As Google continues to roll out updates to its algorithm, this interesting infographic from SearchMetrics lays out the SEO rank correlations and 2014 ranking factors. Even if you are not doing the search engine optimization (SEO) work yourself, it is still useful to know.

How has Google changed in 2014? According to the Infographic, “Good rankings are based on many factors, but the study revealed that nothing is more important to optimal SEO as high quality, relevant content.” Here are some tips to do just that:

Tip #1: Increase User-Relevant Content

The following content factors that increased from last year in top ranking URLs:

  • Length of text in characters = 8, 313 and word count = 975
  • Implement higher word counts using relevant topic terms
  • Provide other media such as images and videos
  • People want holistic content. Adlinks were rare on top ranking pages
  • Do expand keywords in the copy with reference to other relevant terms as people are searching for entire topics instead of content optimized for single keywords
  • Avoid the practice of “keyword stuffing”

Overall, using relevant terms in website content is probably one of the most important SEO ranking factors.

Tip #2: Create Robust Site Architecture

Here are some interesting technical factors and tips on how to create a robust site architecture from the top ten ranking URLs:

  • Average sitespeed is 0.99 seconds and 98% of URLs have a meta description
  • Include a well-balanced amount of good internal links
  • The average length of characters of a top ten URL is 36
  • Keep loading times short
  • Keep the site up-to-date
  • Maintain presence of all relevant meta information such as title and description
  • If you are a small brand, your best approach is to focus on a niche or long tail keyword

Based on the top ten ranking URLs:

  • The average number of backlinks is 1,352
  • The URLs have 1,718 referring domains linking to the homepage
  • 6% have nofollow-backlinks
  • Have a well-balanced homepage-deeplink-ratio
  • The average share of links to the homepage of a domain is 29%. The rest are deeplinks
  • Successful domains often feature a higher share of links anchored on their domain name and/or brand name(s)
  • The share of anchor texts containing the keywords has constantly decreased in recent years and is currently at about 13% in the top ten

Tip#4: Social Signals Are A Bonus

Social media definitely gives your SEO efforts a boost!

  • The average top ten ranking URLs have 143 Google+ Plus ones, 36 pins, 1,690 Facebook signals and 162 tweets
  • Do focus on good content. Good content gets shared.
  • However, do not only use social media to improve your ranking. There is still a correlation but it does not mean you need to ignore SEO efforts

Tip#5: Implement User Signals, They Are Crucial

The important user signals of the top ten ranking URLs are: (1) average time on site was 101 seconds and (2) bounce rate was 37%. In addition, the highest ranking URLs had a click-through rate of 23%. The 10th highest ranking URL had a click-through rate of 3%.

I hope you found this information useful or at least helpful in helping you better manage and communicate with your SEO team. The full infographic is below. Please click on it to view the larger version.