The 10 Things Your Site Needs To Rank In Google This Year [ANALYSIS]

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You’ve already heard the “rules” on what makes content successful on search engines and social media networks.

You need to write thousands of words.

You need to use your keyword phrase a dozen times throughout the content.

You need images.

You need to get a lot of backlinks.

You need a lot of social shares as they can help boost your search rankings.

So on and so forth.

But the question is, do you really have to do these things to have great pieces of content that rank well in search and get tons of shares? The answer may surprise you.

What You Will Learn

In this post, I’m going to explore the top ten search results and top ten most popular pieces of content in the last year for a few of my favorite keyword phrases.

Some of the things I will analyze for each piece of content is the following.

  • Domain authority (DA), page authority (PA), and number of backlinks to the content.
  • Social sharing counts from Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.
  • The number of words in the main piece of content.
  • The number of times the exact keyword phrase appeared on the page.
  • The URL, SEO title, and meta description.

The goal of this analysis is to determine which of the above elements makes a piece of content successful in search results and on social media.

WARNING: Steal Your Competitors Search Rankings, Traffic & Income

A Few Notes About the Analysis as a Whole

Before you start looking at the numbers, there are a few things you should know about how I came up with the content I analyzed.

For the top ten search results, I used google.com while logged out of my Google account to remove personalized search results.

I used the MozBar to get the numbers for domain authority, page authority, number of links, number of root domains, and the number of social shares on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. For the number of words in the content, I used a Chrome extension called Word Count.

For the top ten most popular pieces of content, I used BuzzSumo to find the content that got the most shares for the keyword phrases used in my analysis. BuzzSumo also uses Pinterest pins and LinkedIn shares to determine social popularity.

I skipped a few articles here and there when they had zero relevance. This included an article about building a rail link to America from China as that isn’t the kind of link building in which I was interested.

Many of the exact keyword phrases appearing on the page were from the main piece of content and the comments. That means you might start with the perfect balance of keyword density, but your reader’s comments could throw it off.

Last, but not least, I chose topics that I write about often. The results you see in your non-marketing or non-business related niche might be different based on the topic and keyword difficulty.

You might want to run the same analysis on your topics and keyword phrases to find out what it will take to create a successful piece of content in your niche. You can get most of the numbers I analyzed using MozBar and Word Count.

Top Content for Link Building in Search

First, let’s look at the top content for link building in search results.

What is Link Building? Strategies & Examples – The Beginners Guide to SEO – Moz

PA / DA: 81 / 93
Links: 880 on 353 root domains
Shares: 5744 likes, 105 tweets, 38 +1’s
Word Count / Exact Keyword Usage On Page: 2474 / 17

Meta Description: New to SEO? Need to polish up your knowledge? The Beginner’s Guide to SEO has been read over 1 million times and provides the information you need to get on the road to professional quality SEO.

Link Building – Moz Blog

PA / DA: 76 / 93
Links: 1287 on 116 root domains
Shares: 15 likes, 46 tweets, 16 +1’s
Word Count / Exact Keyword Usage On Page: 1245 / 34

Meta Description: Not Found

What Is Link Building & Why Is It Important? – Beginner’s Guide to Link Building – Moz

PA / DA: 75 / 93
Links: 676 on 113 root domains
Shares: 778 likes, 2139 tweets, 1379 +1’s
Word Count / Exact Keyword Usage On Page: 2516 / 41

Meta Description: Welcome to The Beginner’s Guide to Link Building from Moz! Whether you’re brand new to link building or have been doing it for a while, you’ll find something useful in this guide.

Link building – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

PA / DA: 77 / 100
Links: 489 on 184 root domains
Shares: 33 likes, 7 tweets, 10 +1’s
Word Count / Exact Keyword Usage On Page: 1176 / 18

Meta Description: Not Found

Link Building for SEO: The Definitive Guide

PA / DA: 65 / 69
Links: 282 on 108 root domains
Shares: 339 likes, 621 tweets, 396 +1’s
Word Count / Exact Keyword Usage On Page: 1035 / 32

Meta Description: Everything you ever wanted to know about link building in one place. Covers topics ranging from email outreach to content marketing.

Learn The Fundamentals of Quality Link Building | Wordstream

PA / DA: 58 / 78
Links: 111 on 32 root domains
Shares: 397 likes, 349 tweets, 17 +1’s
Word Count / Exact Keyword Usage On Page: 1408 / 19

Meta Description: Link building is a difficult process: learn how to cheaply and effectively build in-bound links in this free guide.

Link Building Tactics – The Complete List

PA / DA: 61 / 54
Links: 1246 on 468 root domains
Shares: 1342 likes, 2619 tweets, 1428 +1’s
Word Count / Exact Keyword Usage On Page: 20397 / 30

Meta Description: Brace yourself. This is the most comprehensive list of link building tactics (not strategies; there’s a difference!) ever created. Think I’m lying?

