What do top Web sites have in common? Successful sites produce a high number of Facebook and Twitter messages.

But the sites minimize the volume of ads on its pages according to an authoritative study.

Those are the salient lessons from a 2012 study by Searchmetrics, a search and social analytics firm.

The principles still hold up well.

Leading brands also have an inherent competitive edge in Google search results, says Searchmetrics.

The study examined the results for 300,000 Web sites and 10,000 keywords to determine the relationships that lead to strong Google rankings.

The connections between the sites and keywords were determined using a process known as “Spearman’s rank correlation coefficient.”

Charles Edward Spearman was an English psychologist (1863-1945). He was recognized for his success in statistics and factor analysis.  

Searchmetrics’ five salient conclusions:

1. Social media signals show extremely high correlation:

Social signals from Facebook, Twitter and Google+ are frequently associated with good rankings in Google’s index. This is interesting in particular for the UK, which hasn’t had such a strong correlation with social signals up to this point.

2.Too much advertising is detrimental

For the first time we are seeing sites with too many advertisements struggling to rank well. However, the problem correlates only to AdSense adblockers.

3. Backlinks are still important but quantity is not the only important thing

Even though the number of backlinks is still the most powerful factor, links with stop words and ‘nofollow’ should also be included in the link-mix.

4. Brands leverage classic SEO signals

Apparently pages with strong brands do not need be as concerned with the areas of title tags, headings etc. According to our figures, this group operates under different rules.

5. Keyword domains still frequently attract top results

Despite all the rumors to the contrary, keyword domains are still alive and well and are often in the top rankings.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are related resource links:

Checklist: 14 Strategies to Rock on Google — Periodic changes in Google’s search criteria and algorithms have indeed hurt many Web sites. But it’s possible to bullet-proof your site’s prominence on Google by taking 14 precautions, which is worth your time and energy. Google has perennially owned about a 66 percent search-market share in the U.S. and a 90 percent share worldwide.

Web Site ‘Priming’ – 6 Tips That Will Help You Succeed — If you want to increase your odds for Internet success, you might consider priming your Web site. Priming is a method to motivate users to make decisions when they visit your site. I gather the term was coined by the inventor of a testing tool that enables Web-site owners to obtain reactions to their sites.

How Small Businesses Can Capitalize on Cyber Strategies for Profit — Yes, it’s become important for small businesses to capitalize on cyber strategies for profit. Small and even regional retailers should be cognizant of three realities: Potential customers probably think that national chains have easier-to-shop Web sites. Big retailers have lower prices.

Best Practices to Optimize Your Brand, Manage Your Web Reputation — As you no doubt know, the digital age has brought new challenges and opportunities. Best practices are critical in order to maximize your Web presence and to manage your online reputation. The key to Internet dominance is to think integration – naturally, the first steps include a quality Web site and synching it with your social media, business listings, inbound links and other elements.

Give a person a fish and you feed them for a day; teach that person to use the Internet and they won’t bother you for weeks. 


Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.