Every couple of years a group of search marketing experts from across the globe gather together to share their opinions on the most powerful search engine ranking factors.
This year we have a panel of 132 SEO experts who have shared their thoughts and predictions for the future of SEO in SEOmoz’s 2011 Search Engine Ranking Factors report.
The experts were asked to rank a number of different SEO factors across 9 core areas of SEO which can be seen in the pie chart below.
In order to give you a snapshot of the results, below I’ve listed the 3 most influential factors across each area, along with the relative importance of each factor based on the voters ordering.
Page Level Link Metrics
- Quantity of unique linking root domains that contain a link employing the keywords as the exact anchor text – 71.9
- Quantity of unique linking root domains that contain a link employing the keywords as part of the anchor text – 71.5
- Quantity of unique linking domains to the page – 69.1
Domain Level Link Authority
- Quantity of unique linking domains to the root domain – 80.4
- Raw importance of the domains as measured by the sub of the importance of the links to the domains (mozrank, pagerank, etc.) – 67.3
- Distance of the domain from a trusted seed set as measured by the algorithms – 57.4
Page Level Keyword Usage
- Keyword present in the title tag – 94.4
- Keyword in the first word of the title tag – 77.8
- Keyword present in the anchor text of an internal pointing link – 72.9
Domain Level Keyword Usage
- Keyword is the exact match root domain (eg: keyword.com) – 97.0
- Keyword is present in the root domain name (eg: ABCkeyword.com) – 71.0
- Keyword is the first word in the root domain name (eg: keywordABC.com) – 69.3
Page Level Social Metrics
- Authority of users tweeting links to a page – 84.1
- Quantity of tweeted links to a page – 79.0
- Quantity of facebook shares for the page – 61.6
Domain Level Brand Metrics
- Search volume for the brand/domain – 84.7
- Quantity of mentions of the brand/domain on news sites – 78.0
- Quantity of mentions of the brand/domain on social sites – 68.8
Page Level Keyword Agnostic Features (page length/load speed etc.)
- Uniqueness of content on the page – 93.7
- The presence of links to the page from other pages on the domain – 82.7
- Freshness of the content on the page (time since last updates) – 70.5
Page Level Traffic Data
- CTR from Google to the page for the keyword – 74.6
- Bounce rate of the page as measured by the return visits to the search results page – 58.4
- Aggregated CTR from Google to the page across all keywords – 51.4
Domain Level Keyword Agnostic Features
- Uniqueness of content across the whole site – 89.4
- Freshness of content on the site – 74.9
- Bounce rate for the site, as measured by users returning to the SERPs page very quickly after visiting the site – 65.2
What about the Future of Search?
SEOmoz also asked the panel for their opinion on a number of questions about future changes in search ranking algorithms. From this data they were able to produce a list of factors which are expected to become more important, and those that are likely to decline.
Top 3 Factors Which Will Increase in Importance
- Analysis of s site/page’s perceived value to users
- Social signals at a page level
- Social signals at a domain level
Top 3 Factors Which Will Decrease in Importance
- Exact match keyword domains
- The effectiveness of paid links
- Anchor text in external links
The 2011 Search Engine Ranking Factors report has the full future of search chart and also provides additional analysis on the information presented above. If you have a few minutes spare I recommend you check it out.