SEO Guide: Link Building & Ranking In Search Engines

PA / DA: 69 / 92
Links: 119 on 50 root domains
Shares: 27 likes, 32 tweets, 10 +1’s
Word Count / Exact Keyword Usage On Page: 709 / 3

Meta Description: Search Engine Land’s Guide to SEO Chapter 5: Link Building – why you need to attract quality, authoritative links with diverse anchor text for search rankings

Link Building | Search Engine Land

PA / DA: 69 / 92
Links: 401 on 28 root domains
Shares: 4 likes, 0 tweets, 1 +1’s
Word Count / Exact Keyword Usage On Page: 900 / 12

Meta Description: Link Building looks at one of the most fundamental and yet challenging aspects of search marketing: Building and nurturing those all-important inbound links to your web site. Columnists offer insights and tips for effective link building and discuss controversial techniques like linkbaiting and buying links.

Link building | Wordtracker Academy

PA / DA: 66 / 77
Links: 388 on 82 root domains
Shares: 154 likes, 104 tweets, 286 +1’s
Word Count / Exact Keyword Usage On Page: 85 / 5

Meta Description: The more ways you can generate quality inbound links to your site, the better. Here are some tips on how to do it.

Top Content for Link Building on Social Media

Then, let’s look at the top content for link building based on social shares.

Ways to Increase Traffic From Google Without Building Links – Moz

PA / DA: 75 / 93
Links: 749 on 121 root domains
Shares: 996 likes, 2602 tweets, 1535 +1’s
Word Count / Exact Keyword Usage On Page: 1772 / 11

Meta Description: The job of the Technical SEO becomes more complex each year, but we also have more opportunities now than ever. Here are 12 ways you can improve your rankings without relying on link building.

What Is Link Building & Why Is It Important? – Beginner’s Guide to Link Building – Moz

PA / DA: 75 / 93
Links: 676 on 113 root domains
Shares: 778 likes, 2139 tweets, 1379 +1’s
Word Count / Exact Keyword Usage On Page: 2516 / 41

Meta Description: Welcome to The Beginner’s Guide to Link Building from Moz! Whether you’re brand new to link building or have been doing it for a while, you’ll find something useful in this guide.

The New Link Building Survey 2014 – Results – Moz

PA / DA: 80 / 93
Links: 4197 on 234 root domains
Shares: 639 likes, 2441 tweets, 641 +1’s
Word Count / Exact Keyword Usage On Page: 1391 / 81

Meta Description: How has the marketing industry changed its views of link building since last year? James Agate of Skyrocket SEO is back with the results of a brand new survey.

The Rules of Link Building – Whiteboard Friday – Moz

PA / DA: 72 / 93
Links: 322 on 88 root domains
Shares: 663 likes, 1879 tweets, 877 +1’s
Word Count / Exact Keyword Usage On Page: 1766 / 93

Meta Description: Google is increasingly playing the referee in the marketing game, and many marketers are simply leaving instead of playing by the rules. In today’s Whiteboard Friday, Cyrus Shepard takes a time-out to explain a winning strategy.

LinkPatrol: Find, fix and get control of the links on your website

PA / DA: 59 / 83
Links: 6162 on 13 root domains
Shares: 1284 likes, 2324 tweets, 475 +1’s
Word Count / Exact Keyword Usage On Page: 831 / 1

Meta Description: This WordPress plugin will analyze your outgoing links, let you sort and search by keyword, domain and author and no-follow or strip links.

Google: Try To Avoid Link Building Because It Can Do More Harm Than Good

PA / DA: 1 / 92
Links: 0 on 0 root domains
Shares: 1147 likes, 1551 tweets, 381 +1’s
Word Count / Exact Keyword Usage On Page: 333 / 15

Meta Description: Google’s webmaster trends analyst, John Mueller, recommends you do not focus on link building and if you do, it may lead to more harm for your web site than anything good.

The Future of Link Building – Moz

PA / DA: 80 / 93
Links: 4473 on 212 root domains
Shares: 571 likes, 1981 tweets, 412 +1’s
Word Count / Exact Keyword Usage On Page: 2521 / 48

Meta Description: What does the future for link builders hold? The answer is that it’s not just about links anymore. They will always be important but there is much more to the future and link builders need to think a lot bigger in order to be a part of it.

Link Echoes (a.k.a. Link Ghosts): Why Rankings Remain Even After Links Disappear – Whiteboard Friday – Moz

PA / DA: 81 / 93
Links: 6568 on 209 root domains
Shares: 479 likes, 1420 tweets, 555 +1’s
Word Count / Exact Keyword Usage On Page: 1583 / 1

Meta Description: Everyone knows what happens when a page earns new links from high-quality sites: Rankings improve. What happens when those links disappear, though? In today’s Whiteboard Friday, Rand explains that the answer isn’t what we might think.

The Panda Patent: Brand Mentions Are the Future of Link Building – Moz

PA / DA: 75 / 93
Links: 345 on 126 root domains
Shares: 203 likes, 1470 tweets, 483 +1’s
Word Count / Exact Keyword Usage On Page: 2982 / 8

Meta Description: If a recently filed patent is any clue, Google is now working on major algorithmic changes to measure authority outside of followed links. Find out more about how brand mentions play an increasingly important part in that mix.

