Search Engine Ranking Factors in 2015! Part 1 – Technical


With so many speculations and misconceptions about the search engine ranking factors Search Metrics have published their latest findings which examine all of the technical, onpage and backlink elements to see what actually make the website rank in 2015. In this first part we will examine technical elements that websites that rank in the top 30 positions share and have implemented.


1. Keyword in Domain URL

The significance of having a keyword within the domain name has now decreased even further and as a ranking factor have lost their previous effectiveness.

1 keyword in domain Ranking Factor 2015

2. Secure Server or HTTPS

This is a new metric which have been confirmed by Google as a minor ranking factor earlier this year. However, this encryption approach is not for everyone and predominately important for the ecommerce websites that process sensitive client information. Secure websites will provide consumers with extra confidence and trust.

2 HTTPs secured urls Ranking Factor 2015

3. Url Lenth

Higher ranking urls are shorter as it seems the top spots are reserved and are currently taken by the homepages. The average number of characters in the top 10 ranking domain is 43

3 URL Length Ranking Factor 2015

4. Home Page, Internal Pages and Subdomains

From all of the pages within positions 1-30 examined 90% pages that ranked positions 2-30 were internal website pages and the 30% of homepages ranked at position number 1.

4 Ratio of Homepages Ranking factor 2015

Also, the most important content that need to rank in search engines should sit on the root domain rather than the subdomain.

5. Urls – .com versus other domains

Looking at all of the domains that rank within 1-30 search results it seems that most of the domains i.e. 84% are .com. Compared to the previous year the significance of having a .com domain extension have increased in 2015 according to Search Metrics.

5 Dot Com Domains ranking factor 2015

6. Domain file sizes

From all of the domains that rank between positions 1-30 (average 25,171 bytes) the domains with larger files sizes ranked higher. However large file sizes could also affect the website speed, so it is important to keep an eye on the website speed.

7. Use of Flash On the Pages

The domains that had Flash incorporated ranked lower than the domains that did not use flash. The number of domains that ranked in the top 30 positions and had on-page flash elements have decreased compare to 2014.

8. Website Speed

Although Google stated the page speed is not a ranking factor, during the test of top 30 ranked pages we could clearly see that the pages of an average desktop load time of 1.16 seconds are ranking in the top 10 positions.

6 Website Speed Ranking Factor 2015

9. Meta Description

Optimized Meta Description improves the user experience, click-through rates and bounce rates, which will in turn improve rankings.

7 Meta Description Tag Ranking Factor 2015

10. H1, H2, H3 Page Titles

The onpage title tags are an increasing ranking factor compared to 2014 as most of the website that rank in top 30 have optimized onpage title tags.

8 Onpage Titles H1, H2, H3 Ranking Factor 2015

11. Brand Searches

Well-known brands often rank on the first page or occupy top positions, which means that brand and brand + keywords searches also influence the search results for generic keywords. Domains with a high SEO visibility also obtain higher rankings with their URLs due to search engine trust and authority.

9 Domain SEO visibility and brand Ranking Factor 2015