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Monday, April 11, 2011

Search Ranking Factors in 2011 – What’s Changed?

Posted by @ 12:14 am

Every couple of years the folks over at SEOmoz put together a list of search engine ranking factors. This year the results come from the opinions of 132 SEO professionals and an analysis of the top 30 results for over 10,000 different keywords.

While the full report has not been released some preliminary data has been made available via a presentation given at SMX Munich.

This presentation revealed some interesting changes from previous years so I’ve decided to summarize some of the major takeaways below.

Page Specific Linking Factors

  1. SEO experts believe the power of links has declined somewhat.
  2. Diversity of links has a stronger impact on rankings compared than the raw number of links for any page.
  3. Partial match anchor text now appears to have a stronger influence on rankings. There is speculation this may be related to Google’s panda update which devalued overly precise exact match anchor text.

Domain Level Ranking Factors

  1. While Google still ranks content on a page level, domain ranking strength has become more important after the recent panda update.
  2. Exact match domains have not performed as well as previous years. There is speculation that Google has devalued it as a ranking factor.

On-Page Ranking Factors

  1. Larger/Longer documents tend to rank better (they usually have more content).
  2. Long Titles and URLs are bad for SEO
  3. Data suggests that using keywords earlier in content and links helps to improve ranking.

Social Ranking Signals

  1. Facebook and Twitter popularity is strongly correlated to a strong performance in search engine rankings.
  2. Facebook appears to be more influential than twitter

A full report of the 2011 ranking factors is scheduled to be released in May which will provide a lot more data and analysis on the points mentioned above. We will be sure to discuss and share the full report as soon as it’s released.

Matthew Elshaw Matt is a marketing professional at, an international search marketing firm. Matt's passion for online marketing began at university and has proved invaluable in steering product development and marketing initiatives at the company. Matt is a regular contributor to the ineedhits search marketing blog.

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Discussion (7 - comments)

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[...] Search Ranking Factors in 2011 — What’s Changed — SEOmoz does an annual survey, which includes the opinions of some of the best professionals in the business. While this report is by no means a rule book, it is definitely packed with information and ideas you can use. This week, iNeedHits covered a few of the juicy tidbits to come out of that survey. [...]

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