Best Link Building Strategies that Don’t Require Content

PA / DA: 51 / 66
Links: 438 on 43 root domains
Shares: 25 likes, 1798 tweets, 347 +1’s
Word Count / Exact Keyword Usage On Page: 4908 / 42

Meta Description: 20 proven SEO experts discuss the best link building strategies that don’t require you to leverage existing content pieces or create new content.

Top Content for Start a Business in Search

Next, let’s look at the top content for start a business in search results.

Follow These 10 Steps to Starting a Business | The U.S. Small Business Administration | SBA.gov

PA / DA: 86 / 97
Links: 1832 on 543 root domains
Shares: 1214 likes, – tweets, 145 +1’s
Word Count / Exact Keyword Usage On Page: 363 / 0

Meta Description: Not Found

How To Start A Business With Only $100 In The Bank

PA / DA: 67 / 97
Links: 186 on 49 root domains
Shares: 2819 likes, 3554 tweets, 219 +1’s
Word Count / Exact Keyword Usage On Page: 804 / 3

Meta Description: Chris Guillebeau is a writer, entrepreneur, and traveler. His latest book, The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future, is now a New York Times bestseller. During a lifetime of self-employment and ventures ranging from online publishing to volunteer […]

How to Start a Business with basics, planning, and ideas.

PA / DA: 66 / 93
Links: 85 on 35 root domains
Shares: 367 likes, 22 tweets, 24 +1’s
Word Count / Exact Keyword Usage On Page: 809 / 0

Meta Description: Everything on how to start a business from loans, finance, marketing, and growing a small business.

Start a Business | BusinessUSA

PA / DA: 80 / 98
Links: 101467 on 37 root domains
Shares: 81 likes, 72 tweets, 3 +1’s
Word Count / Exact Keyword Usage On Page: 47 / 4

Meta Description: Meta Description Not Found

The Best Industries for Starting a Business | Inc.com

PA / DA: 65 / 92
Links: 63 on 19 root domains
Shares: 1656 likes, 836 tweets, 96 +1’s
Word Count / Exact Keyword Usage On Page: 1989 / 0

Meta Description: Digital detective. Health care disrupter. Purveyor of all things organic. These are just some of the most promising ground-floor opportunities in 2014.

How to Start a Small Business in a Few Hours | Inc.com

PA / DA: 67 / 92
Links: 125 on 35 root domains
Shares: 971 likes, 796 tweets, 91 +1’s
Word Count / Exact Keyword Usage On Page: 1001 / 0

Meta Description: Starting a business is surprisingly simple–you just need to take the first step. Here’s how to get through the administrative hurdles faster than you think.

Office of Economic Development | Start Your Business

PA / DA: 64 / 80
Links: 10684 on 6 root domains
Shares: 3 likes, 0 tweets, 0 +1’s
Word Count / Exact Keyword Usage On Page: 129 / 2

Meta Description: Office of Economic Development

Starting a Business

PA / DA: 87 / 100
Links: 3365 on 606 root domains
Shares: 51 likes, 30 tweets, 13 +1’s
Word Count / Exact Keyword Usage On Page: 129 / 0

Meta Description: Starting a Business

How to Start a Business in 10 Days

PA / DA: 68 / 93
Links: 193 on 35 root domains
Shares: 8764 likes, 3137 tweets, 256 +1’s
Word Count / Exact Keyword Usage On Page: 1874 / 5

Meta Description: Learn how to start your business in 10 days from business planning, market study, branding, to incorporating.

Best Cities to Start a Business – NerdWallet

PA / DA: 62 / 79
Links: 66 on 31 root domains
Shares: 256 likes, 101 tweets, 3 +1’s
Word Count / Exact Keyword Usage On Page: 1291 / 8

Meta Description: Reviews and More

Top Content for Start a Business on Social Media

Now, let’s look at the top content for start a business based on social shares.

How Old Is Too Old to Start a Business? The Answer May Surprise You. (Infographic)

PA / DA: 83 / 93
Links: 18726 on 225 root domains
Shares: 47801 likes, 7738 tweets, 697 +1’s
Word Count / Exact Keyword Usage On Page: 265 / 3

Meta Description: Martha Stewart didn’t do any home decorating until she was 35. And Charles Flint started IBM at 61.

No Money to Start a Business? No Problem. Try These 5 Options.

PA / DA: 79 / 93
Links: 14935 on 91 root domains
Shares: 22812 likes, 1895 tweets, 368 +1’s
Word Count / Exact Keyword Usage On Page: 1075 / 6

Meta Description: Follow these simple guidelines to build up a venture of your choosing for little to no capital.

Don’t Just Start a Business, Solve A Problem

PA / DA: 80 / 93
Links: 7139 on 143 root domains
Shares: 9009 likes, 5706 tweets, 565 +1’s
Word Count / Exact Keyword Usage On Page: 625 / 3

Meta Description: You don’t want to start a business that may not survive. Do your homework, validate your idea and make sure you have a real market for it.

