 1 G+ for every site. I don't have that many sites though. Each one has lots of posts, because I've found out that if you trigger an algo where Google puts your site into the "authority" group, you can hardly ever get penalized. And one of the things to do is definitely to have a strong authorship and persona behind the site.
  • @jurky3fo, got it, thanks.
  • ronron
    Hey @jurky3fo, great stuff! Please feel free to add more on this topic as most of us are probably pretty weak on the authorship/social signals side of things :) At least I am.
  • edited July 2013
    @ron well, okay, since the legend has asked it :D. Basically, as the time goes by, you want your campaigns to look like the graph below. This is a graph that shows you a big picture, a way to tackle the search engines without having to worry about penalties. 


    Now, why am I saying that you shouldn't worry about penalties? Well, in SEO you can never guarantee anything, but I think everybody now knows that the Internet has changed. 

    Google and other SEs are trying to rank pages by tweaking their algos to reward natural linking patterns. This means that lots of penalties on our websites come because we've triggered something that doesn't seem "natural" to their algo. I think you all know the story of Penguin. Before, everyone was linking with the same anchor text (come to think of it, it took Google more than 10 years to realize that same anchors over and over are not "natural", which makes me think that they are not as bright as many people think they are).

    As the years went by, social networks appeared, and completely changed how a common user behaves. Today, many people simply go online and as soon as they open the browser, they land on a social network of their choice. That's why I don't think that in the near future Google will credit links as much...simply because the behavior of the normal user has changed. Whereas 7 years ago they would probably link to your site if they liked it (which is an illusion of Google employees..nobody links to commercial stuff naturally anyways...I would never link to a vacuum cleaner page simply because the awesome review :D...that's their fairy land), today they would probably Tweet it, +1 it and Like it.

    What nobody is telling us (at least I haven't heard it from anyone), and I've gotten this from my own results, is that Google is nowadays looking for social signals more then anything when it comes to branding. Now, I don't mean that they are a strong ranking factor in of themselves, I'm talking about making your site an authority, without necessarily boosting your rankings directly. In a few years though, I think they will even become the main ranking factor (once they figure out how to weed out "social exchanges", and Google is already good with the fake +1s), but they serve their purpose even today.

    They work perfectly together: you make your site strong in the eyes of algorithms by having constant social buzz and a strong (fake of course) social profile on Google+, and then you do your backlinking SEO magic. That way, even if you do mistakes in the SEO part (I'm talking about too many links too fast, not enough anchor diversity etc etc), you won't get penalized, and every link will count more. If you think about it ron, it's exactly the same thing that the guys in the Searchmetrics guide wrote about brands.

    The problem with that guide though, and with many SEO "gurus" out there, is that they simply conclude that brands get a better treatment, but they don't tell you how to become a brand, except all of that "whitehat" trash that is floating around. They think that Google has a fixated list of brands, and that they only give high positions to them. If that was true, it would be the most static engine in the world, and I don't think they want to be like that.
    I believe social signals, drip fed by real looking, active accounts over time, on 3 major social sites - Google+, Facebook and Twitter - is the clear answer for Google to look at your site as a brand. And, in a few years, 1 or 2 maybe, they may even become the main ranking factor. Web2Rule is now indispensible for me. And no, I'm not a creator, nor an affiliate :D.
  • ronron

    @jurky3fo, you rock. If I had to draw the diagram, it would pretty much be the same, although I would have pdf's in there as well in the T1.

    The part I was really asking you to expand on was the social signals area. What are PVA's and SIM's? And is Web2Rule the only thing you need to make it work? Do you use any social signal service to enhance your facebook or twitter account pages to create a direct boost to your personal authority accounts (as opposed to the money sites)?

    Great job! I like how you think.

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