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Top 15 Highlights From SEOmoz 2011 Ranking Factors




Last week, SEOMoz hosted a Search Ranking Factors webinar or #mozinar (to you Twitter folks out there) that highlighted the latest and greatest in what plays into search results. Search marketing presents huge opportunity for businesses. In fact, for many local and small businesses their success often relies on appearing in the SERPs. If you happened to miss the webinar, here are the top 15 things to consider when doing SEO.

  1. Correlation Isn’t Causation – We all knew that this was coming. If you follow SEOMoz heavily this is one of the most commonly used phrases but for good reason. The illustration pointed out that although their study may bring about correlations between variables it isn’t meant to suggest that they cause one another.
  2. Usage Data (CTR, Bounce Rate) is set to increase in relative relevance to impacting search results. Google may begin looking more at how content is capturing and holding an audience’s attention.
  3. More than 75% of SEOs believe social signals, in some regard, will also increase in relevance regarding impact on search results
  4. 60% of SEOs think exact keyword match domains will decrease in relevance to search results. For instance “www.buytractortrailers.com” won’t automatically populate the first result simply because of the domain.
  5. SEOmozMarketing Pilgrim’s SEO Channel is sponsored by SEOmoz, the leading provider of SEO tools and resources. Take a 30-day free trial, and see why over 10,000 marketers currently use SEOmoz PRO
  6. Linking Root domains with partial anchor text are more highly correlated to positive results than exact match anchor text. Very weird to find this information out and SEOMoz couldn’t explain it. Maybe Google is beginning to notice brands setting out to over-optimize for a set list of anchor text? It may be worth it to try and vary your link building keywords every now and then with partial anchor text.
  7. More Adsense slots and size, means you tend to rank lower. Might not necessarily be causation; the data could be due to low quality sites only focusing on advertising.
  8. FB shares were the highest social signal correlated to better search results. However, still some are suggesting that Google doesn’t take FB Shares to account as much as we think, they are merely indicators that content is quality.
  9. Title tags are still very important – They are one of the higher on-page features impacting search relevance.
  10. Page level link metrics have decreased in relative importance – In 2009, SEOs thought 43% of search relevance was impacted by page level link metrics, and 24% of search was impacted by domain level link. In 2011, those figures decreased to 22% and 21% respectively.
  11. To appear in search results via Twitter, the authority of tweets is more important than number of tweets. This makes sense, (especially in the future) because if you get a lot of retweets on an article from spammy Twitter accounts, they wouldn’t be as relevant as a few retweets from “authoritative users.” This will be used by Google to protect themselves against people manipulating the social system.
  12. Overall search position within the social signals study via Twitter was highest correlated with number of tweets to URL.
  13. Some results point to activities that can directly drive rank and some results show attributes possessed by top ranking sites. Some factors directly impact results like building links, where other attributes like having an active social presence is possessed by top ranking sites.
  14. For now, it doesn’t matter if your Facebook shares are private. Facebook reports an API with the number of shares and it doesn’t matter if the user has set their profiles to private.
  15. Three things keep you in the game: 1.Fantastic Website  2. Compelling Content 3. A Great Brand
  16. SEO is becoming more complicated- What was once a set list of best practices is becoming more difficult to replicate. On-page optimization and link building (traditional SEO) are still important, but new SEO (social) is seeing a lot of success. There isn’t one best way to do things anymore, but a multitude of ways to achieve positive search results.
SEOmozMarketing Pilgrim’s SEO Channel is sponsored by SEOmoz, the leading provider of SEO tools and resources. Take a 30-day free trial, and see why over 10,000 marketers currently use SEOmoz PRO

Search marketing is still one of the most difficult yet most lucrative marketing options for businesses. It’s not like it used to be just a few short years ago so continuing education like these offerings from SEOmoz are essential to stay ahead of the ever changing curve.

Do you agree or disagree with these findings?

Matt Krautstrunk is a writer on everything from search marketing to inbound call centers for Resource Nation.

The information and opinions in this post are that of the author and don’t necessarily reflect those of Marketing Pilgrim.

  • Kim Roman Corle

    Great listing, interesting in all that we can do w/marketing and SEO and all that we learn, the basics are always at play – # 14 – Three things keep you in the game: 1.Fantastic Website 2. Compelling Content 3. A Great Brand — technology may change, what motivates people remains the same:))

  • http://www.tm4y.co.za TM4Y SEO

    It does seem as if social indicators are becoming more and more important. This is ‘bad news’ for traditional SEO companies who depend on link building as the primary means of increasing rankings in the SERPS. It is just so much more difficult to test and get feedback on effort than with link building since the social indicators just seem to be all over the place.

    And as soon as we have figured out the social indicators to a T the Internet would have moved on again to something else. Probably search results plugged directly into your neural network – you just need to think of a search that you want to do and it appears in your mind like magic.

  • http://www.seo-theory.com/ Michael Martinez

    Since we’re all agreed that “correlation does not equal causation” it would have been better to dispense with points 2,5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 , 13, 14, and 15 since the correlations don’t indicate whether there are any connections between these things and search rankings.

    • http://www.frankthinking.com Frank Reed

      C’mon, Michael, play nice! How enticing is a “The Top 2 1/2 Highlights” post? :-)

    • Matt Krautstrunk

      Take this with a grain of salt, some of these may be serial correlations, but SEOMoz does a good job of weeding out information that they think isn’t valuable. When combining all of these factors, it will hopefully equal causation. :)

  • http://www.userrules.com Spider Jerusalem

    Seems to me the statistical relevance for higher rankings still appear to skew towards number of unique domains linking to a URL along overall strength of the primary domain.

  • http://www.seo.com Greg Shuey

    Thanks for the consolidated list… Much easier to digest

  • http://www.geekpoweredstudios.com Guillermo Ortiz

    Great breakdown. #5 is definitely one to watch. I’m sure Google can easily sniff out over optimization.