How teen used social media to start a business | ABS-CBN News

PA / DA: 37 / 74
Links: 30 on 3 root domains
Shares: 9823 likes, 53 tweets, 0 +1’s
Word Count / Exact Keyword Usage On Page: 258 / 1

Meta Description: MANILA — A 17-year-old entrepreneur used her creativity and social media to earn extra income.

How to start a photography business: What to Charge

PA / DA: 21 / 49
Links: 18 on 2 root domains
Shares: 100 likes, 108 tweets, 20 +1’s
Word Count / Exact Keyword Usage On Page: 2200 / 0

Meta Description: How to start a photography business: What to Charge

5 Fears You’ll Need to Conquer Before Starting a Business

PA / DA: 73 / 93
Links: 2815 on 47 root domains
Shares: 4660 likes, 3699 tweets, 98 +1’s
Word Count / Exact Keyword Usage On Page: 1159 / 0

Meta Description: If you’re going to be successful as an entrepreneur, you need to be prepared for the risks.

You Have the P.O.W.E.R. to Start a Business While Working Your Day Job

PA / DA: 1 / 93
Links: 0 on 0 root domains
Shares: 7856 likes, 729 tweets, 57 +1’s
Word Count / Exact Keyword Usage On Page: 593 / 2

Meta Description: Professional football is a grinding job but Israel Idonije started his business while still playing in the NFL.

Want to start a food business? Read this | ABS-CBN News

PA / DA: 1 / 74
Links: 0 on 0 root domains
Shares: 7310 likes, 53 tweets, 6 +1’s
Word Count / Exact Keyword Usage On Page: 485 / 0

Meta Description: Opening a food business can be very rewarding to entrepreneurs who want to mix business and passion.

Those Things No One Tells You Before You Start a Business | Inc.com

PA / DA: 66 / 92
Links: 210 on 35 root domains
Shares: 2680 likes, 3829 tweets, 72 +1’s
Word Count / Exact Keyword Usage On Page: 823 / 1

Meta Description: One brave founder shares the things she’d wished she’d known before starting up.

Starting a business in Belgium | ABS-CBN News

PA / DA: 1 / 74
Links: 0 on 0 root domains
Shares: 6624 likes, 21 tweets, 1 +1’s
Word Count / Exact Keyword Usage On Page: 1369 / 2

Meta Description: BRUSSELS – There are an estimated 800,000 Filipinos brought by fate to the different countries of Europe. Most of them went to the English-speaking United Kingdom, followed by Italy, and then the other larger countries.

Top Content for Make Money Online in Search

Finally, let’s look at the top content for make money online in search results.

24 Easy Ways To Make Money On The Internet

PA / DA: 60 / 80
Links: 202 on 53 root domains
Shares: 21995 likes, 176 tweets, 39 +1’s
Word Count / Exact Keyword Usage On Page: 2867 / 9

Meta Description: Looking to make money on the internet? Check out these get-rich-quick “schemes” to start making real money online from a Bank of America whistleblower…

40 easy ways to make money quickly – Save the Student

PA / DA: 45 / 42
Links: 1802 on 59 root domains
Shares: 3626 likes, 188 tweets, 131 +1’s
Word Count / Exact Keyword Usage On Page: 4739 / 2

Meta Description: The best ways to make money both online and offline as a student. Lots of original ideas on how to make money quickly and easily to boost your finances.

Ways to Make Money Online From Home – Free Money | MySurvey

PA / DA: 1 / 48
Links: 0 on 0 root domains
Shares: 0 likes, 0 tweets, 35 +1’s
Word Count / Exact Keyword Usage On Page: 721 / 6

Meta Description: Make Money Online with Paid Surveys – the easiest and legit way to earn Free Money From Home. Start your free account today at MySurvey

5 Real Ways to Make Money Online From Home – ABC News

PA / DA: 70 / 100
Links: 198 on 70 root domains
Shares: 1415 likes, 253 tweets, 48 +1’s
Word Count / Exact Keyword Usage On Page: 604 / 6

Meta Description: It pays to cast your financial net online, where possibilities abound.

Make Money Online (Without Spending a Dime)

PA / DA: 71 / 92
Links: 1857 on 186 root domains
Shares: 584 likes, 1291 tweets, 39 +1’s
Word Count / Exact Keyword Usage On Page: 1364 / 7

Meta Description: Making money online used to pretty much require you to have your own Web site, products to sell, and some marketing savvy. But a whole new generation of dot-coms have arisen that will pay you for what you know (and who you know) without you having to be a web designer or a marketing genius.

25 Unusual Ways To Make Quick Money

PA / DA: 76 / 89
Links: 535 on 152 root domains
Shares: 2055 likes, 221 tweets, 67 +1’s
Word Count / Exact Keyword Usage On Page: 272 / 0

Meta Description: Late on rent? Can’t fill your car with gas to get to work? Assuming all available funds and traditional sources of credit are tapped out, here are 25 ways…

Make Money Online: Top sites & apps that pay – MoneySavingExpert

PA / DA: 64 / 82
Links: 9830 on 40 root domains
Shares: 576 likes, 141 tweets, 26 +1’s
Word Count / Exact Keyword Usage On Page: 6131 / 5

Meta Description: This guide lists over 30 top sites and apps to earn cash on the web. You can get paid to click, write, search the web, create Youtube videos and more.

