In SEO circles, there is always great debate over which factors make the biggest difference to your rankings in the likes of Google, Bing etc.
Fortunately every couple of years, Rand Fishkin and his SEOmoz team do the hard work for us by consulting with SEO experts around the globe to confirm what factors are still important in your SEO efforts. According to Rand:
Every two years, we survey 100 of the industry’s top SEO minds. In 2009, 72 SEOs participated in the data gathering process, answering survey questions that consumed hours of time. The resulting document is an amazing aggregation of data about how search engines rank documents and, at least in my opinion, should be read by anyone serious about practicing search engine optimization.
Last week, Rand published the latest results from his Search Engine Ranking Factors 2009 survey. And fortunately for many – not much has changed.
Taking out the Top 5 most important factors were:
- Keyword focus in anchor text of external links
- External link popularity
- Diversity of link sources
- Keyword usage in title tags
- Trustworthiness of the Domain based on Link distance from Trusted domain.
And as we all know, it’s often as important to avoid certain things as to do them for the sake of ranking – and here’s the Top 5 Negative Factors:
- Cloaking with Malicious/Manipulative intent
- Link acquisition from known link brokers
- Outbound links to web spam sites/pages
- Cloaking by User Agent
- Frequent Server Downtime & Site Inaccessibility
And given that SEO isn’t an exact science, there were of course some factors that sit in the grey area, and heres the Top 5 contentious factors:
- Cloaking by cookie detection
- Hiding text with same/similar colored text to background
- Cloaking by IP address
- Cloaking by user agent.
The actual Top SEO Ranking factors document contains lots more detail and discussion about this years results, so it’s a worthwhile read for any DIY Search Engine Optimizer or curious SEO observer.
View the full Search Engine Ranking Factors 2009
Do you think survey has missed any important SEO factors? Share them below.