New study by SEMRush identifies top 17 organic search ranking factors


SEMRush have updated their Ranking Factors study and identified the top 17 organic search ranking factors.

Search marketing software company SEMRush have released a new study detailing the top organic ranking factors, following on from the initial study they carried out in June 2017.

The study is based on their own analysis of search results pages for over 600,000 keywords, looking at page- and domain-level metrics for the top 100 listings in Google's search results.

SEMRush's initial study looked at 12 main ranking factors, but this has not been updated to 17 with the inclusion of more link-based metrics.

According to the results, direct website traffic is apparently the most influential ranking factor - followed by lots of user behaviour signals.

Direct traffic has long been considered to correlate with high search ranking positions as it would suggest a strong brand presence, but it has never been so openly touted as the 'number one ranking factor' before.

Here's a breakdown of SEMRush's top organic ranking factors:

semrush ranking factors list

According to SEMRush, website traffic and user behaviour signals have now well and truly overtaken links as the main ranking factors.

Time on site, pages per visit and bounce rate are all deemed to be more important than link metrics such as number of referring domains, number of backlinks etc.

The length of content is also an important factor, with a difference in content length of 45% between the average top 3 results and the 20th result.

To see the full study, download it from SEMRush here.


SEMRush tool review

Best SEO browser extensions

Local SEO ranking factors 2017

About the Author

Luke Glassford

Luke Glassford is an SEO expert with over 15 years’ experience.

During his time working in SEO, Luke has set-up an SEO agency, worked as an in-house SEO for a major national company and managed his own successful SEO consultancy - using a lot of different SEO tools along the way!