5 Easy Ways to Make Money Online! – YouTube

PA / DA: 51 / 100
Links: 70 on 4 root domains
Shares: 35 likes, 0 tweets, 1607 +1’s
Word Count / Exact Keyword Usage On Page: 37 / 5

Meta Description: 21 FAST & EASY WAYS TO MAKE MONEY: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lAPGqYMJthA&list=UUMHsZmw2ilxROQYDvSkjMLQ http://makemoneyonline2015.net/ ?IZEA? https://i…

How To Make Money Online – $200 to $6000 In 1 Week – YouTube

PA / DA: 66 / 100
Links: 347 on 157 root domains
Shares: 2440 likes, 0 tweets, 905 +1’s
Word Count / Exact Keyword Usage On Page: 432 / 24

Meta Description: Click Here: http://is.gd/openbinaryoptionsaccount How To Make Money Online – $200 to $6000 In 1 Week Make Money Online. This will blow you away! Making Money…

This Graphic Lists Over 200 Resources for Making Money Online

PA / DA: 77 / 93
Links: 50049 on 65 root domains
Shares: 561 likes, 618 tweets, 507 +1’s
Word Count / Exact Keyword Usage On Page: 230 / 2

Meta Description: There are tons of ways to make money online, in your spare time and maybe with very little effort. From freelancing to flipping sites, this infographic covers the major resources that can help you put more money in your bank account.

Top Content for Make Money Online on Social Media

And let’s look at the top content for make money online based on social shares.

10 Legitimate Ways Moms Are Making Money Online

PA / DA: 17 / 17
Links: 2 on 2 root domains
Shares: 99 likes, 3 tweets, 4 +1’s
Word Count / Exact Keyword Usage On Page: 264 / 1

Meta Description: Not Found

Infographic: Five Proven Ways to Make Money Online! | Make Money From Home!

PA / DA: 22 / 18
Links: 53 on 6 root domains
Shares: 3447 likes, 1788 tweets, 19 +1’s
Word Count / Exact Keyword Usage On Page: 58 / 4

Meta Description: Five Proven Ways to Make Money Online! Featuring 25 legitimate platforms. Interactive Infographic! Out of dozens of ways to make money online, we neatly grouped it in 5 categories, from hundreds of platforms we have chosen the 25 proven websites for making money from home.

6 Quick And Easy Ways To Make Money Online

PA / DA: 15 / 39
Links: 7 on 1 root domains
Shares: 2718 likes, 0 tweets, 2 +1’s
Word Count / Exact Keyword Usage On Page: 98 / 1

Meta Description: Celebrity entrepreneur Farrah Gray’s priceless advice, inspiration, motivation and personal development.

[Executive Edge] Ways that Filipinos can make money online

PA / DA: 49 / 71
Links: 121 on 17 root domains
Shares: 3592 likes, 141 tweets, 8 +1’s
Word Count / Exact Keyword Usage On Page: 1216 / 3

Meta Description: Want to earn money online? Here are sites that allow you to do just that

This Graphic Lists Over 200 Resources for Making Money Online

PA / DA: 77 / 93
Links: 50049 on 65 root domains
Shares: 561 likes, 618 tweets, 507 +1’s
Word Count / Exact Keyword Usage On Page: 230 / 2

Meta Description: There are tons of ways to make money online, in your spare time and maybe with very little effort. From freelancing to flipping sites, this infographic covers the major resources that can help you put more money in your bank account.

Make Money Online Programs for Bloggers

PA / DA: 32 / 42
Links: 5419 on 8 root domains
Shares: 1822 likes, 81 tweets, 15 +1’s
Word Count / Exact Keyword Usage On Page: 4799 / 1

Meta Description: The top companies to make money blogging or with Twitter. SocialSpark, PayPerPost and SponsoredTweets lead.

How to Travel the World for a Living

PA / DA: 31 / 46
Links: 1432 on 3 root domains
Shares: 170 likes, 116 tweets, 17 +1’s
Word Count / Exact Keyword Usage On Page: 1251 / 0

Meta Description: The million dollar question: “How do you make a living by traveling the world?” It seems like a foreign idea to most people — like an unattainable dream.

5 Ways to Make Money Online – While You’re At Work! – Retired by 40

PA / DA: 1 / 33
Links: 0 on 0 root domains
Shares: 7 likes, 32 tweets, 0 +1’s
Word Count / Exact Keyword Usage On Page: 932 / 3

Meta Description: These 5 (plus a bonus!) ways to make money online have netted me more than $1,000 this year – while I was at work!

5 Ways How To Make Extra Money

PA / DA: 12 / 27
Links: 1 on 1 root domains
Shares: 14 likes, 1 tweets, 2 +1’s
Word Count / Exact Keyword Usage On Page: 769 / 1

Meta Description: Finding ways to make extra money is not as hard as it seems. With these 5 Ways To Make Extra money you will be able to get money fast.

