Every two years, for the past six years, MOZ has run its eagerly awaited survey into Google’s Search Engine Ranking Factors.
It’s an exciting time for those of us in the SEO industry; it gives us all a chance to view the opinions of other professionals when it comes to techniques and best practices in the SEO world. Google’s algorithm is constantly evolving, and surveys such as this are an essential part of the research we need to do in order to keep up with what’s new in search, what’s working for others, as well as some techniques to avoid.
This year, Moz surveyed over 150 leading search marketers to gain expert opinions on over 90 different ranking factors. In addition to this research, the team at Moz run correlation studies to determine which features of websites and webpages are associated with higher search rankings.
In order from most influential to least importance, the top 9 broad search ranking factors are as follows:
1. Domain-level links
Based on link and citation metrics such as quantity of links, domain-level PageRank, and so on.
2. Page-level link Features
Based on PageRank, trust metrics, quantity of linking root domains, links ,anchor text distribution, quality/spamminess of linking sources, etc.
3. Page-level keyword and content metrics
This refers to the keywords in the HTML of your web page. Factors such as content relevance scoring, on-page optimisation of keyword usage, topic-modelling, algorithm scores on content and content quantity/quality/relevance can influence all of this.
4. Page-level keyword-agnostic features
Content length, readability, open graph mark-up, uniqueness, load speed, structured data, mark-up, HTTPS, etc.
5. Engagement and traffic/query data
Data SERP engagement metrics, clickstream data, visitor traffic/usage signals, quantity/diversity/CTR of queries, both on the domain and page level.
6. Domain-level brand metrics
Online and offline usage of brand name and domain, mentions of brand name and domain in the news, media and press, toolbar and browser data of site usage, entity association, etc.
7. Domain-level keyword usage
Exact-match keyword domains, partial-keyword matches, etc. This refers to how keywords are used in the root or subdomain name, and how impactful that might be on search engine rankings.
8. Domain-level keyword-agnostic features
Domain name length, TLD extension, SSL certificate, etc.
9. Page-level social metrics
Quantity and quality of tweeted links, Facebook shares, Google +1’s, Etc. to the page. Page-Level Social metrics refer to all of the interactions that take place for that page across the major social media sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. Actions such as curating engaging content to encourage people to post a page to their social media accounts, as well as liking and sharing the social posts, go a long way to improve this.
If you don’t have much experience with Search Engine Optimisation yourself, it’s still worth knowing these handful of findings. Set aside some time to read the full study available online. It will give you a deeper insight into the complexity of SEO and how much time and energy goes into a great SEO strategy.