Ranking Factors Study: Direct Website Traffic Is the Most Important Ranking Factor [Semrush Study]

/ January 26, 2018 | 4 Mins Read

Ranking Factors Study: Direct Website Traffic Is the Most Important Ranking Factor [Semrush Study]

Do you know what's the most important ranking factor according to a SEMRUsh study? It's direct website traffic. Here's a look at what makes it most essential ranking factor according to the study.

Do you have a website? And do you want to rank higher in SERPs?

“YES!” I hear you shout.

But let me be clear about something: This is NOT an easy task. There’s nothing like “overnight success” in the SEO world.

When it comes to ranking in Google’s top results, I’m sure you have no definite formula, because Google never reveals anything related to its ranking algorithm.

You’re probably wondering: “How can I find ranking factors that will help me get good results?”

Well, you’re in luck. SEMrush, an all-in-one SEO and marketing suite, has made it easy for you. It has recently analyzed 600,000+ keywords to shed light on what really impacts search results.

No matter if you run a blog, an e-commerce website, a personal website, or a brick-and-mortar business, this study will really help you and give you more insight on rankings.

Today, I’m going to share the five most important elements that SEMrush found in its Factors research. Here are the results of the research at a glance.

Let’s dive right in:

1. Direct Website Traffic is the Primary Ranking Factor

Direct website traffic is the primary and most influential factor. I’m not kidding, the study proves it. What does direct traffic mean? When a visitor comes to your website, without having clicked on a link to get there. Users just have to type your URL into their browser to access your website, and users also come from bookmarks. It indicates to search engines that a domain is highly valuable and authoritative.


So what should you do now?

Now that you’re convinced why direct traffic is important, it’s time to build a strong brand presence and improve your website’s visibility. With increased brand recognition, your website will get repeat visitors. Optimize your homepage for conversion purposes.

2. Users’ Behavior on Your Website Plays an Important Role

You’ve probably heard that user experience is the most important thing for your website. Well, you need to start taking this premise seriously. This study shows that user behavior signals like time on site, pages per session, and bounce rate also play an important role in search engine rankings.

You must understand your website users’ behavior and track what they are doing on your website.

Keep an eye on how much time users are spending on your website. “Pages per session” indicates how many of your website’s pages a user views within a single visit. “Bounce rate” is a metric that measures how many users left your website from the entrance page. A high bounce rate reflects that your page is not relevant to users for their particular query.

Backlinks are not only extremely important, they’re a key ranking factor. It holds the 5th place in the chart. Without backlinks, you won’t get higher rankings. If you’re getting links from other authority sites, this indicates to Google that your page is popular, useful and valuable.

Backlinks are a Key Ranking Factor

But remember one thing: Google does not calculate your number of backlinks, it calculates quality and relevant links.

What do you need to do? Create high-quality content and promote it. If some authority website or page points to your content, Google will consider it.

Recommended Link: How To Easily Analyse Multiple Competitors In SEMrush

4. Content Is Still KING

SEO is all about CONTENT. Without relevant and useful content, you’ll never get rankings.

But do you know that content length plays a key role in Google’s ranking? This study says that the difference in content length between the top three and the 20th positions is 45 percent.

What does that mean to you?

You should not ignore the power of in-depth content. Create valuable and informative content, because it can help you improve your website’s reputation and ultimately your rankings.

Content should add some value to your users’ lives. Your content should be easy (and fun) to read. Don’t waste your time creating hundreds of pages of content. Fix your thin content and focus on delivering quality and in-depth content.

5. HTTPS (User Security) is a Ranking Factor

Google already announced that HTTPS is a ranking factor. And this study also indicates that website security is an important ranking factor. Users’ security is something that Google takes seriously, and it will probably become a more important factor in future. Sixty-five percent of domains ranking for high-volume keywords are HTTPS.

Whether you love the technical stuff or hate it, HTTPS could make a bigger impact on your rankings (and create a more secure experience for users). Migrate your website to HTTPS and make the Web safer.



This study provided you with some really important insights that can help you earn higher rankings. Now it’s your turn to take action. I’ll give you a starting idea – optimize your content to create a great user experience and improve users’ dwell time

Read the complete study here: SEMrush: Ranking Factors 2.0.

Krishna Patel is a Ex Digital Marketing Executive at Acquire and Jagat Media. She is also a blogger and writing about Digital Marketing and its new updates. She believes and always keeps trying to do something new. When Krishna steps out of office, she loves to spend time with loved ones. Feel free to follow Krishna on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Mobile Content: More Isn’t Always Merrier

There are a few keys to successful mobile content:...

4 mins read

How to Double Your Social Engagement with Images[5 Pro Tips]

A picture paints a thousand words. The immortality of...

4 mins read

How To Repurpose Content To Get More Engagement

In the online world, content means and equates to...

6 mins read