US book publishers now make more money from online sales than physical stores

PA / DA: 64 / 94
Links: 138 on 35 root domains
Shares: 871 likes, 219 tweets, 88 +1’s
Word Count / Exact Keyword Usage On Page: 237 / 0

Meta Description: Brick-and-mortar book stores have clearly been on the decline for a while — just look at Barnes & Noble’s rocky finances. However, there’s now some

Key Takeaways for Successful Content

Here are some of the key points you should takeaway from this analysis.

1. Include the keyword phrase in your URL and SEO title. If you hover over the top link building content in search, they all have link building in the URL.

2. Be sure to mention the exact keyword phrase in the main piece of content a few times. Then use keyword phrases that are similar the rest of the time.

Modifications of start a business include starting a business, start a small business, and so on.

3. For highly competitive keyword phrases, you are going to need to publish your content on a website with high domain authority.

You can do this through guest posting on websites larger than yours or work towards growing your own domain authority through link building.

4. The old-school 300-word SEO piece isn’t going to cut it anymore.

The average number of words for the make money online content that did well in search is 1,739. For start a business, the average number of words is 843. For link building, the average number of words is 1,283 (if you exclude the 20,000+ word masterpiece).

The average number of words for the make money online content that did well on social networks is 985. For start a business, the average number of words is 885. For link building, the average number of words is 2,060.

If you don’t want to write extensively long articles, you don’t have to. Some of the articles are compilations of links to other articles.

Some are expert roundups.

There are probably some people who outsource their content to ghostwriters.

There are plenty of options you can choose from if you don’t have the time or inclination to write.

5. Internal linking is important. Link to your top pieces of content in other pieces of related content using your target keyword phrase as anchor text.

Google lets you analyze your most important pages based on internal links in Google Webmaster Tools.

6. Having strong domain authority and getting lots of social shares to your articles will not necessarily help them rank well in search.

Moz has several articles on link building from the last year that had thousands of social shares on their 93 domain authority website. Most of those articles (with exception to one) are not even in the top 100 search results.

7. While not required, you should consider having at least one keyword-optimized image in your main content.

Several of the top shared pieces of content on social media were not on the list because of their Facebook, Twitter, or Google+. They were there because they received thousands of pins from Pinterest.

8. You can buy social shares to boost your content’s social popularity. But buying thousands of tweets won’t guarantee a lot of traffic from Twitter.

How did I come to this conclusion? It was simple. There were several YouTube videos that came up as the most popular content with the make money online keyword.

These videos had thousands of social shares but far, far fewer views.

Case in point: one video had 4,000+ Facebook, 1,300 views, and only two comments.

The rest of the ones that had thousands of social shares had been removed from YouTube for violating their TOS. I doubt videos that get removed for violating TOS are being liked by regular people on Facebook.

9. Creating a valuable piece of content is going to get you more social shares than creating a stunning headline.

As you can see from the analysis, in some niches, you don’t always have to have a number or “how to” in the headline to have a socially popular piece of content.

That said, the combination of a valuable piece content and a stunning headline is almost a surefire winner on social.

10. For the make money online keyword phrase, the quality of content in the top search results was much higher than the quality of content in the most popular social articles. This is likely because it’s much easier to manipulate the most popular social content by buying shares than to manipulate top search results.

Biggest Takeaway

I can’t stress this enough. Social shares do not equal backlinks.

Based purely on what we have seen here we could conclude that social shares will not get you good positioning in search results.

Only two out of thirty pieces of content analyzed in the most popular social articles were in the top 100 search results. However I have had good results when using social signals personally.

Maybe the results would be different within other niches. And if you’re getting traffic from social networks, that’s great.

But remember that social traffic peaks shortly after you publish your content. Search traffic can continue to deliver visitors to your site for years!

60 Responses

  1. 3.19.2015

    Great job for making this post Matthew.
    I just want to say about buying social likes and shares that you actually can hurt yourself.
    For example I spent money for one of my niche site and get tons of likes and shares on facebook. I increased from 200 fans to about 2000 fans and engagements dropped from around 50 to 1 or even 0!!! Why? Because they all were fake fans!
    I prefer engage people in the content and generate likes and social shares this way. Like content locker and twitter quotes.
    Thanks,
    Yaro

    • March 19th, 2015 at 9:03 am

      Yeah you have to be careful of buying lots of signals at once, drip it out naturally like you would with links.

      • jimmyp
        March 19th, 2015 at 11:01 am

        No.
        FB uses engagement as key metric. more fans that do not participate = less engagement = less views = vicious cycle.

        same is true for yt vids unless they watch whole thing. must have high retention rates.

  2. 3.19.2015

    I agree Matt, I’ve yet to see any real case study of social signals doing anything.

    I think in general, people (including myself) overestimate the importance of backlinks and underestimate the importance of domain authority. This could of course change at any time in the future though.

    I could see an argument for using fake social shares as social proof, if you were trying to attract links/comments, but I’m not sure how effective/necessary that would be.

  3. Dileep Abraham
    3.19.2015

    Good article and I am sure I will some of them in my blog. Thanks a lot for such an informative article.

