It has been a while since I’ve seen a big switch in factors that affect search engine ranking. SEMRush has released a report based on the scope of 600,000+ keywords, in order analyze the importance of ranking factors. The results are that the number of direct website visits to your site is the most important factor! So basically sites that already have a lot of traffic from people typing the URL in the address bar will rank higher in results. This is hard to take for someone trying to improve ranking by adjusting the website – as it is not an on-site factor. But it makes sense that Google would show the most popular sites at the top.
Other factors that score higher than total referring domains are:
- Time on site
- Pages per session
- Bounce rate
So if your site is engaging and people spend more time on it you also stand to benefit with a higher ranking.
The take away from this is that anything that could increase your direct visits will also increase your visits from organic search because more direct visits will increase your position in search results.
See the report here: https://www.semrush.com/ranking-factors/
Ranking Factors Analyzed