I just analyzed the 2024 Ranking Factors, a new study by Semrush, a leading visibility management platform.

Do you want to know what factors influence your website’s ranking on Google? Do you want to learn how to optimize your content for different types of queries and audiences?

This insightful study by Semrush unpacks the factors that matter most in today’s SEO landscape.

Key Insights from Semrush’s 2024 Ranking Factors Study

This detailed study dives into 65 potential signals impacting Google’s top 20 search results for 16,298 English keywords. The goal? Unearthing the true correlations between various elements and a coveted high ranking.

Content quality and relevance take center stage, underscoring the importance of truly understanding your audience’s needs and providing clear, informative answers.

Delving deeper you’ll find other influential factors: domain and page authority, organic traffic volume, and even the share of direct traffic all correlated with higher rankings.

Beyond the data, the study offers practical takeaways for SEOs and marketers. Here are some key gems to remember:

  1. Prioritize Relevant, High-Quality Content: It’s the foundation of your SEO strategy.
  2. Build Domain and Page Authority: Backlinks and consistent, valuable content are key.
  3. Focus on Organic Traffic Growth: Attract qualified visitors through strategic optimization.
  4. Don’t Underestimate Direct Traffic: A strong brand presence matters.

Content Relevance and Quality are the Top-Ranking Factors

The 2024 Ranking Factors Study shows that text relevance and content quality have the strongest correlation with higher SERP positions.

This means that the content Google shows at the top is more likely to match the user intent behind the search query, and to cover the topic in a comprehensive and helpful way:

2024 Ranking Factors Study by Semrush -summary table

To improve your content relevance and quality, you should:

  • Focus on the user’s needs and expectations, and provide clear and accurate answers to their questions.
  • Cover the main topic and related subtopics in depth
  • Use relevant terms and phrases that reflect the user’s language and context.
  • Avoid keyword stuffing, outdated information, and low-quality content that does not add value to the user.
  • Use images, lists, tables, and Schema elements to enhance your content and make it more engaging and easy to digest.

And don’t miss Google’s Search Quality Guidelines: this essential document offers valuable insights into how Google evaluates content quality, making it a must-read for any SEO or marketer.

These are the top content ranking factors in 2024 according to the 2024 Semrush Ranking Factors study:

Backlinks Still Matter, but Quality Over Quantity

The 2024 Ranking Factors Study also shows that earning backlinks from unique domains is still important for SEO, both at the page and domain level.

Backlinks can help you build your topical authority, drive traffic to your pages, and increase your visibility on Google.

However, the study also revealed that you don’t necessarily need a huge number of backlinks to rank well. What matters more is the quality and relevance of the linking domains and pages, and the diversity of the IP addresses in your link profile.

What are the top backlinks ranking factors in 2024?

2024 Top Backlinks Ranking Factors

To improve your backlink profile, you should:

  • Create high-quality, relevant, and shareable content that attracts natural links from other websites.
  • Reach out to authoritative and reputable websites in your niche, and offer them valuable content or resources that they can link to.
  • Avoid spammy, low-quality, or irrelevant links that can harm your reputation and rankings.
  • Monitor your backlinks regularly, and remove or disavow any toxic or unnatural links that you find.

Domain and Page Authority Scores Correlate with Higher Rankings

Another interesting finding from the study is that higher Domain and Page Authority Scores correlate with higher SERP positions.

Authority Score is Semrush’s proprietary metric that measures the authority of a page or website, based on various factors such as backlinks, organic traffic, and social media signals.

A higher Authority Score indicates that a page or website is more likely to be trusted and respected by Google and users, and therefore more likely to rank well for relevant queries.

To improve your Authority Score, you should:

  • Follow the best practices for content and backlink optimization, as mentioned above.
  • Increase your organic traffic and visibility by targeting the right keywords, optimizing your site speed and performance, and providing a good user experience.
  • Grow your social media presence and engagement by sharing your content, interacting with your audience, and building relationships with influencers and experts in your field.
  • Establish your brand and reputation by demonstrating your expertise, experience, and trustworthiness in your content and across your website.

User Signals and Experience Can Make a Difference

The 2024 Ranking Factors also explores the correlation between user signals and experience factors and rankings.

User signals are metrics that reflect how users interact with your website, such as direct traffic, branded search traffic, time on site, and bounce rate.

User experience factors are metrics that measure how user-friendly and accessible your website is, such as page speed, mobile-friendliness, HTTPS, and URL length.

The study found that user signals and experience factors have a low or minimal correlation with rankings.

However, this does not mean that they are not important for SEO. On the contrary, these factors can have a significant impact on user satisfaction, retention, and conversion, which can indirectly affect your rankings and performance.

2024 User Signals Ranking Factors

To improve your user signals and experience, you should:

  • Build your brand and reputation by creating and promoting valuable and unique content. Offer a consistent and memorable user experience.
  • Optimize your site speed and performance. Reduce page load time, eliminate render-blocking resources, and use a content delivery network (CDN).
  • Make your site mobile-friendly and responsive. Use a mobile-first design, avoid pop-ups and intrusive interstitials, and test your site on different devices and browsers.
  • Secure your site with HTTPS by obtaining and installing an SSL certificate, and redirecting all HTTP requests to HTTPS.
  • Simplify your URL structure. Use descriptive and relevant keywords, avoid unnecessary parameters and subfolders, and use hyphens to separate words.

Conclusion

These are some of the main takeaways from the Semrush Ranking Factors Study 2024.

The study provides a comprehensive and data-driven analysis of how various factors correlate with search engine rankings. It also offers useful insights and tips on how to optimize your website for SEO.

However, it is important to remember that correlation does not imply causation, and that SEO is not a one-size-fits-all solution.

Different factors may indeed have different weights and effects depending on the query type, the user intent, the industry, and the competition.

Therefore, you should always test and experiment with different strategies and tactics, and measure and monitor your results and performance. And keep up with the latest trends and developments in SEO, as Google is constantly updating and improving its algorithm and ranking systems.

FAQs

What are SEO ranking factors?

SEO ranking factors are the elements that influence the position of a website in search engine results. These can include on-page factors like keyword usage and content quality, off-page factors like backlinks, and technical factors like site speed and mobile-friendliness.

Why are SEO ranking factors important?

Understanding SEO ranking factors is crucial for improving a website’s visibility in search engines. By optimizing these factors, businesses can increase their organic traffic, reach a larger audience, and improve their online presence.

What are some key SEO ranking factors?

Some key SEO ranking factors include the relevance and quality of content, the number and quality of backlinks, mobile-friendliness, page speed, secure website (HTTPS), and user experience signals like click-through rate and bounce rate.

How often do SEO ranking factors change?

SEO ranking factors can change frequently as search engines update their algorithms to provide better results for users. It’s important for businesses to stay updated with these changes to maintain or improve their rankings.

Where can I learn more about SEO ranking factors?

There are many online resources where you can learn about SEO ranking factors. These include SEO blogs, online courses, webinars, and industry reports. Always ensure the information is from a reputable source to avoid outdated or incorrect advice.