  4. 3.19.2015

    Hey, Matt, this post gonna be a great resource.

    Buying social likes, hmm. It’ll definitely work until Google adopts social quality signals as one of its ranking factors. Once it adopted that, the site’s which obtained fake likes today, would be gone tomorrow. That might be a bad idea as far as future is concerned.

    The main IM mantra today is, “Epic content”. With the information overload in along every niche, epic content is essential to stand out of the rat race. Blog updation frequency is stressed only for news sites. For blogs, producing only one 5000 words epic post per month. Unique, SEO optimized post is enough.
    H*** yeah.

    This too will benefit you take advantage of Google knowledge graph. Including table of content for Great epic posts, will offer you added advantage of toc links in SERPs. It results in good CTR. Boom!

    Onpage user interaction will also be improved with epic content. Readers tend to stay there around long. Sticky, sticky.

    Cheers.
    Akshay ~

  5. Steven
    3.19.2015

    I think this makes clear what to do and how to do in order to get better ranking in search results!

  6. 3.19.2015

    Nice article Matt. These strategies I have applied for many projects and they have worked very well. Also, if I may add, the content should have header tags, better if you use till h3. Making keywords bold, italics. Also make sure to have your prime keywords at the start of your title, meta tags, intro paragraph. Cheers!

    • March 20th, 2015 at 10:14 am

      I would avoid making keywords bold/italic personally now

  7. steve
    3.19.2015

    great article i was surprised regarding the social results

  8. 3.19.2015

    Great Article.

  9. 3.19.2015

    This is a very thorough and detailed analysis that you’ve performed Matthew, it must have taken a long time to compile.

    I know that about a year ago supposed “experts” were suggesting that social (share) signals would be ranking factors of the future. As you’ve proven this is wrong. It is too easy to buy social shares or fake support for your article.

    Great content has always been a common theme in advice and for me is the only truly practical one.

    As someone who’s had a presence online for over 2 years I still find it a struggle to make the impression even as I adhere to many on-site SEO tips (as you’ve mentioned above).

    The idea of link building is one which I am wary of and fearful of any Google penalty so look to avoid. Yet when I run competition through Market Samurai (or as many of your examples but not all show above) the highest ranking content tends to have lots of links to them. Sometimes feels like a catch 22. You want people to link naturally to your articles, yet if you don’t rank from the start how are they going to find you?

  10. Joey Robinson
    3.19.2015

    Great article – on niche keywords, I’m still convinced that part of the ranking is random – I’ve set up relatively poor quality niche sites in the last few months as experiments, each website with 100 pretty much identical pages, with each page dedicated to an individual product, all of which had about the same level of competition on Google.

    About 10% of the pages were in the top 5 on Google, but around 50% weren’t even in the top 100. Some didn’t rank at all. There was nothing to distinguish the pages, as they all had the same layout and product data on each page – around 200 words in total. Just seemed to be complete chance which ones ranked, and which didn’t – 2 or 3 appeared above Amazon UK in the results, which in my experience is pretty near impossible.

    I appreciate it’s different for competitive search terms though.

    • March 20th, 2015 at 9:52 am

      It is indeed there are a number of Google patents that describe this feature.

  11. 3.19.2015

    Great example article. I think resource pages that link out to high DA sites tend to rank well right now.

  12. fernando
    3.19.2015

    gran post. es increible que toda esta informacion esta gratis como siempre un articulo que vale la pena guardar y releerlo ademas de tomarlo como consulta periodicamente, saludos

  13. 3.19.2015

    First of all great article. I think the key to any SEO strategy is looking at your competition as it relates to the keywords you will be targeting. However I do believe there is a tendency to target terms that we think we can get.

    I would say take that shot in the dark and aim high every once in a while. ( I try to follow this with a 5 to 1 ratio. 5 I know I should rank for and 1 I think I don’t have a chance with ) SEO is a long term play, and not anticipating future growth leaves your content and its targeting a bit light as the time goes on.

    In regards to social signals… I think we could all agree there is no SEO benefit other than maybe the social account user profile. But if you go a step beyond SEO and look at CRO, Social all of the sudden takes on a new life that needs to be recognized and utilized.

    Once again great article and thanks for sharing!

    • March 20th, 2015 at 9:48 am

      Thats a very good approach Paul, spread your bets and bet big every now and then :)

  14. 3.20.2015

    Once again you have hit it right Matt. I would definitely like to implement the strategies you have mentioned

    • March 20th, 2015 at 9:46 am

      I hope you do :)

      • Twinkle Parekh
        March 21st, 2015 at 12:22 am

        Started :)

  15. Dale Reardon
    3.20.2015

    Hi,

    Thanks for putting in the work to write this article.

    I get traffic from all my tweeting but I don’t expect it to help my rankings.

    Dale.

  16. 3.20.2015

    Hi Matt

    Very interesting article….although I’m a little confused on a few things. First off, I thought you should only use the keyword you are trying to rank for in the title of the article and only once in the body of the text – not a few times as suggested.

