Moz Search Ranking Factors Survey: Page Authority, Google +1′s & Links Lead

mozMoz announced the release of the full 2013 search ranking factors study they have been working on throughout the year.

Keep in mind, this is comprised of sending out a survey to 120 SEO experts, asking them to rank each factor on a scale of importance. Moz then uses that data, alongside of their correlation metrics to come up with a list of the most important ranking factors based on the responses.

This does not mean the list represents the actual most important ranking factors. In fact, one of the top factors listed, Google +1′s, has been claimed to not be a direct, unpersonalized, ranking factor.

Here are the top ranking factors according to this survey with this interactive chart:

For more details, see the full report here.

Also make sure to check out our Periodic Table Of SEO Success Factors.

Related Topics: Channel: SEO | SEO: General | Stats: General


About The Author: is Search Engine Land's News Editor and owns RustyBrick, a NY based web consulting firm. He also runs Search Engine Roundtable, a popular search blog on very advanced SEM topics. Barry's personal blog is named Cartoon Barry and he can be followed on Twitter here. For more background information on Barry, see his full bio over here.

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  • incrediblehelp

    If one the top ranking factors (Google+ 1′s) has been clearly stated by Google themselves to not affect rankings what should we think of the rest of the ranking survey/study?

  • AdmiralLuke

    It was said to not have a ‘direct’ affect on rankings. That doesn’t necessarily mean it doesn’t have an indirect affect/no affect at all. Saying it doesn’t have a direct affect on rankings would imply that the Google +1′s by themselves don’t affect rankings. But they can still have an indirect affect by strengthening and effecting other factors that do have a direct affect on rankings, like backlinks.

    Matt Cutts also said something along the lines of quality websites that have returning visitors and get shared/bookmarked a lot tend to get natural backlinks. That being said I think Google +1′s and social media shares/votes/bookmarks in general can easily be used as one of many signals to determine how natural a link profile is.

    For example… If a website has hundreds of backlinks but no social media votes/shares(Google +1′s, Facebook likes, Tweets etc…) wouldn’t that raise a red flag? Why would so many people link to the website so much but never even think about sharing it?

    Especially when it’s a lot easier for the average person(who doesn’t have a website) surfing the web to share/like/plus 1/tweet a site that they are interested in on one of their social media accounts rather than build a backlink for it if they even have a website/blog to do that and know how to do that in the first place.

    Wouldn’t a site that has hundreds of backlinks and hundreds of social media votes/shares to go along with that look more natural? I think it would.

    Of course there are other factors that may determine how natural a link profile is like link diversity. But looking at the social media vote/share and backlinks ratio could easily be one of those factors for Google to analyze and take into consideration.

  • John Doherty

    As has been said many times, correlation =/ causation. +1s in this survey (full disclosure: I contributed) means that when a page ranks highly, it is also likely to have a higher number of +1s than pages that rank lower. It is not saying that the +1s caused the higher rankings.

    It was also explained on the second page where they say:

    “SEOs do not think social factors are important in the 2013 algorithm (only 7%), in contrast to the high correlations.”

  • incrediblehelp

    “Wouldn’t a site that has hundreds of backlinks and hundreds of social media votes/shares to go along with that look more natural? I think it would.”

    I understand your point here, but guess what a lot of people old or young still don’t socialize like our little SEO bubble does. Sure they may have an account, but many won’t make the effect to press the button to put it on their wall/stream/page/whatever. Consumers of the web are greedy. Especially when it comes to content. Pages per visit are terrible on blogs. Consume and then disappear.

  • Marty Dickinson

    The few things that left me scratching my bald scalp about this report include:
    1. So much emphasis on facebook but so little mention of Google+ whereas it’s G+ that can get a blog post into traditional google search in under five minutes…not facebook.
    2. No mention of all from Pinterest at all.
    3. I thought all the new updates over the summer voided most backlinks anyway and now “social is the new backlink”

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