How to Rank Number One in Google: A Study of 1 Million Pages


Major Findings from the Data

  1. Backlinks matter. On average, the top 2 results on page 1 of Google equated to having 38% of all the backlinks from pages on page 1.
  2. On average, the higher up page 1 the result is, the greater the number of linking domains that the webpage has. Webpages ranking #1 had an average of 168% more linking domains than those ranking #5.
  3. Webpages on HTTPS had positive correlation with higher rankings, with 33% of all the sampled URL that ranked either #1, #2 or #3 using HTTPS.
  4. Anchor text is still a huge ranking signal. Webpages ranking #1 had an average of 5.42% of their anchor text actually including their target keyword. The further up page 1 you look, the higher this percentage goes.
  5. Top-ranking webpages tended to have shorter page titles, with the sweet spot nearing closer to 8 words in length.
  6. Webpages with their target keyword in their URL tended to rank higher in Google than those that didn’t.
  7. Including your target keyword within your page title positively correlated with higher search rankings. Of the sampled data, over 15% of all the page 1 rankings included the target keyword within its page title.
  8. Across the results of page 1, the average ratio of backlinks to linking domains was 37:1. This means that on average, each website that linked to page 1 content was linking from 37 different pages on their website.
  9. Top-ranking webpages in Google have shorter URLs, with position 1 URLs averaging 59 characters in length.

Source: How to Rank Number One in Google: A Study of 1 Million Pages