    I agree that you should use similar keyword phrases in the body too. Although be careful not to overdo it. This has worked well for many sites in my niche. It’s interesting you are saying that social shares of content doesn’t impact on ranking. But I think Google will eventually put this into their Algorithm as a sign of Author rank.

    • March 20th, 2015 at 9:41 am

      Well the power of observation certainly suggests otherwise :)

    • March 21st, 2015 at 3:52 am

      Alison,

      Googles “Author Rank” tag concept was dropped this past summer. They are now conforming to the universal Schema tag method. Without getting into a bunch of detail, this can be achieved but takes a fair amount of planning and precise execution.

      At some point recently Google did make it clear they are not using Social as a signal, but left the caveat that they DO look at social profiles.

  17. Alison
    3.20.2015

    Hi Matt

    This is an interesting article. Be interested to hear your thoughts about Author rank and how this will play a part in ranking content with social signals this year?

    • March 20th, 2015 at 9:40 am

      Google publically discontinued it but whether or not they still have an internal metric for that who knows!

      • Alison
        March 20th, 2015 at 10:26 am

        They discontinued Authorship. Author Rank is very much alive.

  18. Christian
    3.20.2015

    Great article, thanks Matthew. Maybe I’ll use this to preform such a study for the Netherlands :).

    • March 20th, 2015 at 9:39 am

      Be interesting to see if you discover the same things!

  19. Mahesh
    3.20.2015

    Awesome article Matthew. Your articles are always in detail and really helpful for newbie bloggers and affiliate marketers like me. Thanks again.

  20. 3.21.2015

    SEO just made me sick (confused, dizzied, puked, and what the…). Is it so difficult to earning from blogging? I just know how to write some things! Then I am enjoying news blog on wordpress.com. Without any complicated SEO tactics, just paid a PBN service :D

    Because the blog is going pretty well now, I am starting learning SEO again but still make me sick (not as much as the first time for sure).

    And after almost 2 months looking for the best way for me as a rookie and that I will enjoy it, you sent me this link.

    You know, Matt. You are my savior (again)! Kekeke.

  21. Hamza Khurshid
    3.21.2015

    Thank You for the time and effort you put in, It gave a good strategy on doing the research work before starting my own seo efforts for my blog… Thanks again

  22. mike
    3.21.2015

    Don’t you think your “analyze” is superficial?! There are over 200 signals and you analyze only a few. I think your conclusion based on this superficial analysis is misleading for noobs.

    “… mention a few time the exact keyword” What a noob will understand from this? Exactly, nothing! For a 600-800 word article repeating your 4-5 words long tail keyword “for a few times” is going to send your content to 900+ position for overoptimization. Don’t you think tf–idf is more important?
    You used to write good content…

    • March 24th, 2015 at 8:02 am

      Hi Mike,

      That is the exact thing I do for keyword optimisation. I never check densitys and my rule is quite literally ‘mention it a few times’

      I think tf-idf is making things a lot more complicated than it needs to be, I rarely stray away from the very basics/fundamentals.

  23. Jacob
    3.21.2015

    I feel like this post was a waste of your time, let alone everyone else’s. All you’ve done is C&P a few basic SEO metrics and Metadata from a few SERPs and then come to some very obvious and commonly known and understood ‘conclusions’ at the bottom. I also hope your readers don’t follow your advice on buying social shares either. Ironic that you say creating great content is good for SEO in a pointless post like this.

    • March 24th, 2015 at 7:58 am

      Well I have used the power of observation to great success over the past decade and will continue to do so

  24. Juma
    3.27.2015

    I’m on my way to implementing your PBN method of having authority links to my $$$ site, but boy is it an expensive and endless process..? Honestly, how do you do it..?

  25. Kevin Cruise
    4.1.2015

    I love reading Your Posts . Your post clearly indicated the efforts you have made on these . I have read most of your posts all are awesome as this one. And yeah reading your earning reports makes feel like yeshhhh someday my earning too will be soaring like yours.

    Ol D Best :D

    • April 6th, 2015 at 9:31 am

      Hi Kevin,

      Work harder than you have ever worked in your life and be consistent – you’ll arrive :)

  26. ale
    6.18.2015

    This was so funny… “Moz has several articles on link building from the last year that had thousands of social shares on their 93 domain authority website. Most of those articles (with exception to one) are not even in the top 100 search results.”

  27. Abhishek
    8.15.2015

    It gave a good strategy on doing the research work before starting my own seo workout for my blog… Thanks for this wonderful post

  28. brendan
    9.15.2015

    Over the year’s of doing SEO I am finding that half the bull c*** out there to rank your website is just none sense. I have been a long time follower for years from your site and love how its straight to the point. From the last 3 years of doing SEO I am finding out its simple really and if you obey it and follow the rules its quite easy.

  29. 5.30.2016

    That’s a good point thanks, Matthew. Your articles are always in detail which gives complete information.

  30. 8.29.2016

    With this article of yours, I’ve just won myself bunch of a new idea. just want to make this comment before getting engaged with more articles on this blog of yours.
    thanks

    • September 5th, 2016 at 9:07 am

      hahaha no problem, hope you put them to good use!

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